If you were hoping that the world’s youngest and fluffiest head of state would prove himself to be less of a caricature of a Bond villain than his demented father, I think you can stop now. Kim Jong-Un, the 29 (or 30?) year old Supreme Leader of North Korea recently endorsed a series of absurd, yet remotely plausible retaliatory actions against the United States and South Korea, threatening “physical countermeasures” and nuclear retaliation if further sanctions were imposed on the faux-communist nation. These bellicose statements come a little more than a month after the self-proclaimed “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” successfully launched a long-range rocket into orbit for the first time in a thinly veiled attempt to test their ballistic missile technology. There had been muted optimism that Kim Jong-Un would be a less autocratic and mentally unstable leader than his father, Kim Jong-Il, but these recent actions have sent a clear message that North Korea’s new Supreme Leader intends on keeping alive the demented dreams of previous generations.
For those of you unfamiliar with North Korea’s peculiar brand of diplomacy, there isn’t a whole lot of nuance to parse through. In fact, if you’ve ever seen an Arnold Schwarzenegger film involving international terrorists or an episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, you already have a feel for the general tone of their recent statements. If you think I’m being glib, the North Koreans actually refer to the United States in their declarations as being, “the sworn enemy of the Korean people,” while dismissing the South Koreans as being a “puppet group of traitors.” I haven’t seen the remake of Red Dawn where North Korea1 tries its hand at becoming the dread overlords of America, but I’d imagine that the propaganda sent out by fictional North Korea is more believable than what the country is actually releasing.
The fact of the matter is that, of Bush’s original Axis of Evil, North Korea is the most militarily advanced and poses the greatest immediate threat to American security. While Iraq and Iran have never had “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in their arsenals, the North Koreans have had nuclear capabilities since 2006 and have been chomping at the bit to show them off to whoever in the international community would pay attention. With the success of their most recent missile launch, the North Koreans now have much of the technology and materials required to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile at the west coast of the United States. Of course, that is much easier said than done and the US intelligence community seems fairly confident that the North Koreans are still a long ways away from making that a logistical reality, if they were ever so unhinged as to try it. But, despite being the biggest threat on paper, the rationale that caused the Bush & Obama administrations to go after Iraq & Iran instead of North Korea helps explain why the international community is reasonably sure that the North Koreans have no real intentions of dropping a nuclear bomb on anyone.
The Iranian government, and to a lesser extent the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein, is fundamentally different than that of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea because their ideological framework is thoroughly grounded in fundamentalist religious beliefs. While Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is technically an elected political official, he is very much an ideological extension of the Ayatollah Khameni and the Islamic Right. When mixed with the degree of anti-western sentiment and terrorist activity already endemic to the region, the Iranian government’s belligerent flouting of UN resolutions in their pursuit of a nuclear weapons program creates a huge threat to the security of a number of nations, most notably Israel and the US. As we are reminded on a monthly, weekly and sometimes daily basis, any stability in the Middle East and Northern Africa is tenuous at best and a situation like the one in Benghazi this September or in the West Bank last month can take shape in an instant. With the writing on the wall suggesting that the Syrian government led by Bashar Al-Assad has little chance of retaining power in the long run, the fate of the administration’s stockpile of chemical weapons becomes uncertain. That Al-Qaeda linked organizations could acquire some of these weapons after an Assad fall is a distinct possibility and one made infinitely more frightening concerning any regime change in the region involving a nation with nuclear capabilities.
That’s not how North Korea rolls. Or, at least, it’s not how their ruling class rolls. Kim Jong-Un didn’t become an extra fluffy, diabetic, baby-faced manchild by living an austere existence and pledging eternal devotion to an omnipotent creator of the universe. No, that type of roly poly pasty physique only comes from a truly American commitment to self-worship and materialism. Just as he has his father’s weak chin and baby Asian Elvis coiffure, Kim Jong-Un has inherited his dad’s insatiable lust for luxuries. According to the former personal chef of Kim Jong-Un and his father, the young people’s prince had cultivated a love of Johnnie Walker scotch and Yves St. Laurent cigarettes since his teenage years, and showed great interest in K-Pop, Mercedes Benzes, Super Mario Brothers even went to Tokyo Disney Land with his mother on one of his rare trips outside of the country. Of course, his father elevated excess to an art form, having live lobsters airlifted to his armored private train daily, making servant women check every grain of rice he ate for uniform length and color and kidnapping a South Korean film director and his actress wife to help create North Korea’s film industry.
It has been said by several of Kim Jong-Un’s classmates at the schools he attended while living in Bern, Switzerland that the he was particularly obsessed with basketball. Apparently, the diminutive future dictator actually had some game (he was less doughy back then), distinguishing himself on the court while cultivating a love of the NBA off of it. One of his classmates said that his room was a basically a personal shrine to The Association, claiming that he had pictures of himself with Toni Kucoc and Kobe Bryant in unknown locations. As a matter of fact, both Kim Jong-Un and his father were huge Michael Jordan fans, a fact underscored by the fact that then Secretary of State Madeline Albright presented Kim Jong-Il with a signed MJ basketball during her visit to North Korea.
Now, I ask you, how can Kim Jong-Un nuke the crap out of the west coast of the US when he runs the risk of blowing up his beloved Lakers? And, beyond that, why hasn’t any administration sent Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant over to North Korea to negotiate a non-proliferation treaty? You know the little bastard would be so starstruck that he would try to hand His Airness all of their nukes on site in exchange for a pick up game and inclusion of a Pyongyang team in the NBA’s Developmental League. Kim Jong-Un is a scotch drinking, cigarette smoking, overeating, image-obsessed mess of a man who dreams about dunking on Yao Ming and suffers from diabetes and hypertension. What could be more American than that? The only bombs that tubby tyrant is gonna drop will have Jagermeister in them.
1China was originally cast in the role of tyrannical baddie, but studio execs ultimately decided it was poor form to demonize one of the 5 biggest media markets in the world in their film and changed it to North Korea, where I honestly don’t know if they have movie theaters.
Categories: International Affairs