Archive for the ‘Korea’ Category

The New York Times Beats the Drums of War (Again)

April 14, 2013

new-york-times-building

It was irresponsible of the New York Times to publish the op-ed piece by Jeremi Suri titled Bomb North Korea, Before It’s Too Late. Suri argues that the U.S. should take out North Korea’s missiles. He argues that this will not result in a war because:

    The North Korean government would certainly view the American strike as a provocation, but it is unlikely that Mr. Kim would retaliate by attacking South Korea, as many fear. First, the Chinese government would do everything it could to prevent such a reaction. Even if they oppose an American strike, China’s leaders understand that a full-scale war would be far worse. Second, Mr. Kim would see in the American strike a renewed commitment to the defense of South Korea. Any attack on Seoul would be an act of suicide for him, and he knows that.

First of all, it’s not clear how much influence China actually has over North Korea. Second, it’s just as possible that “Mr. Kim” would see the attack as a prelude to a ground invasion. And if it is true that “Mr. Kim” knows that a war with the U.S. is “suicide”, why should we worry about him having missiles?

Suri concedes that North Korea might attack South Korea:

    A war on the Korean Peninsula is unlikely after an American strike, but it is not inconceivable. The North Koreans might continue to escalate, and Mr. Kim might feel obligated to start a war to save face. Under these unfortunate circumstances, the United States and its allies would still be better off fighting a war with North Korea today, when the conflict could still be confined largely to the Korean Peninsula.

It think it worth noting that an estimated two million Koreans were killed in the last Korean war. It’s reasonable to suppose that at least that many would die in another Korean war. This is the price that Juri would be willing to pay to maintain “stability” in the Far East.

Since the U.S. clearly has not exhausted its diplomatic options in Korea, one can only wonder why the Times thought it worth running an article like this.

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Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012)

September 3, 2012

Sun Myung Moon was one of the greatest entrepreneurial geniuses of the twentieth century. Like L. Ron Hubbard, he grasped the essential truth that religion is a business. You promise salvation to people, and they pay you money for it. (Salvation is a special kind of commodity. Although it has no form or substance, it is nonetheless fungible.) His Unification Church is quite the corporate conglomerate. According to the Associated Press:

    The church’s holdings included the Washington Times newspaper; Connecticut’s Bridgeport University; the New Yorker Hotel, a midtown Manhattan art deco landmark, and a seafood distribution firm that supplies sushi to Japanese restaurants across the U.S. It acquired a ski resort, a professional football team and other businesses in South Korea. It also operates a foreign-owned luxury hotel in North Korea and jointly operates a fledgling North Korean automaker.

All in all, Moon didn’t do badly for a man who was sent to complete Christ’s work on Earth.

In 1991, Moon traveled to North Korea to meet with Kim Il Sung, who was himself a messiah of sorts. The two of them got along famously, no doubt because they had so much in common. Imagine Jesus and Mohammed meeting at a barbecue and talking shop. It must have been something like that.

When I was young, I attended a college in Boston. The place was lousy with Moonies. They had an office across the street from the campus. They were always trying to recruit people. One day, while I was sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch, a young East Asian man came up to me and started giving me the Moonie spiel. He talked about how corrupt our society is and how we need to do something about it. I finally got irritated, and I said to him, “If that’s the way you feel, why don’t you go back to your own country.” That was not a good thing to say, I admit. The guy had a humorless, monomaniacal air about him. Later on in my life, I would meet members of sectarian left groups who had that same quality about them.

Still, I would argue that Moon didn’t do nearly as much harm as Mitt Romney and his Bain Capital did. The worst that Moon did was make people take part in mass weddings that everyone else thought were creepy. I know a guy whose parents were married in one of these ceremonies, and he seems pretty normal. (Well, to me, any way.) Whereas Bain put people out of work and destroyed whole communities.