I worry about a lot of things: failure, running out of chips when I have lots of salsa, more failure. Now I have another thing to worry about… or to worry about more than I previously worried.
This week an “artificial earthquake” was detected within the borders of North Korea, and a bunch of people were like “North Korea has an earthquake machine? So they’re literal supervillains?” but they didn’t have anything cool as an earthquake machine. North Korea was testing a nuclear weapon. The nuclear weapons were kinda crappy though, a fraction of the power of the weapons the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (what a silly and terrifying thing to be competitive about “Hey! our thing was more capable of wanton destruction than their thing! Woohoo.”) But the whole thing is still terrifying.
North Korea is a very complicated thing, it’s current situation is the result of more-or-less mentally unstable people ruling a nation for decades, reigning with intense internal misinformation campaigns (the North Korean people are led to believe that their former leader was the best golfer in the world, and had never pooped.)
According to reports in the Western media (and yes, I’m aware of the irony in believing our ‘reports’ but mocking their ‘propaganda,’ but come on, at least Obama would admit to having pooped [probably]) much of North Korea’s citizenry is starving and cold–the money that the nation should be spending on things like food and heat is going to nuclear tests and absurd performance art (see video below.)
Why should we be scared of a nation that can’t even feed its people? And are we petty for fretting about their nuclear power when their citizens are starving? North Korea doesn’t have the resources to send a nuclear weapon to American soil, and South Korea isn’t really in danger because North Korea’s weaponry is such a joke that they’d be able to stop any attack. It’s not North Korea’s attack we have to worry about, it’s the world’s retaliation: if North Korea tries to launch a nuke, they will be attacked, and world powers like the United States and China (North Korea’s last real ‘ally’ [which is a stretch of the world, China has expressed ‘annoyance’ with North Korea’s nuclear power, you know you’re in a bad place when people get ‘annoyed’ that you have a weapon of mass destruction]) will get involved.
Nuclear war is definitely something to worry about. Or is it? If the world is destroyed by nuclear war, that’s an alright way to die–at least you know you’re not gonna be missing anything. Hey, humanity is gonna come to an end some time, why not now? No. Nuclear war is a bad thing. I’m not gonna try to argue otherwise (in public.) But the nuclear issue is a lot of alarmism, in my mostly uneducated opinion. It’s not something we need concern ourselves with. What we should be concerning ourselves with is the people of North Korea. Almost more than any other people on Earth, the North Korean civilians live a life totally different than ours–only beaten by those crazy isolated tribes, yet untainted by technology and the Harlem Shake–where they have a completely different understanding of the world, with no bearing on what is going on outside North Korea’s borders, and little understanding of what’s going on inside the borders.
On the surface, the North Korea situation is hilarious–it’s basically the sitcom version of a fascism, as if George Costanza were a dictator–but underneath it is all very depressing and dismal. There is very little that can be done for the people of North Korea that wouldn’t involve the loss of more innocent life.
I had a phase where I was fascinated by North Korea, and the two best bits of media I can recommend are the Vice Guide to Travel: North Korea, an awesome, irreverent, daring, and R-Rated tour of the country, going slightly beyond what the official government tour provides. It’s on Netflix, or click my link to watch it on Vice’s website.
The Orphan Master’s Son is a well-researched novel from the perspective of a North Korean who gets involved in some zany misadventures in the country. It’s a fun read that also teaches you a little bit about North Korea, and as a piece of literature it’s an interesting examination of perspective.
More from the North Korean perspective, a propaganda video where a North Korean dreams of the destruction of New York City, with vivid imagery stolen from a videogame (countries should not be using clips from Call of Duty in their propaganda videos::
And of course, the most globally socio-politically absurd Tumblr on the internet Kim Jong-Un Looking At Things:
More on North Korea and things to worry about: If North Korea has the Bomb, So Does Iran.
Image via Washington Post.