The Marmot's Hole Blogger
MORE reasons NOT to use Blogger/two posts from yesterday.

Seriously, why the hell did I fork over the cash to upgrade to Blogger Pro? Two posts that I put up yesterday were not published, and to make matters worse, my commenting system provider picked today to do some maintanence work (it should be back up tonight for you guys in the States). Anyay, I've copied the missing posts below - enjoy!

---------------------------------------- Steven De Beste on Kurtz, North Korea

A couple of days ago, I got an e-mail from Robert, a reader who took issue with a number of conclusions drawn by Stanley Kurtz in his National Review articles that I posted here. Robert then asked Steven De Beste of USS Clueless to give his commentary on the Kurtz pieces, and commentary he did give. Check out both Mr. De Beste's analysis and Donald Sensing's comment towards the end - both give some pretty interesting opinions concerning North Korean intentions and capabilities. Just to give you a sampling:

Keep this in mind in what I write below. NK winning is a non-issue; no one on either side is thinking in those terms. Our ability to devastate NK in the war is also a non-issue; they know it and don't care. The question is whether they could cause damage to the South we would find intolerable. Think of it as an entire nation strapping on an explosive belt and trying to die in an attack against their enemies. You can't deter a suicide bomber by threatening to kill him after he makes his attack; he's already decided to die because he hopes to hurt you when he does. If they decide to go postal, and commit suicide while trying to hurt us as much as possible, would we consider the result acceptable? What are we willing to do to prevent that from happening?

Like I said, check it out - it's good. And thanks a lot, Robert! (Now, if only you can get Mr. De Beste to explain how to get XCONQ to run properly on Windows 98 :) )

PS: Concerning Mr. Kurtz, I got another e-mail from a reader who apparently knew the good Hoover Institute scholar before he made it big. Seems Kurtz had a thing for ska, which makes him OK in my book.

UPDATE: Since Mr. De Beste has linked back to this site, I should probably explain what my comments were. The only real problem I have with Mr. De Beste's analysis, and it's a big one, is that I can't really buy into the "suicide bomber" analogy. Suicide bombers usually do what they do for a point, that point usually being a cause of some sort that will live on even after the bomber has moved on to better things. For North Korea, no comparable points and / or causes exist - once the North Korean state is destroyed, that's it. It's not like their sacrificing themselves for something - the only thing the North Korean leadership cares about, at the end of the day, is maintaining their own grip on power. That the North Koreans would like Washington to think of them [the North Koreans] as suicidal lunatics goes without saying, but that's a common enough diplomatic tactic - heck, even the US has used it on occasion. But if the North Korean leadership has showed us anything, it's that they possess a rather disturbing sense of self-preservation, and the Kim Dynasty hasn't held on for all these years by being stupid. In the end, what this means is that even if the North Koreans are saying that they'll do something suicidally stupid (i.e. selling nukes to Al-Kaeda, invading the South, etc.), when push comes to regime change, my money says they back down in the end.

More interesting stuff

  • Pogue (who's taking a bit of a break from blogging) sent me this article from the Telegraph reporting how a number of young Korean men are attempting to dodge military service by getting tattooed. Stop laughing, it's the truth - according to Telegraph piece, ROK military law states that men with "excessively large" tattoo are exempt from conscription, on the basis that the appearance of tattoos are "abominable" to their fellow soldiers. Recently, however, the government has been cracking down on those found to be "willfully tampering with their bodies to avoid military duty," arresting 170 young men so accused.

    Ordinarily, I'd make some sarcastic comment about the manhood of South Korea's younger generation (the men, anyway). However, in light of the absolutely disgraceful way in which the government chose to "honor" those sailors who not only served, but died for their country, I'll reserve my criticism for now. Why should anyone be willing to die for this country when the nation's leaders treat its fighting men like shit?

  • Seth Richardson sent me this piece of actually real news, courtesy the Yomiuri Shinbum of Japan, concerning the state of the KEDO project in North Korea. Seems the US and Japan want to halt work on the two light-water nuclear reactors being provided under the 1994 Agreed Framework, but South Korea is insisting that the project continue - go figure.
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    Robert Koehler's completely non-sensical and probably unread blog concerning ex-pat life in Korea, among other things.


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