So as many people have heard, North Korea was at it again, firing artillery shells at the island Yeonpyeong near the invisible border, which North Korea has never fully accepted, of course. Two soldiers are confirmed dead, 16 or more injured, multitudes of buildings were set on fire, and the world is setting its eyes once more on a bat shit crazy dying leader and his pudgy, probably battier son. My Korean senses were tingling all day. Needless to say, it was rather frustrating.
The reasoning behind this latest act of douchebaggery really doesn’t matter to me. In all honesty I think the son is just trying to gain kudos by proving how hardcore he is now that daddy chose him as the successor. Or maybe they’re trying to show their conviction in utilizing their uranium processing plants. Or maybe they just flat out ran out of things to do and they played a really crazy game of truth or dare. I don’t care at this point. People have been expecting war to escalate any time now for years. It’s a shame, it’s frightening, but it’s been hiding in the corner of almost every Korean’s mind, lingering like some tape worm in hibernation. My only reaction after receiving a text about it in the middle of the night was:
WTF? You really want to do this? Big brother China won’t support an unstable country in war, savior of the world US won’t sit back while you rain on their pet Asian country, and South Korea will just lose it. You’re Korean, man, you know how crazy pissed off we can get.
War: sucks. No one wins. People die, economies suffer, lands are ruined and the vibes in the air just shriek anxiety. I don’t even think North Korea wants war. But they do have less to lose, and more to prove, and one day they might just slip up and aim their guns at the wrong people at the wrong time. South Korea can only be “calm and restrained” for so long before they just say: “fuck it”.
A lot of people just say “Ahhh whatever, South Korea will win anyway, then they can just take North Korea. Or maybe they’ll just become unified for some miraculous reason and all will be well again.”
Even if victory was so assured (which it never is) remember what happened to Germany when the two sides combined? It sucked. The lagging economy of the East greatly brought down the strength of the West, and they were far stronger and sturdier than the economy of South Korea right now. I’m all up for unification but not like this. A country bonded by memories of pointing guns at each other isn’t such a tempting idea.
There are limits to being bat shit insane. Get your act together Kim Jong Il/Un, this isn’t some board game. People will only tolerate your “nuclear powers” for so long before they show you what real nukes look like. And that’s just another situation no one wants to get into.