Mao Tse-Tung used to accuse America of being a paper tiger, all bark and no bite. That’s also why the looney tunes in North Korea aren’t shaking at South Korea’s vow of retaliation over Pyongyang’s artillery barrage on a South Korean island.
Because when you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. South Korea has a prosperous, industrialized economy. North Korea has 13,000 well-camouflaged and fortified artillery pieces along the Demilitarized Zone, enough to level Seoul – about 35 miles from the border – in a few hours. Let’s not even get into the atomic weapons that would devastate the South and seriously crimp the world’s supply of anime.
South Korea’s president has threatened missile strikes if the North lobs more shells. He must be kidding. What exactly is he going to do a nation whose leaders don’t care that their people eat grass to stay alive? What is there to bomb? And do you want to bomb a nuclear power? Americans and Russians mostly avoided shooting at each other during the Cold War, and for a very good reason.
Food aid is another matter. But judging by the recent artillery barrage and sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, offering food to the North isn’t much of a carrot. Because the leadership doesn’t care as long as it has The Bomb, plenty of food for the elite, and the world treats North Korea as a major power instead of psychotic juvenile delinquent in the global classroom.
I wonder if South Korea has the military capability and technology to conquer (or liberate) the North. With its Soviet sugar daddy gone, it’s not so easy being a Communist dictatorship. But who’s going to chance that a nuke will land on Seoul or Tokyo? Despise North Korea’s leaders for their callousness and viciousness, but for a small, poor nation, they are very successful at getting the world’s attention.
I don’t know what South Korea will do. Actually, I don’t know what they can do. It’s like having your brother live next door, and threatening to burn down your house if you don’t mow his lawn…and rake his leaves…and bring him dinner every night. You can pray that he will come to his senses, but if he doesn’t, then you know that sooner or later, he will burn down your house.