The Weiner Component Vol.2 #14 – Trump & Kim Jong-un: The Problem of Atomic War

Nuclear weapon test Mike (yield 10.4 Mt) on En...

English: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

English: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was done 72 years ago in 1945 to end WWII.  In essence this happened two years before President Donald Trump was born.  Most of the people who were alive at that time have passed on.  The memory of the end of World War II exists mainly in books and film; so does the memory of dropping two atomic bombs.  Only a very small percentage of the population, who were alive then, are still around and they are very old.  Neither the President of the United States nor the Supreme Leader of North Korea were alive then.

 

The Hiroshima bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945.  Three days later, August 9, the Nagasaki bomb was dropped.  They were exploded approximately 2,000 feet above their targets.  Both were fission devices.  Their energy was released by breaking matter apart into simpler elements.  The two bombs killed approximately 129,000 people and damaged countless others.  The objective of dropping them was to end World War II.

 

Basically what the bomb did was generate the sun’s heat 2,000 feet above the surface of their target, creating a vacuum directly under the explosion, which immediately sucked in dirt and dust from all around, throwing it up as a radioactive mushroom cloud.  The cloud itself was deadly with radioactivity; some of it would be blown up into the higher atmosphere and be spread innumerable miles in one direction or another, actually adding a measure of radioactivity to the atmosphere, while most of it would eventually drop back into the general area from which it came originally.  All this residue would be highly radioactive and deadly to people.

 

Those caught directly under the bomb and their possessions, houses, clothing, whatever, would immediately die or burn-up from the fire or heat.  The people, as one moves away from the center would all have radioactive burns over their bodies, the amount depending upon how far away they were from the center.  The entire process was pure horror.

 

On November 1, 1952 the United States test exploded a Hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok atoll, an empty island in the Pacific Ocean.  A Hydrogen bomb is a thermonuclear device which is a fusion bomb.  It takes simpler elements and makes them into more complicated ones.  It is also 1,000 times more powerful than an atomic bomb.  In fact it uses an atomic bomb to start its process.

 

While the simple atomic bomb releases the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT the H bomb releases 10 million tons of dynamite.  The island the Hydrogen bomb was exploded over melted and disappeared under the Pacific Ocean.

 

A few years later the Soviet Union, under Nikita Khrushchev, exploded two similar devices somewhere in Siberia and Khrushchev reported to the American President that the explosion had been greater than they thought it would be.

 

The radioactivity has a half-life of over 5,000 years.  This means that it can be lethal for over four times that length of time.  If enough atomic bombs were to be exploded they could poison the overall atmosphere of the planet with excess radioactivity and kill all organic life forms that are affected by radioactivity.

 

While shooting the film, The Conqueror, in 1959 John Wayne and ninety other members of the production company eventually came down with some form of cancer.  The film was shot at St. George, in Southwest Utah, east and downwind from the site of U.S. Government nuclear weapons tests.  I understand that one day they all felt a warm wind pass over them.  Susan Hayward and Agnes Morehead, as well as the director, Dick Powell also eventually came down with cancer.

 

It took a while but by 1963 there was a Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that restricted all nuclear testing to be done underground, usually in old deserted mines, to prevent contaminating the atmosphere with nuclear fallout.  It seems that every time an atomic weapon is tested it adds poisonous radioactivity particles to the atmosphere.   Even nations that did not sign the treaty have tested their atomic bombs since then underground.  This included North Korea.

 

Donald Trump, shortly after he became President of the United States, suggested that the U.S. arm countries surrounding North Korea with atomic bombs and missile systems.  Somehow after mentioning this strategy once he has not brought it up again.

 

He may have been properly briefed.  The problem with an atomic or nuclear war is that it could conceivably contaminate the entire planet.

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North Korea or to use its official title, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is probably one of the most dictatorial ruled states in the world today.  Its currency, the won, is not accepted in other nations and its value and distribution within the DPRK is totally determined by the government.  There is a different issue of currency for foreign visitors.  International trade and the distribution of currency within the country for goods and services is totally controlled by the central government.

 

The leaders or rulers since the inception of the Communist state has been the Kim family: father, son, and grandson.  Each has come to power after the death of his father.

