Let's start here. Can you find the 46,500 square mile country (about the size of Mississippi) on a World map?
Apparently only about 1 in 3 adult Americans can. And, wow, follow the bouncing ball of reason on this: The one person who can find little North Korea on China's Northeast corner, right across from Japan - that person favors diplomatic interventions over more violent proposals in the ongoing bombast of my-nuke-is-bigger-than-yours. Maybe if you can find a country on a map, you have a little more sense of realness about the place. Perhaps it's occurred to you that an actual place on a map has people living there. And people have families. And houses. And jobs. And dreams. Just like you do.
Maybe. Get out your map. Imagine the views of the Pacific Ocean, the fresh seafood, the culture of politeness mingled with the wariness of strangers.
With half-hearted apologies to 32% of Americans who support our President right now (more people could find N. Korea on a world map...just sayin'), I have to wonder if he is the ONE in that map quiz, or part of the other TWO. How in the ever-lovin' world did the President of the United States wander from a blow-it-off, fly-in-my-soup Twitter attitude about Kim Jong Un of North Korea on July 3...
So - I opened my laptop early Wednesday, longing for Barack Obama, and determined I would launch a new meme with WWOD superimposed over a silly GIF of the Dear Leader. Sadly, my self-righteous Obama-wishing-bubble was burst pretty quickly with a lengthy February 2016 piece from Newsweek about what appears to have been the last North Korean offer to put its nukes on the negotiating line with the USA:
North Korea wanted to talk about officially ending the Korean War (it technically stopped with an armistice in 1953). And Kim was now willing to wrap the nuclear issue into the discussions.
WWOD? Let his successor deal with the North Korea problem. Sigh.
I won't regurgitate the entire article here, but I encourage you to read it for background, at least....and for regret, if you like to wallow in that as much as I do.
So in the cacophony of sword rattling and the rhetoric of bravado from all of our dear leaders, I have spent some time doing what I like to do when I don't understand a world-worn brouhaha...I have read, and scribbled pages of ugly notes, and thought about the people in this drama:
Kim Jong Un - He does not seem to be crazy. But he is definitely cruel and calculating. I think he loves to get a rise out of people, so DT is a great target. The new reality is this: Kim Jong Un has some pretty impressive nuclear capabilities. The sooner the world reconciles itself to the fact that there is a 10th nuclear power on Earth, the better. Would you give up your nukes if you were KJU? I doubt it. They are the bombs you build so no one will use them. He's protecting his gig.
Donald Trump - He does seem to be crazy. And he is likely becoming more and more desperate for an opportunity to actually grow his base. If you ask me, he's the loose cannon on deck. But...you know...this is not news.
Americans - We have listened again and again to a discourse on this subject led by the very people who have failed to negotiate a reasonable resolution to the matter of North Korea Tries To Build Nukes. We had a chance to make peace with this business in the late 1990s before the Kims had nuclear weapon technologies (Clinton), bungled the chance again in the early 2000s (Bush), and began watching the Kim Jong Ils/Uns test their backroom science projects in 2006. Our opinions are tainted because people who fail want us to believe they didn't.
They are real people. Just like us.
They live under the dictatorship of a guy who would stuff them and put them on his mantle if he thought that would impress another world leader. In spite of/in service to him, 3-million North Koreans make their way through an urban landscape in a city the size of Los Angeles (Pyongyang).
Their days look much like our days.
Middle class jobs are being done, mostly, by women. They are marketplace jobs dependent on creating, buying, and selling North Korean goods to North Korean customers.
They have favorite sports teams.
They throw giant parties for their parents' 60th birthdays.
They take care of their aging relatives.
What would fire and fury do to these people?
I can't stop asking myself that question.
Let's unfold the map to a bigger view of the world. Please.