Word that president Obama is eyeing the North Korea nuke blast over the weekend with ‘grave concern’ is hardly any surprise. The test, which is reported as about as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb in WW II, means that if coupled up with North Korea’s new short-range missiles, could put South Korea – which is still technically at war with the North – under direct threat.
Oh, and just to further complicate things, North Korea is reportedly set to fire ground to ship missiles. No word on whether these will be the NK equivalent of the Sunburn missiles that Iran has reportedly installed and has aimed seaward from along its shoreline, but it would strategically make sense.
This gets me to wondering about whether the North Koreans are playing the market around their nuclear tests. I mean think about it: The South Korean KOPSI Composite index could have been shorted at about 1,420 on Friday and the 5% drop to a session low around 1,356.23 on Monday after word of the nuke test would have been a dandy trade. Just wonder if the North is making money on their tests…and if so…how much? Seems to me that a 5% market move would have been tradable and one way to raise a little dough for missile and nuclear development.
My consigliore noted something anomalous some number of months back – he had been surfing various discussion boards and there was a poster who sounded – by his references and writing – like he might be North Korean president Kim Jong-il. He notices these things as he’s sharp as a tack.
While at first I dismissed this as unlikely, but a little further reflection on the subject has me wondering: He’s certainly got the smarts to surf the net – and according to his bio he’s been fluent in English since learning it in the early 1970′s at the University of Malta, where he reportedly vacations now and then.
All of which is not to say that Kim Jong-il actually does surf the ‘net, only to mention the possibility that a leader of any country could if so inclined go ‘to the people direct’ without going through the dual filters of media. In other words, what a leader like Kim Jong-il would be able to say publicly – where statements would have to be crafted this way or that, since they would be closely scrutinized for meaning by foreign governments, constituting one layer of filtering. Then the second layer of filtering would be the Western corpgov media which filters pretty much everything to fit the Western business model’s interest.
On the other hand, going ‘people-direct’ on the internet would certainly open an interesting tack for a foreign leader to take – a sort of new benchmark in information warfare. I think of it as paradigm penetration.
A foreign leader ‘going direct’ would allow an exchange of views that might otherwise be filtered out.
And it would certainly help people understand why a country – in this case North Korea – is behaving in the particular way they are, building nukes and new missiles and such.
I for one would sure like to get some questions answered that seem filtered. The three most pressing might be “Why all the anger? After 50-odd years of fighting can’t both sides just say “Enough is enough?”
The second question would be “So you’re this 68-year old guy and you have a nuke. Knowing (as we do that at least linguistically) that you might be inclined to use it around December of this year, could you fill us in on what you expect to gain? Irradiated cities don’t seem to have much commercial value at least to my way of thinking, so what would be the point? What’s your long-term strategic objective or agenda here?”
The third question would be this: “To what extent – if any – has North Korea aligned itself with – or aided in any way – Islamic fundamentalists of the bin Laden stripe and do you (or have you) supply them arms and materiel?” I think a lot of folks wonder about this one.
Fourth question? Sure… “What was the real story on that 2004 “train accident” that killed or injured more than 3,000 people? What was the ultimate body count and was the explosion in any way related to military development work, as some around the net have wondered?”
Fifth question: “How much counterfeiting of US currency have you done – and how does that compare with, say, our own cost of bailing out banks by just printing up money?”
I don’t suppose that Kim Jong-il will answer – even if he does surf the net and might post now and again. But it’s possible that a foreign leader could at some point decide to go ‘people-direct’. Anyway, my email is email@example.com.
In the (Highly Unlikely) event that a response were received, I’m supposing that since this is in the news interview genre, it would not be covered by the Logan Act which…
“...is a United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. It was passed in 1799 and last amended in 1994. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony, punishable under federal law with imprisonment of up to three years.
The text of the Act is broad and is addressed at any attempt of a US citizen to conduct foreign relations without authority. However, there is no record of any convictions or even prosecutions under the Logan Act.”
Nope, no exposure there since there’d be no negotiating. Just reporting.
What I’d really be interested in – and the core of future events always revolves around this – if how people with different referential frameworks deal with events. Clearly, when you’re father was the president of North Korea, you’ve got a different referential framework than us middle class folks in the American public. What reports in the Western press seem to miss is constructing an accurate description of foreign leader’s referential frameworks (worldviews) differences. News reports always seem to be so damn crisis-centered.
To the extent that global leaders evolve ‘go direct’ communication with the public, I think the chances of conflict avoidance could be improved. I’d note that the White House sports a Blog. But I doubt much – if any – of its content is actually created/written by the president himself.
Since there’s new technology that hasn’t completely made its way into politics (being slow adopters as they are…leading from behind, as it were) wouldn’t it be interesting if world leaders each had a blog and only other world leaders could post to it? Boy, that would be an interesting one to follow, especially if the ‘world leaders’ were legit and no public posting was allowed…just the ‘real deal’ guys.
Sound far-fetched? Don’t be so sure. Wikipedia notes that “Kim also refers to himself as an Internet expert.” Like I say, an email would be appreciated and maybe an English-language blog so we can figure out what’s motivating this nuke building thing besides anger?
Iran Ramps Up
In a development which is sure to make folks in Israel rethink their ‘wait till October’ course, there are reports that Iran for the first time has sent a fleet of six warships into the Gulf of Aden.
The Obama administration is setting about creation of an “Internet Czar” . Fine, so long as it’s not something that sets up restrictions on the ‘net, but I reckon it will eventually be seen as a prelude to actual ‘net controls’ coming along. Can’t have people being too free…just free enough, huh?
Supreme Court Nod
I see that WSAW.com has been tracking the “Ammunition shortage across the Badger state.“ Let me see, we’ve been covering it for three years now….
Hawaiian ospitality in Trouble
There’s this “Oh-oh” story that has caused me to shelve plans to go to Hawaii this month. Course that was just one of those Orbitz pricing fantasies, anyway. But check it out: “Lei in need because of flower shortage.”
Here comes the bad/terrible/appalling pun of the day: Who’d want to go to Hawaii if you can’t get lei’ed?
(A rim shot and a chorus of groans follows from our studio audience…)