 

At the end of World War II Korea was split into two sections at the 38th parallel.  The Northern half was organized by the Soviet Union.  The Southern part essentially by the United States.  In the North a Communist government was set up; in the South a Democratic one.  On June 25, 1950 Northern Koreans crossed the 38th parallel and invaded the Southern section.  The war ended with a truce at the 38th parallel in July 1953 with each side occupying the territory they held before the war started.  The truce continues to exist to this day with American troops still stationed at the 38th parallel.

 

On September 9, 1948 the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was established with Kim Il-Sung as the Supreme Leader.  After his death on July 8, 1994 his son, Kim Jong-il became ruler with numerous titles.  And after he passed away on December 17, 2011 his son Kim Jong-un became the Supreme Leader.  With Asian names the family name comes first and it is followed by the given name.

 

Kim Jong-un assumed office on April 11, 2012.  He was born in 1984, which currently makes him 33 years old.  He has a wife, who is somewhere in her twenties, a daughter and he is the Chairman of the Workers Party of Korea and the Supreme Leader of the Military.

 

His older brother, Kim Jong-chul, was poisoned in Malaysia in 2017 by suspected Korean agents.  In December 2013, Kim Jung-un had his uncle, who was a high government official, arrested for treachery and executed.  He also put to death all the members of his family, including children and grandchildren of all close relatives.  It seems, like many rulers of old, once the crown was inherited the possible competition was wiped out.

 

The Korean War ended in a truce that was never resolved.  Since that time the Northern Koreans have dug in, in their territories, digging deep concrete reinforced fortification facilities throughout their country.  In addition they have developed nuclear weapons and run underground tests of these weapons.  They have also developed and tested missiles that could deliver atomic bombs to their enemies in any type of war.  They claim, without actually testing one, to have developed their own Hydrogen Bomb.  This is given very low credence by U.S. Intelligence agencies.

 

As far as the United States is concerned North Korea currently has atomic bomb capacity and medium range missiles.  They are attempting to develop a long range missile that can reach the United States.  The U.S. has unsuccessfully attempted to halt their experimentation.  The United Nations has condemned it and issued economic sanctions.  Northern Korea continues with its rocket and bomb experimentation.

 

Under no circumstances can the U.S. allow them to develop a long range missile.  The Obama Administration issued sanctions against the ruler, Kim Jong-un and nine other N. Korean individuals.  According to one of the ministers, in doing this the U.S. “crossed the red line.”  DPRK considers that a state of war now exists with the United States.  Most people in the U.S. are not aware of this.  This probably includes Donald J. Trump.

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Despite economic sanctions by numerous members of the United Nations North Korea persists in moving forward with its program.  It would seem that North Korea sees its nuclear arsenal as essential in deterring an attack by its enemies, which include most of the nations in the world.

 

Traditionally the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has spent 25% of its Gross Domestic Product, of the goods and services it produces each year, upon the military.  It currently has the fourth largest army in the world.  All this despite the fact that the country is relatively poor.  From 1994 to 1998 there were severe food shortages and a number of people died of starvation.

 

North Korea’s border mostly faces China, with a smaller section facing Russia.  When the Soviet Union crashed and became Russia, North Korea lost that country as a provider of goods and services.  Her major trading partner today is China, who to a large extent she is dependent upon.  Does this give China a strong hand in determining her policies?  We will see.

 

China’s President, Xi Jinping, on a recent visit to the United States, was asked to help make North Korea back-off it’s nuclear and missile research.  Does China have enough clout to do this?  Or is China willing to do this?

 

The People’s Democratic Republic of Korea is ruled by Kim Jong-un, a 33 year old in charge of what is today a pure communist country where the Central Government controls the lives of all its people.  What do we know about him?  The answer is not very much.  He is reputed to never back down.  Is he capable of beginning an Atomic War?

 

In the United States the President is Donald J. Trump, who had earlier threatened a preemptive strike upon North Korea if they don’t stop their atomic and missile tests.  Trump has bombed with missiles an airport in Syria because Assad’s military presumably used chemical warfare against children.  He also dropped a massive non-atomic bomb over ISIS in Pakistan that destroyed everything within a mile, killing about one hundred people within the area.

 

Kim Jong-un is a young erratic dictator who has also threatened a preemptive attack.  His representative at the U.N. recently accused the U.S. of creating a situation for atomic war.

 

The problem with a preemptive attack by North Korea is that its target or targets would probably be South Korea or/and Japan, who are both within missile range of North Korea.

 

North Korea could be eradicated by just a few nuclear devices but so could other countries in that area of the world.  And how damaging would the results be for the rest of the people left alive?

