North Korea has a bomb. Shocker: North Korea has always had nuclear capability, or been on the path to nuclear capability. The brutal and repressive regime of Pyongyang has been chasing this particular endgame since before I was born. Their ambitions are not novel.
According to the Times:
President Trump’s threat to unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea sent a shudder through Asia on Wednesday, raising alarm among allies and adversaries and, to some observers, making the possibility of military conflict over the North’s nuclear program seem more real. With North Korea responding that it would, if attacked, strike American military forces in Guam, analysts warned that the escalating statements increased the likelihood of war — perhaps one based on miscalculation, should one side’s fiery rhetoric be misread by the other.
Are nuclear weapons new?
Of course not.
We live in a world which has been already been warped by the presence of atomic fire, and those states which possess world-ending power. Nothing has changed. With a few exceptions, every single person living on this spinning green orb have grown up in the shadow of nuclear winter.
Has the balance of power changed?
On a large scale, the allocation of might has not changed. Russia and the United States still hold a criminally massive complement of apocalypse-bringing nuclear arms. The runners-up—Israel, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, China—also hold huge (but not equal) numbers of these insane and immoral weapons.
The major difference seems to be that the Developed World, and in particular the United States, would have slightly less power than it already does. Naturally, the Beltway is reacting with all the gentle wisdom it is famous for. But the order of power has not been upended. All the Monopoly pieces are still on the board.
Why the recent hubbub, then?
1) Once again, the intelligence community has done a poor job. North Korea has a weapon much earlier than we thought.
2) There is an unpredictable man-child in the seat of American power.
It is unlikely that the North Korean regime will want to be zoned out of existence. For that is what will happen, if they should fire their weapons anywhere near American property. The greatest military, economic, and cultural power in the history of the world will roll over them, and if you think otherwise, you’re fooling yourself. North Korea won’t nuke us, because they would die. Death almost always interferes with being king over starving farmers. Pyongyang has been trying to hack that one for years!
As Twitter user @armystrang points out, we do this once a year. It’s Batman and the Joker’s mating dance—except instead of the sinful citizens of Gotham being held hostage, it’s all of us:
Let’s use this moment to ask ourselves a more appropriate question than “Are we about to end the world?” Namely: How did we get in this situation? Why do we keep finding ourselves here?
We say we want a world of peace, but we are constantly preparing for a world at war. We’re already built a system where nukes equal power. The government pretends this problem has vanished since the end of the Cold War. It hasn’t.
We maintain our ridiculous radioactive arms chest and then protest if anybody else builds one. After all, nobody hates a drunk like a man who’s already twenty-two sheets to the wind. We designed an MMORPG that favors characters with massive tactical armament, and then complain when everybody else wants to join the club.
Hey you, yeah you, North Korea! Put down that bomb. See, I know I founded the “Might Makes Right Society,” but honestly, you’re just not the kind of person we want joining. Does that make sense?
“Why not? My might makes right! Those are the rules! I built these nukes just to impress you! See, they’ve got killing power and everything. Our radioactive mutants will be just as flesh-eating as your radioactive mutants.”
What? Nukes are cool? Who told you that?
I learned it from watching you, Dad. I learned it from watching you.
At this point in the Lifetime story, everyone would break down into tears. Or chest-puffing, in this continuity. A world without nukes is the only long-term solution, and the only knot-cutting that Washington never wants to consider.
Every government, including ours, claims it wants harmony and concord between nations. Considering how much treasure we waste on military armament, it’s pretty clear we shredded the last pretense of peace-love a long time ago.
We should care about harmony, or at the very least pretend to care. Instead of threatening destruction, what if we threatened peace? Or at the very least, what if we did anything else—anything at all? How would the world be different? This crisis will ebb and pass, like every other one. We will repeat this farce in a year’s time. But the ever-looming threat will remain—and that is one bomb that is in our power to defuse