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August 16th 2017 print

Michael Galak

Cowardly Charity’s Culpable Cruelty

Until the election of Donald Trump, North Korea had no reason to switch tactics: rant, bellow, threaten -- and pretty soon the West hands over lots more of whatever is demanded, be it money, food or the nuclear technology Bill Clinton made available. This latest president is cut from different cloth

“Those who are kind to the cruel end up being cruel to the kind”
–The admonition from Kohelet Rabbah 7:16

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mushroom cloud IIIn March, 2011, I wrote a piece for QOL, Feel good, aid psychopaths. In it I was considering the West’s complicity in perpetuating the oppression of subjugated populations under various and assorted dictators. I was arguing that helping dictatorships (including with medicine and food) is not only futile but dangerous and irresponsible, as this aid prolongs the suffering of the tyrants’ oppressed subjects. Western help cements the oppressive regime’s ability to stay in power. As I wrote:

Consider that North Korea:

  • trades in narcotics and counterfeit money as planks of state policy;
  • openly kidnaps citizens of other countries and refuses to return them to their loved ones;
  • attacks the navy of a sovereign state and shells its territory without any reason;
  • disseminates nuclear weapons;
  • proliferates the technologies of their manufacture;
  • repeatedly threatens other countries with nuclear attack;
  • holds its citizens at a starvation level of food supplies, being incompetent to feed them;
  • incarcerates a significant part of its population in concentration camps

Now, almost seven years and huge quantities of the Western and Chinese help later, we can add another relevant point to this list of shame: North Korea’s dictator has been threatening the US and its allies with nuclear attack. That it has come to this is the unhappy result of a strategy of appeasement and bribes the West pursued long after it became evident they weren’t achieving the desired result. What the West has done is reward bad behaviour in the forlorn hope that it would not get any worse. That has failed, obviously.

The Poobah of Pyongyang is not nuts. Sure, he mouths off like a patient in the acute ward of a psychiatric hospital, but he has quite rationally and deliberately tapped into the classic behavioural patterns of a man with an anti-social personality disorder: aggression, bullying, a total lack of remorse, an immunity to shame. All the criminal actions and posturing of the supremely well-fed Dearest Leader have succeeded, rather brilliantly, in prolonging his rule over a prison kingdom. His actions served their purpose. He has remained in power.

So where did an impoverished and often starving nation get the technologies and the resources to develop its missiles? Where did the navigation guidance, computerisation and rocket fuel technologies come from? And what of the fissile engineering, nuclear physics, satellite expertise and all the other other arcane knowledge needed to build a bomb and, according to intelligence estimates, be poised to miniaturise it?  Where did all that knowledge come from? It would be naïve to think North Korea had such homegrown expertise.

All of the above was not apparent even ten years ago, when few would have thought it credible that a famished nation could make such seven-league strides. So how did they did they do it? Please indulge by considering the military parades we see in Moscow and Beijing, noting how those in Pyongyang are cut from very much the same cloth. Think, too, of similar events in Teheran. I guarantee some understanding will dawn on you. In all cases the external policies of the respective states are profoundly anti-Western, while their internal policies make aggression a byword for loyalty and paranoia a virtue.

North Korea makes an ideal proxy for goading the US, even to the point of war. Should the shooting actually begin, Kim and his regime, being relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things, could be sacrificed. In the meantime, watching the West’s wan response to year upon year of provocations has served as a guide for calibrating the state of its resolve. Kim Jung-Un would not have been bold enough to pull Uncle Sam’s whiskers by himself, nor of his own volition. As I mentioned, he is most definitely not an idiot. For him to do so, and do it so aggressively, he must have been supported. That would be totally consistent with the Stalinist worldview, to which Mr. Putin wholeheartedly subscribes.  His sponsors’ idea is very simple: let others fight until they are exhausted. When the time is right, we will dictate the terms.

I am coming back to the beginning of this piece, which I started with the quotation relating to the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Question One:  Why should Donald Trump refrain from hitting North Korea and its regime?

Answer: There are so many should nots that I am a bit spoiled for choice.

Start with the prospect of multiple mushroom clouds, nuclear devastation and related carnage that begins with radioactive illnesses and extends to ecological damage, refugees, famine, pestilence and epidemics, economic ruin and social unrest. These calamities are not containable and will spread well beyond the immediate war zone.

