Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Under No Illusions

Here is a far-fetched theory (try saying that when you're pissed). It is probably massively far from the truth is based on nothing but some romantic notion that I understand world politics, but, I dunno, I can almost sort of see this happening.

When Kim Jong-un took over from his father Kim Jong-il, many world politics commentators wondered just what we were going to get - a reformer or another bonkers dangerous fuckwit (which incidentally I think is just the image they like to give). North Korea started to do things that South Korea and the west didn't like and which had China back-peddling like a cyclist from another dimension, putting a Yangtze sized distance between Pyongyang and Beijing.

Just recently things have been getting a little scary; North Korea has started verbally abusing the USA and giving its sister country a hard time; nuclear reactors have been un-mothballed and more importantly the industrial estate between the borders of the two countries is now out of bounds to anyone who doesn't kneel to the supreme leader (more of this in a moment). It has declared a state of war between itself and its neighbour and is squaring up to the USA like a mouse to a polar bear and all can think is this is about as genuine a threat as Team America the film by the South Park creators.

Let me hit you with a theory... Kim Jong-il was barking mad or so everyone thought, but once he knew he was dying he made sure that it was Jong-un and none of his other, older, sons who would replace him. What the world knew of un was that he was a little on the young side and had been educated away from North Korea, so must have had some exposure to the outside world. North Korea has 1.25million soldiers, but it is also one of the poorest countries in the world, in fact, estimates suggest as much as 70% of the population are under-nourished and living well below the poverty threshold. The country is, to use a technical term, fucked and there's not an awful lot Kim Jong-un can do. He can't be seen going cap in hand to anyone because he's fucking North Korean, isn't he and that's weakness and they have to keep face. But if he has a war and they get their arses handed to them on a plate - look what happens to countries that lose wars!!!

Also, North Korea appears to be conducting this action based on whatever the news channels are reporting. CNN suggest they might reopen some reactors, they reopen some reactors. The BBC say that you can tell there isn't a problem because the industrial park the two countries share is still open; the next day they shut it. It's almost like they're doing this by numbers. North Koreans are firing flaming sheep at South Korean bystanders - tomorrow... Oh the carnage...

I can just picture it. A secret plane flies into some west coast airbase, on it Kim Jong-un and a translator and a few of his trusted aides and Barack Obama and a few of his. "Mr President, my country is fucked. My people are all going to starve to death and despite what people think, I know that we're pretty much the laughing stock of the world and only Mugabe has less respect. I'd like to declare war on your country so that I can beg for help without losing face. You get to be seen as the president who beat North Korea. I can have a Prius in a couple of years. My people need to eat and a few of them would like to see their family again before they die. What do you say?"

"It's a deal; but we've got to make it look convincing and also make sure there are enough 'experts' out there to make it sound far worse than it is. You need to round up at least a thousand troops that are still strong enough to hold rifles for the PR shoot. We might need to have a few casualties and you might get indicted for war crimes (but we have Grenada to help with that). Leave it to me and my CIA, everything will be fine."

Job done.

You watch. 

And if I'm right, I'll become the Psychic Weather and War Forecaster and you can have both forecasts for $5 and get a signed photograph (of someone) as long as you pay the postage.

Did I ever mention before that Google Street View doesn't let you go to parts of South Korea, almost like even they don't want you to see things. However, during my Google Maps Tourism breaks (I like to visit somewhere new at least once a month and spend ten minutes looking at the streets etc and I know how sad that sounds but I do need a job you know...) recently I found my way to Northern Norway and the Nordland area - that's the jutty-out bit north-east of Iceland that is probably inside the Arctic Circle but still several hundred miles south of Svalbard. It is a very isolated but considering where it is quite well populated part of the country (south-west of Tromso). It is, quite possibly, one of the most spectacular parts of any country I've ever seen and despite the street view shots being taken in June there was still a lot of snow on the ground. You need to find the peninsula, look for the E10, which is the road, and a village called Sørvågen. (Wiki says this about it: Sørvågen is a fishing village on the island of Moskenesøya in the Lofoten archipelago. It is located in the municipality of Moskenes in Nordland county, Norway.) You will only be able to zoom in so far before you get the standard Google message about not having any closer images, when this happens grab your street view man and drop him on the the E10. You can actually drop him at the very start of the road, which is a car park in the middle of presumably the first/last hospitable place. There is a sign pointing toward the wilderness saying camping and you get the impression that this is going to be a pretty inhospitable place for a good part of the year.

Just follow the road. Give yourself an hour because a lot of it you are just going to want to investigate as best you can and you see some strange things on the journey, almost from the word go. You should also marvel at the brilliance of putting this road where they have and how uninterrupted it is. Someone will remind me that Norway isn't in the EU next.

Anyhow, that's how bored I am at times.

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