North Korea struggles to make news

Moriah Schervone ('11)/ Eastside Global Commentary Editor

With the numerous, surprising deaths of many prominent celebrities occurring this past week, the threats stemming from North Korea have been overshadowed in the American news programs.

North Korea is a country plagued with a dictator, Kim Jong Il, who seems determined to threaten America in anyway he

Image courtesy of www.daylife.com
Image courtesy of www.daylife.com

can. For instance, take their missile and nuclear tests that, at first, caused great uproar in the world. But with United States officials downplaying the threat, saying North Korea would not and could not attack, the attention of the public has shifted elsewhere. It is very probable that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will take advantage of any opportunity they have to insanely challenge the world. What’s more, they have been met with little opposition and weak responses.

Even before the start of the Obama administration, North Korea has dished out threats to countries around the world like candy. Although the threats taste sweet to North Korea’s ruling Junta, for the rest of the world there is a bad aftertaste. These threats came in close proximity to each other. First in July of 2006, North Korea launched missiles that bracketed Japan, an act of war. Then they tested nuclear bombs in October of 2006 in violation of numerous United Nations Security Council Resolutions and claimed they would build more.

Since Obama was inaugurated, North Korea embarked on even more paranoid behavior: capturing two American women reporters, Laura Ling and Euna Lee on March 17, 2009. They were accused of illegal entry into North Korea and committing a “grave crime” against the country. Both women were sentenced to a ridiculous twelve years of hard labor. North Korea again boasted its ego after South Korea went on high alert and agreed to sign the Proliferation Security Initiative with the United States to intercept North Korean ships suspected of carrying illicit weapons. In response, the Kim Jong Il dictatorship claimed they are no longer in an armistice with their kin in South Korea.

The threats continued. North Korea launched longer ranged missiles into the Pacific Ocean on April 5, 2009. And on May 25, 2009 North Korea conducted another underground nuclear bomb test. After the United Nations passed a resolution saying North Korea cannot launch more missiles without consequences, the DPRK sent a ship to Burma with weapons on board in violation of United Nation Security Council resolutions. North Korea then claimed that any attempt to board the ship is an act of war and would determine the “nuclear death of America.” Even up until July 2, the threats persist. North Korea launched a volley of short ranged missiles on July 3 and 4, which landed up to sixty miles off its coast. A day later, most major media websites have Michael Jackson as the lead story. North Korea also threatened to wipe the United States off the map and launch a missile toward Hawaii on July 4, Independence Day. For some reason, bad actors are cartographically challenged.

The Obama Administration is facing in a dilemma with North Korea similar to Iraq before Saddam Hussein was ousted. The only difference is that the weapons in North Korea have been tested and, regrettably, the official policy of the United States towards North Korea is not a regime change. Probably due to the unpopularity of the Iraq war, the United States government seems stalemated. Instead of confronting these gathering threats, the Administration has apparently decided to minimize the seriousness of the issue at hand. Although some of these threats seem improbable, people around the world should consider that even if North Korea does not have the capacity to completely destroy an entire country, with the missiles they prove to possess, they could do significant damage. Whether they have the capacity or not, their intentions seem crystal clear.

As unfortunate and surprising the recent celebrity deaths have been, more attention should be given to the growing threats from North Korea. In any case, if North Korea attacks — in the words of Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — paparazzi-type coverage may be wiped off the map.