The prospects and consequences of a Korean war are awful.

Question Two:  Why Donald Trump should hit the North Korean regime?

Answer: All of the above notwithstanding, war would be the lesser evil. If North Korea throws down the gauntlet and it is not taken up, the bigger players will be emboldened to test American resolve (and may G-d may have mercy on all of us if Vladimir Putin decides to explore that track).

The Kim dynasty has survived as long as it has in large part because myopic, gutless and naïve Western politicians found it easier, time after time, to kick the can down the road, buying “peace” with appeasement and largesse. Remember a certain Mr Chamberlain waving that piece of paper on the steps of an aeroplane just returned from Berlin?  As he soon learned, making nice with tyrants doesn’t work, not for long anyway. In bowing repeatedly before the Kim dynasty’s demands, we have abetted the misery and terror inflicted daily on 28 million North Koreans. We are guilty of the crime, as the quotation atop this short essay explains, of undeserved compassion. We have  been kind to the cruel. We are responsible.

Question Three: Does Australia have an obligation to assist the US in the case of war with North Korea?

Answer:  Absolutely!  There are moral absolutes. They include honesty, doing unto others etc., keeping one’s word, loyalty, assisting friends in times of need.

What more can I say?

Well, just one thing: just as North Korea has been an aggressive proxy for much larger mischief makers, so might Australia serve as a sacrificial target in the stead of bigger ones more likely to prompt retaliation in kind. Nuke Brisbane and the immediate and unavoidable surmise will be that, say, San Francisco might be next if an antagonist’s conditions aren’t met, demanded concessions aren’t given.

Think about that as the range of Pyonyang’s missiles grows ever greater.

Dr Michael Galak and his family came to Australia as refugees from the Soviet Union in 1978

Comments [14]

  1. Bill Martin says:

    A most horrific dilemma. One can’t help but feel for president Trump, saddled with the responsibility of having to decide ultimate!y between two unimaginably horrendous options.

    Congratulations to Michael Galak for yet another excellent article.

  2. Ian MacDougall says:

    North Korea, ruled as it is by Kim III, The Fat Boy from Pyongyang, is playing quite a dangerous game. His generals appear to agree. They regularly get photographed wearing copious swathes of gold medals on their chests, which all told looks to me like a significant proportion of the Hermit Kingdom’s gold reserves. So if each or all of them have to make a hurried exit across a suitable land border to Siberia, China or even South Korea, they would have their loot with them.

  3. whitelaughter says:

    And every year, the problem is going to get worse. NK expanding into cyberspace is an obvious and minor example. But what can an established smuggling operations also be used to transport? Biological weapons? Gas? Nukes?

    The joke is that the only US warship to be held by enemy forces is held by North Korea, the USS Pueblo (AGER-2). They’ve been using it as a propaganda piece for nearly 5 decades!

    • ianl says:

      Yes, the NK regime is scary, with those in control focussed solely on maintaining look-at-me power. Sociopaths with power are always scary and the more power they accrue the scarier they become (a statement of the bleeding obvious, I know).

      But NK as a sacrificial proxy for Russia/China ? Pyongyang is simply too unpredictable to be safely handled by anyone, I think. Pyongyang’s missiles go north and west as easily as south and east. It has withdrawn for the interim the immediate threat of splashing missiles down near Guam; one suspects this withdrawal may have been insisted on by China, but it’s still all eggshells.

