Monday, April 15, 2013

Threatening Thoughts #4: Too Much Workout Equipment

So much of the discussion of the North Korea threat issue to Guam centers around the "kinaduku" or "craziness" of its leader. Instead of having reasoned discussions people enter into silly caricatures and try to pretend that this should be the focus. In order to understand things all you need to know is how crazy North Korea's leader is. This leads to alot of pointless metaphors that don't help you understand much except how ridiculous and dangerous North Korea is. For example, with North Korea's emphasis on launching missiles, people are making all sorts of analogies to someone trying to compensate for not being endowed in another supposedly manly area. North Korea is obviously feeling inferior in one way and trying to compensate for their lack by building all these nuclear missiles!

These caricatures, these analogies aren't actually that bad, but only if you continue them in a logical manner. Yes, you could argue that as a weak and isolated nation North Korea seeks to make missiles to make themselves feel important and strong. But if this is so, then the United States of America must have the smallest metaphorical penis in the world. It has far more missiles than everyone else in the world and uses them more often than anyone else. So the metaphor isn't that bad, but only if you isolate it to a single target. If you use it more widely and even use it in a self-reflective manner, it can actually be illuminating. Nations in general create militaries for formal and rational reasons but also irrational and obscene ones. Although people may be very comfortable discussing the obscene ones for others, they like to only admit to the rational and formal ones for themselves.

The analogy that I like to use to describe North Korea and its "threat" to Guam is workout equipment. North Korea gets some new workout equipment. It really should keep them indoors and use them in a controlled environment so it can get the most out of them. But instead North Korea likes to set up its equipment outside on its front lawn. When it works out it grunts and yells things so that everyone in the neighborhood knows how much it can life, how many sets its doing and can get a nice view of all its fancy workout equipment.

The purpose of this workout equipment clearly isn't to work out, but rather to be shown off. Although it can be used to work out, the owner clearly means to show it off primarily and using it is of secondary importance. This is the way North Korea exists in relation to Guam. It has this equipment but the purpose isn't to use it, but to show it off. When you think about it, people who announce that they will conducting this missile test and can hit this or hit that, aren't actually going to use those things, but simply want everyone to know that they could.

But where is the US in this? The US is a place that has way too much workout equipment and so it goes all over the neighborhood placing its workout equipment in other peoples' lawns and in their garages and in their living rooms. The US sometimes does this by making deals, sometimes it does this by invading peoples homes and then leaving behind their work out equipment when they leave. In a sense the US shows off its workout equipment far more than North Korea does, and are far more aggressive about using it and forcing it on people.

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