 

Currently the situation rests in the hands of President Donald Trump and the supreme ruler of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.  Will we see some form of resolution to the problem or could we see a nuclear war?  Anything is possible.  And either of these two men is capable of starting a major war.

 

Trump has sent a naval armada, consisting, among other ships, of an aircraft carrier and a submarine capable of launching atomic missiles into that region.  They may participate in joint exercises with the South Korean navy.

 

North Korea has stated that this action would be an act of war. Trump has publicly stated that the United States may become involved in an actual war with North Korea.  He has further said that under no conditions can North Korea be allowed to develop long range missiles.  With these two leaders anything may happen.

 

The Weiner Component #69 – Historic Irony: George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” & North Korea

In August 1945 George Orwell published Animal Farm, an allegorical satire dealing with events that led up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and on into the Stalin Era of the Soviet Union.  He portrayed the Communist Soviet Union as a brutal dictatorship, built upon a cult of personality, and enforced by a reign of terror.  In 2013 news came out of North Korea about the absolute rule or new leadership of Kim Jong-un, his cult of personality, and his treatment of a goodly percentage of his population with the use of terror.  In many respects the satire also mirrors the North Korean Government.

Animal Farm deals with the animals on a farm revolting against the farmer, chasing him off the property, then taking over the farm.  Old Major, an old boar on the Manor Farm, summons the animals together.  He calls the humans parasites living off of the labor of the animals and teaches them a revolutionary song called “Beasts of England”.  After Major dies two young pigs, Snowball and Napoleon assume command and prepare for the rebellion.  The animals revolt and drive the drunken farmer, Mr. Jones, from the farm, renaming it Animal Farm.  They adopt Seven Commandments of Animalism, of which the most important one is, “All animals are equal.”

Snowball teaches the animals to read and write, while Napoleon educates young puppies on the principles of Animalism.  Food is plentiful and the farm runs smoothly.  The pigs elevate themselves to positions of leadership and set aside special foods for their personal health.  Napoleon and Snowball struggle for prominence.  Snowball announces his plans to build a windmill and Napoleon has his dogs chase Snowball off the farm.  He then declares himself leader of Animal Farm.

The animals work harder with the promise of easier lives.  When Boxer, the workhorse collapses, the pigs secretly sell him to the knacker to be turned into glue.  Years pass and the pigs begin to resemble humans, walking upright, carrying whips, and wearing clothes.  The Seven Commandments are changed to one.  “All animals are equal, but some animals more equal the others.”

In 1945, at the end of World War II, Korea, which had been ruled by Japan, was divided at the 38th parallel into two zones of occupation, American in the Southern half and Russian in the Northern part.  Prior to WW II Korea had been divided into two zones of colonization.  The Russian sphere of influence was in the North above the 38th parallel.  When the division was made the United States didn’t know this or they would have picked another point to divide the country.

The Russians set up a Communist State and the Americans attempt a Democratic Republic in the southern half of Korea.

North Korea is officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).  She shares a land border with China to the north and northwest, a short border with Russia to the northeast, and the Demilitarized Zone marks the boundary between DPRK and South Korea.  Both sides, the North and the South claim to be the legitimate government of the entire peninsula.

The DPRK describes itself as a Korean style Socialist Republic and holds elections.  But it is a dictatorship that is considered totalitarian and Stalinist.  There is an elaborate cult of personality: the Kim family, that has ruled North Korea since the end of World War II.  They have destroyed any resistance by the use of force.

The Workers Party of Korea, which is led by a member of the Kim family, holds absolute power in the state.  All political officers are required to be members.  Juche, an ideology of self-reliance, initiated by the country’s first president, Kim ll-sung, is the official state ideology and replaced Marxism-Leninism, when the country adopted a new Constitution in 1972.  In 2009 references to communism were removed from North Korea’s Constitution.

North Korea occupies the northern portion of the Korean Peninsula.  It covers an area of 46,541 square miles, and is about 1/3 the size of California.  The country consists of mountain ranges that crisscross the peninsula.  About 80% of North Korea is composed of mountains and uplands, separated by deep and narrow valleys.  The majority of the population, 24,554,000 people, live in the plains and lowlands.  There is not enough arable land to feed the population.  Even with food imports from China there is still not enough food to adequately feed all the people.

There is no income tax in the country.  The means of production are owned by the state.  All industry is operated state-run enterprises and collectivized farms.  There is no need for private enterprise since the state owns everything and provides, at different levels, all needed goods and services.

