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April 9, 2013

BEAM: Getting to know North Korea

Threats to the United States come and go. Regimes fall. Revolutions occur. Dictators die. As in the past, the enemy of our enemy is our friend. That is, until they too decide to become our enemy. Then we need to find some new friends. 

And all the while the majority of Americans are overwhelmed by the mundane aspects of our ordinary lives. We don’t have time for all of this. And when we do opt to find out what’s going on in the world at large, we are relieved to get the news from either our Facebook feed or “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

As a consequence of our inability to learn about these international conflicts, our elected officials make the decisions for us with very little public input. Drone strikes and international aid. Prolific posturing and delicate concessions. Democracy has been substituted by a few key players’ decisions, at least at an international level.

Since the Korean conflict, presidents have declared war against other nations, not our elected Congress, even if Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution says otherwise. 

Where are the checks and balances in that?

Funny I should mention the Korean War. What’s going on in that peninsula now is a direct result of American decisions after World War II. When Allied powers divided the country into a Soviet north and a U.S.-supported south, ultimately they birthed the problems we face today. 

Take their leader Kim Jong Un, the grandson of the man who came to power in 1948. Sure, we all think we know about the little despotic leader with the chubby baby face and the equally childish attention-seeking behavior. Let’s face it. Jong Un looks more like a comic book villain that runs around with Boris and Natasha after a moose and a squirrel than the man who could start World War III. 

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