  4. Warty says:

    I am loath to challenge Michael Galak on his claim that Putin has a ‘Stalinist worldview’, particularly in the light of Mr Galak’s emigration from the USSR in 1978. Such experiences command respect and bespeak authority. Nevertheless I would argue that though Putin is as astute a leader as any, it is quite a different Russia to the one Michael left.
    Secondly, though I have no doubt Michael has kept closely in touch with events in his mother country, I have been subjected to so much overblown Democrat rhetoric coming out of post Obama America about Russians under the bed, I cringe every time I hear of how menacing Putin and his Russia is vis a vis America’s interests. With an economy performing below that of ours (with the highest electricity prices in the world) I am not convinced Putin has the capacity to wage any war. Indeed, I can’t even begin to imagine the damage his assistance to Assad might have done to his overdraft, never mind his assistance to the Eastern Ukrainian separatists.
    Unlike most Eastern Block countries, who have painful memories of Soviet expansionism, I have every sympathy for Putin’s take over of Russian Crimea, after centuries of Russian control since the days of Tartar sovereignty. And though the Russian separatists in Ukraine are descendants of Soviet colonists, back in the 1920s, Russian interests there go back to the time of Catherine the Great, so to say that the Ukraine is within the Russian sphere of interest is a bit of an historical understatement, and they have every reason to resent both European and NATO threats to that sphere of interest. And no, I have not digressed: the Ukraine has been one of the examples given of Russian expansionism.
    I concur with everything else Mr Galak has said with regards to North Korea; it’s just the Putin bit that I feel needs further explanation, and I bow to the painful memories he undoubtedly still carries, as I do in relation to my own country of birth; though my own case I’d happily see it fall down a deep well, the shell of a country it now is.

  5. Don A. Veitch says:

    Yes, of course. Weapons of Mass Destruction should be eliminated, with invasion and regime change, even when nation states don’t have them!

    So we come to real politiks: North Korea knows it will get the Libyan/Syrian/Iran/Iraq/Yemen treatment if it does not have blow back power.

  6. en passant says:

    Michael,
    An excellent article, (and I apologise for the length of my comment) but …

    The West kept Saddam in power (and keeping that thug in control of Iraq was not such a bad idea in light of what has followed). He was removed for fake reasons that are worth a full article to explain. So, some lunatic thugs like Saddam and Qaddafi do have a useful purpose. Kim is not in that category.

    Putin, like Saddam, is a thug, but his attitude towards Islam makes him a partial saviour of the West. So does Chinese thuggery against the muslim Uighers.

    How is this connected to the Pretty Boy of Pyongyang? You asked where the nuclear and missile technology came from …? You obviously knew the answer was from the islamic death cults of Iran & Pakistan provided it. In Iran’s case it was a good place to test their Judgement Day weapon to eradicate Israel and for one Pakistani scientist, it was simply a way of getting seriously rich. As Israel knows, you cannot appease people who just want you dead, even if they die too. After all it is their god’s will.

    We can skip past the Archangel Trolls bovine comments as IanL and Warty make good points worth reading and considering.

    Now, returning to your main point: appeasement only prolongs the agony, emboldens the unstable and leads to even greater damage than taking action sooner. In 1936, there is evidence that the German Army MAY have risen to remove Hitler had the French stood up to their lightly-armed incursion into Sudetenland. Another opportunity was lost as it is almost certain that the German Army would have staged a coup had Austria resisted (as its army wanted to do), but was overruled by its politicians.

    The result? WW2 and 20M-40M deaths, give or take a few million.

    The rewritten history of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has turned those actions from life-saving operations that saved 1M American soldiers and maybe 20M Japanese to a Leftard war crime. The end result of WW2 was inevitable, it was just the ratio of the number of potential deaths against the actual number of deaths from using the A-bomb that is uncertain.

    So, what to do with Kim, and what is likely to happen?

    It is possible that having now been shown to be a pathetic, impotent fool the Nork nork will be assassinated. Best result all round and worked well in Romania in 1989. Romania was a state as repressive as Nork and with which Ceaucescu had cordial relations. Romania adopted the Nork model of Orwell’s ’1984′ (in in 1971), but even that was not enough.

    Failing that (after all Stalin survived) a conventional missile bombardment by the USA, Japan and South Korea is certainly capable of taking out MOST of the key Nork missile sites. Some may survive.

    So how dangerous is that? It is nothing compared to the alternative of allowing this petty pillock surviving to continue to kill and oppress endlessly. Right now it is unlikely he can deliver a nuclear weapon at all. If he can, it will probably be about a 15 kiloton weapon, with an inaccurate guidance system and probably unable to survive re-entry.

    All this will change within the next few years, so the answer is when does the West in unison delete his Face and his Facebook account, not should we do so. Killer Kim probably has 5-10 weapons whereas the USA has an estimated 70,000 nuclear warheads (including neutron bombs), so let’s take bets as to who is going to win this exchange?