In the 1990s North Korea suffered from a famine and still continues to struggle with food production.  In 2013 the U.N. identified North Korea policies as the primary cause of the food shortages and estimated that sixteen million people required food aid.  Amnesty International claims that North Korea suffers from barely functioning hospitals, poor hygiene and epidemics.  By the beginning of the 21st Century the worst of the devastating famine had passed, but the country continues to rely heavily of foreign aid for its food supply.

The country follows the philosophy of songun or a military-first policy and is the world’s most militarized society with a total of 9,495,000 active reserve and paramilitary personnel.  Its active duty army of 1.21 million is the fourth largest in the world after China, the U.S., and India.  It has nuclear weapons and an active space program.

For North Korea to maintain the military establishment it does, even with mostly outdated weapons is absurd.  There is no way she can keep her population in a healthy condition and still keep her military establishment functional.  In a full-fledged war I can see her officers acting in the same way the Russians did in World War I.  There were never enough rifles for all the soldiers.  When they charged the enemy trenches only the first line of running soldiers had rifles.  After these men were shot down by machine-gun bullets the unarmed charging group behind them picked up their rifles and continued the charge.  And when they were killed there was the third line and then the fourth and so on.

In North Korea the population exists for the benefit of the state and the state only has a limited responsibility for them.

On December 13, 2011 the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-l died from a heart attack.  His son Kim Jong-un became his successor.

In the 21st Century the leaders of North Korea bluster and threaten.  North Korea was going to have a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States.  In March of 2013 the North Korean government declared that a state of war existed with South Korea and abrogated all past agreements, but took no military action.  U.S. National Intelligence speculated that Kim Jong-un is mainly trying to assert his control over North Korea and has no endgame other than gaining recognition.  At the start of January 2013, the North Korean government offered to enter into talks with the South Korean government.  They accepted immediately.

North Korea defines herself as a Juche, a self-reliant state.  She is described by outsiders as a de facto absolute monarchy or hereditary dictatorship, with a cult of personality organized around the late Kim ll-sung, the founder of North Korea and the country’s only president, his late son, Kim Jung-l, and his present grandson Kim Jung-un.

Political expression is tightly controlled.  Anyone who deviates from the government line is subject to reeducation in labor camps.  Troublesome political decenters, factionists, and class enemies, who are considered irredeemable are incarcerated together with any close family members in “Total Control Zones” for a life of hard labor.  Those who attempt to escape or violate camp rules are executed or sent to a separate prison within the camp.  The labor camps are reserved for political prisoners, common criminals are jailed in a separate system.

All North Koreans are sorted into groups according to their Songbun, their status system.  It is based upon their individual behavior and the political, social, and economic background of their family for three generations.  It also includes behavior by their relatives.  Songum is used to determine whether a person is trusted with responsibilities and given opportunities.  It even determines if an individual receives adequate food.

Songbun affects access to educational and employment opportunities.  It determines if a person is eligible to join North Korea’s ruling party.  There are three main classifications and about fifty sub classifications.  According to Kim ll-sung in 1953, the loyal “core class” is made up of 25% of the population, the “wavering class” 55%, and the “hostile class” 20%.  The highest status is accorded to those descended from the original participants in the resistance against the Japanese occupation during and before W.W.II.

Many international human rights organizations accuse North Korea of having one of the worst human rights records of any nation.  There are reports of severe restrictions on the freedom of association, expression, and movement, arbitrary detentions, torture and other ill treatment resulting in death and execution; prison camps, where 200.000 political prisoners and their families exist in inhuman conditions.

According to the United Nations Commission of inquiry the crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and general grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of people and the act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.

In the 1990s listening to South Korean radio could result in capital punishment.  Singing a South Korean song could result in being sent to a prison camp.  About 200,000 prisoners are held in six large prison camps.  Over 10,000 prisoners die each year.

North Korea is a country where the government owns most of the resources and most of the means of production.  The people exist for the benefit of the leadership, the military, and the state.  What exists is State Capitalism.  Wealth, or the use of the wealth, belongs to the leadership or existing political party.  And among the leadership every member of each family is responsible for the welfare of all the other members of their family.

In this country all men are equal but some men are more equal.  Animal Farm could have served as a syllabus on how to set up the state.  This is a beautiful example of historical irony, where reality followed satirical literature.