Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kim Jong-il: Little Boy Syndrome?

Kim Jong-il
"Little Photo Shoot"
(Image from You Tube)

Technically, that's "Little Man Syndrome," but since Kim Jong-il wants a real nuclear weapon rather than the two 'unclear' weapons that he's exploded so far, I think that "Little Boy Syndrome" fits. But first, let's give the Dear Leader his due:
When General Kim Jong Il was born
the clouds opened up
and he came down from heaven,
and then there was a huge avalanche.

When General Kim Jong Il shouts out loud
storms always happen.
"Let's go! Let's go!"
"Let's go! Let's go!"
Kim Jong Il shouts to the mountains.
You can watch this North Korean personality-cult propaganda on You Tube, courtesy of Marcinmoka, who has posted the video with these lyrics translated -- though whether from the Japanese subtitles or the Korean soundtrack, I know not (but now corrected by my Korean-language-expert daughter). Anyway, the video is quite amusing, and -- unlike the North Koreans -- you only have to waste 35 seconds of your life watching General Kim Jong-il astride a white horse and bumping plumply upon the saddle as he rides fatly by.

But this 'Little Boy' has a great big throbbing tool of destruction to rival even his great big shout of meteorological cataclysm. Or maybe not. Rod Liddle thinks little of Kim Jong-il's little rod:
There is something vaguely likeable about North Korea’s attempts to convince the world that it is a nuclear power to be reckoned with . . . . I do not for a moment doubt that Kim Jong-il is a deluded, paranoid, psychopathic megalomaniac and, were it within his power, might blow the world to kingdom come, given the tools to do so . . . . [But] there is something very comforting about North Korea's nuclear programme; they have yearned, for years, to have nuclear capability and have at last succeeded in producing a device which almost -- almost -- matches the destructive power of the primitive weapon which the US used against Nagasaki some 64 years ago. Furthermore, they do not seem to have any delivery system capable of depositing their nuke very much further than the boundaries of their own benighted, grass-eating, basket case of a country . . . . We are told that Kim now has sufficient fissile material for four bombs, at most -- and the capability to chuck them a few yards over the South Korean border. (Rod Liddle, "Something comforting about North Korea's nuclear weapons," The Spectator, May 27, 2009)
Comforting? Possibly, given the unimpressive size (hardly a great big throbbing tool after all). But I'd still feel more comforted if the General were not just unclearly nucleared but clearly neutered. And since the General's little nuclear incapability is so small, perhaps he could be persuaded to part with it . . . if he could just get America's attention and a few concessions to assuage his dignity, as some 'experts' think. B. R. Myers, however, disagrees:
It is no longer possible for anyone to go on claiming that everything Kim Jong-il does is an effort to get America's attention, or that he just wants to go into the next round of disarmament talks with a stronger hand. Nor can anyone seriously argue that all these hugely expensive exercises are aimed at securing more economic aid . . . . North Korea's nuclear and military provocations and the escalating belligerence of its rhetoric are motivated by domestic political considerations instead . . . . [T]he elite are wedded to the same paranoid, race-based nationalism, without which the country has no reason to exist at all. (B. R. Myers, "North Korea Will Never Disarm," The New York Times, May 28, 2009)
No reason to exist without its "paranoid, race-based nationalism"? Well, a nomenklatura can always find reasons to exist. Rather than "reason," I'd suggest the term "legitimacy," which is what I think that Myers meant. North Korea's extremely weird nationalism provides that country its only legitimacy for existing. It must compete with the South for the status of authentic heir to the great history of the Korean people. It can't succeed to this position by virtue of its economic achievements, so it emphasizes its Korean identity, its purer blood, which must be aggressively defended at all cost.

The lesser Koreans down South, after all, are mixing their blood with outsiders like the disreputable Gypsy Scholar.

Labels: , ,


At 6:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And as we know Scholar, even the Norkie's purer blood is somewhat questionable.


At 6:48 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Right, there's that 'bearly' tolerable aspect in the origins story . . .

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 9:03 PM, Blogger Hathor said...

This is why I believe Iran has the bomb. Iran has better science.

In an era of terrorist, any nuclear device shouldn't be ignored.

At 9:37 PM, Blogger writtenwyrdd said...

How anyone can call a nut with nukes 'comforting' is beyond me. I'm sincerely worried for South Korea in particular, and for China, Japan and all the other nations in range of these short-range missiles. Then there's the ecological disaster that would result from the fallout, which would affect a lot of the region.

At 7:00 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Hathor, the North Koreans have done rather impressively with the little that they've got, but Iran is more troubling (as you note) since their system, although an Islamist one, incorporates more elements of democracy and therefore renders their endeavors more competent.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

WW, I'm hoping that the North Koreans won't try to use nuclear weapons even if they manage to develop the technology capable of delivering one accurately.

I don't think that they will because neither Kim Jong-il nor the elite is not actually insane. I do worry that they are so isolated that they misperceive reality. Or that they find themselves cornered and decide that a suicidal attack is the only course of action.

And as we know so well, suicide is perceived differently in Korean culture, in some way that renders it even 'honorable.'

That does worry me a bit.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:13 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Someone going by "Anonymous" left a comment, possibly ironic:

"Hail Kim Jong Il. Screw you f**kers"

Unfortunately, the original comment didn't use asterisks, and I don't allow that sort of explicitly crude language in comments to my blog, which I attempt to keep reasonably family-friendly.

Take note . . .

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home