    China has 600 – 700 warheads, but the capacity to deliver only a few against USA territories. They are not ready to challenge the USA, and certainly not to suicidally defend the Nork.

    Trump to China: Assassinate him now and save his country and yourselves.

    Oz? We can chant and pray, but our one operational diesel-electric submarine, two LHD’s unfit for service, Tiger attack helicopters that the manufacturer has declared unfit for service and LGBT and equality training in our war-winning Orwellian ‘Diversity is Strength’ mantra is not going to tip the balance. And let’s never forget Admiral Barrie’s ‘climate is our greatest threat’, and our only threat is to be exposed as bare of defence capability as … {pick any minor country you want to insult}.

    Yet, our very lack of capability is why we need to be actively involved in the Korean War, Round 2. Oz NEEDs protection from somebody who has the capability to deter our potential enemies as our treasonous politicians have clearly decided it is not their responsibility.

  7. Ian MacDougall says:

    According to various comments on posts he has made from time to time here at QO, eyn pyssant (or whatever his real name is) is a 70+ years old Vietnam veteran who lives on a waterfront block at Ho Tram in Vietnam, “1.5m above the king tide high water mark.” Not to be confused with Colonel Blimp; though (Or should that be Colonel Blympyssant?)

    Now he appears to be widening his horizons beyond mere AGW denialism and into some serious geopolitical strategy.
    But this his latest rant would have fitted in well and added quite a bit to the atmospherics of a Munich beer hall circa 1932.
    Schisse, dreck und blut!!!
    What is outlined here, as a response to North Korea’s nuclear effort, is a call for Australia to get seriously into yet another arms race, with all the usual problems of such a dreary business.

    Dreary because it can lead us into a very expensive wasteland of failed expectations.
    To deter a potential aggressor, one does not need the ability to destroy him 50,000 times over. The ability to do it once with a high probability of success should be enough. This remains true even if he has convincingly lost his marbles, as Hitler had close to the end in his Berlin bunker.
    Ultimately, military planners have to assume that any adversary they face does not want to pay too high a price for ultimate victory, whatever ‘too high’ might mean.
    Backing Hitler into his last corner was a comparatively easy matter, because there was a probability close enough to certainty that he did not have nuclear weapons. But if he had, he would have used them, and brought destruction to half of Europe in the process.
    (The US had an A-bomb monopoly then.)

    Hitler in his wisdom had rejected science (sound familiar?)
    Einstein’s physics, upon which the A-bomb was based, had been brought to Hitler’s notice in his armament program in the 1930s, while there was time for his regime to build start a nuclear bomb as a sideline program.
    But Hitler overruled the proposal, on the grounds that he did not accept Einstein’s physics, on which an atomic bomb program would be based. Einstein, after all, was a Jew; from the untermensch. So what would he know?
    Better to rely on the thoughts refined in a career of house-painting in Austria, punctuated by more than a few rowdy meetings in sundry beer-halls.
    But I digress.
    Countering Islamism has proved to be a headache for Western military planners.
    Islamic theology motivates the explosions that periodically mark the enthusiastic death of yet another sex-starved Islamist, craving his heavenly quota of 72 virgins. But modest and self-effacing leaders like Osma bin Laden (and also the Fat Boy of Pyongyang apparently) have few gratification problems, and so incline generously to leave the honour and glory of dying in a fireball to others.
    But let us not lose sight of the tragic history of North Korea.
    the Japanese occupation of the whole Korean Peninsula dated from 1910..So prior to 1945, the peninsula had been the occupied territory of one repressed nation.
    The Fat Boy’s grandfather Kim Il Sung (now Chief Saint of North Korea) started what has been to date the only Korean War. This he did on June 25, 1950, by ordering his forces to cross the border, which was then the 38th Parallel, and invade the South.
    That brought in the US (and Australia under ANZUS).

    In the ensuing war, all the buildings in North Korea were completely flattened.
    There rapidly came a stage at which the US had to suspend all air operations. There were no targets left in North Korea.
    The rest of the story was stalemate all the way to the 1953 armistice.
    So far, Australia’s modest defence forces have been strong enough to deter attack: which is all they have to do.

