Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Guess The Country?


Probably not the hardest of competitions you will ever see so I'll tell you the answer right off the bat: Korea. North Korea is the dark bit, South Korea is the one with all the pretty sparking electric lights. The light dot sitting towards the bottom left of North Korea looks to be the capital, Pyongyang. Doubtless, this was just the governing party burning the midnight oil on behalf of its citizens, trying to figure out how to fix the obvious mess they are in. Or maybe not.
Alas, I don't have an attribution for the photograph other than to say it was referenced by Christopher Hitchens, writing for Slate, in an interesting article about what North Korea is really up to behind all those myriad of closed doors.

The point Hitchens is making - and I have no way to objectively judge whether or not he's right, of course, but the arguments are persuasive - is that North Korea isn't anymore even pretending to be a communist state forged for the benefit of the people. It's now a fully-fledged racist, totalitarian dictatorship that uses its own people as slave labour, and in a never ending quest for military advancement in order to reunify the country and as a by product reshaping the South in its own image. (Hmm, having said that it actually does sound quite like the reality of communism, especially as practised by the likes of Stalin.)

However, I'm not sure that we should immediately fear North Korea, if only because the Dear Leader is on his last legs and I am sure wants his son to take over something other than the pile of glowing cinders that would result from them trying something stupid with a missile attack. However, it all bears watching very closely and I for one will pay a lot more attention to the next announcement of a North Korean military "exercise".

Global terrorism of course remains a potent world threat, but just because North Korea is lumped in with the old war/Cold war countries doesn't mean that they aren't still a threat worth watching very, very closely indeed. After all, something must be going on under cover of all that darkness ....