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When people tell me their problems, I immediately feel like I need to solve them. I wonder if that impulse is an American cultural thing. Obviously every individual is different, but it seems as if we Americans like to get involved in other people's business.

I think about that impulse when I noodle about the North Korean situation. Realistically, is there anything the United States can do to influence North Korea that China isn't already doing in its own self interest? North Korea is dependent on China for its survival, and China's economy is dependent on avoiding nuclear wars anywhere in the world. China is smart and competent. Isn't the North Korean nuclear threat China's problem to solve?

We all agree that if North Korea sells nukes to rogue regimes, it's bad for the United States. But can we really do anything about it that China isn't already doing in pursuit of its own self interest? I doubt it.

China will use economics to move from their already strong influence over North Korea to something that will be closer to total control. And my guess is that the generals in North Korea are already the real power, with the Dear Leader as their bumbling figurehead. I doubt the country's real leadership is as crazy as it seems.

The current issue of Newsweek claims North Korea's economy is actually stable and growing, with plenty of natural materials to exploit. With China's help, North Korea's economy could be booming in a few years, mostly because of mining. For the ruling elite, that would make the selling of nuclear secrets less profitable than good ol' Russia-style domestic corruption, and far riskier.

My entire knowledge of international affairs is based on several one-day visits to Canada and four days napping on a beach in Cancun. My views on North Korea, and most other topics, can be safely ignored. I'm just curious whether our cultural bias is causing us to rationalize meddling in North Korea.
 
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Jul 7, 2009
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-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 7, 2009
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Jun 16, 2009

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Jun 5, 2009
I'm a Canadian, and, as my wife would readily agree, I try to solve problems for others all the time.

So, no, it's not just Americans.

It's more a male thing. Guys fix I fix stuff around my house all the time. Why I don't even know why. A lot of it is functional, there is really no need to fix it, other than for asthetics. I could be fragging some aliens, or hiking in the woods. Instead I fix things on my house, that, when I consider I will likely only be there for a few more years, and the person buying it will probably demolish the house to put in a bigger house, it really seems like a waste of time if I think about it to much.

But countries. Since countries are formed of ~50% dudes, we tend to want to fix half of everything. The other half, well, they talk to the half that wants to fix everything, and either cause it not to fix or fix more. Generally, this will cause an increase in fixedness, causing things to be fixed. Because even if the female half is saying they don't want something fixed, they just want to talk about it, really, it's masterful sorcery to sneakily make us males fix.

I don't think "fixing" North Korea is a good term. It's more of fear alleviation. Probably when you were lying on that beach, you got a little to comfortable, and the thought "What about those North Koreans!!!" popped in your head, ruining your rest. You have nothing to fear, but fear itself.
 
 
Jun 4, 2009
"When people tell me their problems, I immediately feel like I need to solve them. I wonder if that impulse is an American cultural thing."

It's a male impulse. Look it up.

And don't respond that way to females or they get very angry, they demand listening and sympathy but want nothing more.
 
 
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Jun 4, 2009
Real NK leaders are indeed not crazy. They desperately want an aid package and no sanctions. Their people are starving. (Did you know that through decades of malnourishment, N. Koreans are now substantially shorter than their southern cousins?) UN Security Council is composed of nations with nukes. India and Pakistan gained new prestige when they developed capability. N. Korea wants to be a player on the world stage. They want food and trade and they are pursuing it in the only way that allows them to maintain their pride. They don't want China to take careof them. They want Western recognition.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 4, 2009
Every time you meddle in other peoples' affairs you breed a new batch of potential terrorists. For some reason people tend not to like others telling them how to live their lives. 9-11 would never have happened if you hadn't been such a meddlesome nation.
 
 
Jun 4, 2009
I have to say that it's never moral to kill anybody for any reason, self-defense included. Turn the other cheek, and all that. Killing someone can, however, be practical.

How practical it is would have to be based on how likely it is I'll be sent to prison or executed for killing the other guy.

If there's a 5% chance he's going to kill me, and a 95% chance I'll be sent to prison, well, that's not practical at all. If there's a 99% chance I get offed, and only a 5% chance I go to prison, that's another story entirely.

I'd kill a great many more people if I didn't think I'd get sentenced to life in prison.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 4, 2009
Bollocks!
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 4, 2009
What's up with all of Scott's "I love China, China is the greatest..." posts lately?

Maybe they are cutting him a deal on all the Dilbert products they make in exchange for the good publicity.
 