    Building them up to a strength such as to give us capability to unilaterally take on a nuclear North Korea, as demanded with self-righteous indignation by Eyn, would at the same time upset the local regional balance and give us the capability to beat others, like say the Indonesians.
    This would likely provoke a local Australian-Indonesian arms race, which if nothing else would be an expensive waste of resources on both sides.

  8. Ian MacDougall says:

    Schisse, dreck und blut!!!
    Iss spelt ‘scheisse’!

  9. Keith Kennelly says:

    Ian Logic says Hitler rejected Einsteins science, not because if an understanding of science, but because of Einsteins Jewishness. There is a difference.

    If you are bringing the same sort of illogical reasoning to your believe in warming then I’d conclude your view of warming is likely wrong.

    I doubt you’d understand such logic … it seems a bit beyond your capabilities.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Keith:

      Logic says Hitler rejected Einsteins science, not because if an understanding of science, but because of Einsteins Jewishness. There is a difference.

      Did ‘Logic’ really say that? This is getting serious! It’s all so much worse than I first thought!

      Fact is that Hitler rejected Einstein’s physics out of both ignorance and prejudice. Prejudice, after all, is based in ignorance: mostly of the wilful kind. Hitler had no way of checking for himself, and he was not inclined to show his ignorance by asking advice. Just as well for Europe, because he could have conceivably made the bomb if his master-race ideology had not got in the way.
      When ideology takes the wheel, reason, logic and all the rest of it, even experience, have to get out and walk. E cannot possibly equal mc^2, because that idea came out of the head of a Jew, and the Jews are an inherently inferior race.
      Thus, it turned out that the price of maintaining the both the Nazi ideology and the rule of that ultimate control-freak Hitler was rejection of a bomb program.
      So Keith, when ‘sceptics’ like yourself say that the CO2 in the atmosphere cannot possibly be trapping heat, what is apparently driving it is a religious conviction that the innocent CO2 molecules cannot possibly be doing that, because if they were, it would be bad for established business, and particularly for the coal business.

      • en passant says:

        Ian MacBot,
        I will waste some more time, not to educate you, but for the other readers benefit.

        “… to give us capability to unilaterally take on a nuclear North Korea, as demanded with self-righteous indignation by Eyn”

        How did you read the above into my actual words. which were:
        “Yet, our very lack of capability is why we need to be actively involved in the Korean War, Round 2. Oz NEEDs protection from somebody who has the capability to deter our potential enemies.”

        Did anyone else read what I said and interpret it according to you fantasies? Hands up those who did.

        Secondly, “… Hitler overruled the proposal, on the grounds that he did not accept Einstein’s physics, on which an atomic bomb program would be based.”

        Really? Then what was Heisenberg doing with his research. They even made a film about the work he carried out. Heisenberg tried to interest Neils Bohr in joining him, but Bohr did a runner instead. Why were there two raids on the Norwegian Norsk ‘heavy water’ hydro plant at Vemork (that was providing Deuterium, a vital element for Heisenberg’s atomic weapons research)? You really must stop reading Marvel Comics as your source of facts.
        For everyone except the bovine troll, if you look at how much effort it took the USA to develop the first bombs, the real reason for Germany not obtaining a weapon was that they simply ran out of resources.

        As for your CO2 mantra about coal: how much harm is it doing? What is the ideal concentration of CO2 that would make you and your methane farting cows happy? Have you no conscience about their destroying the planet and enriching you in the process?

  10. Ian MacDougall says:

    Perhaps Colonel Eynbliumpyssant might learn something from this:

    …The Fuhrer, in one part of his wild-and-crafty mind, was a believer in wonder weapons, but most of the time he trusted only what he had learned to trust as a corporal in World War I: tanks, U-boats, and, within limits, the aircraft that Goring pushed for. Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect and from 1942 onward his minister of armaments, remembers him as ”filled with a fundamental distrust of all innovations which, as in the case of jet aircraft or atom bombs, went beyond the technical experience of the First World War generation and presaged an era he could not know.”
    In this respect, if no other, Hitler was of conventional mind. He was also profoundly wary of experts of all sorts and still more mistrustful of academic people. His view of nuclear physics, in particular, was hopelessly confused by his pathological anti-Semitism; Jewish physics, he called it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/13/magazine/hitler-and-the-bomb.html?pagewanted=all