Monday, 1 April 2013

North Korea Sabre Rattling: Flash from the Past...and the Future?

Over the Easter weekend my head has been elsewhere, so it is only this morning that I caught up on the back-and-forth going on in the two Koreas.  Will the apparently completely off the wall North Korean leader really send missiles and nuclear bombs soaring toward South Korea?  Why the hell did hte US and the South Koreans go ahead with their planned manoeuvres?  This can't be an April Fool, can it?

No, unfortunately: it seems that everybody is playing Chicken, and nobody plans on blinking.  I am reminded of the first International Crisis I followed. That was in the  summer of 1950, when the North pushed South, the UN intervened and the the US began sending troops.  We were living in a small town in Washington State then, and the local radio station did what has come to be called a "streeter"--clips of ordinary folk giving their opinion.  Should we go in?  Sure, said those interviewed.  Got to show those folks who's boss.

That scared me, stirring up memories of uncertainty born during WWII when I was only old enough to know that very bad things happen in war.  Since then I've spent far more time than I like to have done marching in anti-war, pro-peace events.  Indeed, one of the things I'm most proud of is having been among the 200,000 who marched in Montreal on February 15, 2003 against involvement in the Second Iraq War.  Those protests turned the tide, and Canada, while involved in Afghanistan, stayed out of Iraq.

So are we headed in that direction again?  I doubt it.  But remember that North Korea is not the only "Third World" nation that has nuclear weapons.  So do India and Pakistan, and quite likely Israel  As we used to say: The Only Shelter is Peace.

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