 
Jun 4, 2009
I think you are right. It's really a hysteria issue. The only targets NK could hit is SK, and if they did that, it would be suicide. On the other hand, nobody is going to go into those mountains to winkle out NK defenders. So nothing is going to happen. Endless media bull gravy to the contrary.

These mountainous places are almost always isolationist, and reactionary and very easy to defend, like Afghanistan, the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, Georgia, Appalachia and so on. The Swiss are a good example, although they are more open and progressive than most. It comes with the vertical territory.

Best leave them alone. if they want something, they will let us know.
 
 
Jun 4, 2009
Juvegirl:

Like you said it's difficult to sum up the fall of the Roman Empire in a blog post, but a simpler response to Headhunt would be that the Roman Empire never stopped trying to expand, in fact the problem was that they outgrew their support system, and had to start supplementing non-Roman personnel for positions that had previously been held only by Romans. Eventually there were more non-Romans filling essential tasks of the empire than Romans, and the cultural and class differences started interfering and the system started crumbling. There are lots of different areas and ways this happened and you mentioned some, but basically the fall of the Roman Empire was an immigration problem.

I do take issue with your comparison to the situation in Iraq. From a conventional military standpoint, the US forces had complete control over Iraq in a couple of days. They now face resistance/guerilla fighters, and this is an entirely different issue. If US Forces were using the same tactics that the Romans employed, Iraq would no longer be an issue. Romans killed all men of fighting age, enslaved the rest, and if they didn't want to occupy the area, they salted the fields so nothing would grow and poisioned the wells. The US army is no longer fighting the Iraq army, that only lasted a couple of days.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 4, 2009
Is it really in China's best interests? Actually, it would be better stated this way: Is it really what China perceives is in its best interest? China's perception of the situation may be entirely different than the reasonably coherent motives we attribute to them. They may be looking for a war to break out in east Asia so they can take everything over, including Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and anything else they can get. those three I mentioned alone are huge economies that China surely covets. Their best interest, through their eyes, might be to have a third party start a war in which they can somehow become involved.

Of course, the opinion of several experts is that this is all just political posturing as they set up their new ruler to take power by 2012 (which is the 100 year anniversary of the birth of the first Leader named Kim). But before they can do that, he needs to be godlike in the eyes of the people. All the actions for the next few years are toward that end. Everything they do will be attributed to being his achievement so that the people can get used to him running everything.
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 4, 2009
We should take out their nuclear program now. There is a chance China cannot control them, and even if they can, we need to contain nuclear weapons. Our missile defense shield (is it done yet?) should stop NK from killing us before we remove their warheads.

Also, Scott, you shouldn't censor words that you use yourself.
 
 
Jun 4, 2009
I just noted bollocks was not censored - the swear dictionary must be US only. Never understood why you don't have bollocks in the US - the third best swear word ever, and perhaps the most satisfying to pronounce.
 
 
Jun 4, 2009
I always understood the urge to take any statement as a solution starting point was a masculine trait, to be avoided at all costs when dealing with women - you need to know when projecting empathy is the correct response, or they become frustrated and kick you in the bollocks.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 4, 2009
Have you been to the north Korean tourism website? Go there and then come back and tell me they aren't flat crazy. Fly north korean airways...better by far than elbownian.
 
 
Jun 3, 2009
I'm not worried about North Korea so much as how China is going to react. Sure they will invade North Korea and claim it for their own, but will they stop there or will they continue on to South Korea?

Don't flame me, I just am curious
 
 
Jun 3, 2009
Yeah, just like the Holocaust was Britain's, France's, USSR's problem.
 
 
Jun 3, 2009
Scott,

I read a book a number of years ago that talked about human behaviour. In it it referred specifically to how humans interact and the natural tendency's when faced with a problem:

Women Empathise
Men Solve

Normally, it stated, when two men share a problem it is because they are looking for a solution. Women however are looking for empathy and most of the time are not looking for a solution. This is why so many problems and arguments are caused when women tell men about their problems, the men respond with a solution, then they get in trouble because they don't understand. Basical analogy - putting a video tape in a blender then yelling at it for destroying the tape as opposed to playing the movie on a screen.

I'm not saying it's the woman's fault for expecting the man for not behaving like a woman. It's not the mans fault for not behaving like a woman. It's just how we are programmed and the ability to behave like the other can be learned (unless your my mother, who STILL doesn't get it!)

So basically your desire to solve Korea's problem is to do with programming - and as one of the Gorgonites say in Small Soldiers "You can't fight programming".
 
 
 
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