Dear Leader

Dear Leader, My Escape from North Korea by Jang Jin-Sung published in 2014. The first third of the book describes life in North Korea. It reads like part of Orwell’s 1984, but life in North Korea is much, much worse. The remainder of the book alternates between recent events in North Korea and the author’s dash for freedom northward into China until he reached freedom at the South Korean embassy in Beijing.

Communist North Korea presents a false face to the world; nothing is as it seems. The real ruler of the country is the communist party, not Kim Jong-un. North Korea has been threatened by the US and Japan for most of its existence. The North Koreans devote much of their limited resources to the military to counter Western threats. If we offered North Korea guarantees of continued existence, it is possible that North Korea would be willing to give up its quest for nuclear armed missiles. On the other hand, a cornered North Korea is likely to lash out at any enemy within reach.

Military minds

I am worried about the advice that Donald Trump may receive from the many military minds around him. Many of them have spent their entire adult lives in the military and may have no idea that there are other ways to settle disputes other than with force. John McCain is an extreme example of the military mindset. He bombed North Vietnam 50 years ago and still wants to bomb any small country that does not comply with American wishes.

Playing to the Edge

Playing to the Edge, American Intelligence in the Age of Terror by Michael V. Hayden, former head of the CIA and NSA. Hayden claims that the US targets drone strikes with great care and tries to minimize collateral damage. I am willing to accept the targeting claim, but I doubt their care about collateral damage.

Please see CIA and FBI

Korea North and South

North Korea has a population of 22 million and South Korea 44 million. If the US launches a first strike on North Korea, the North will retaliate, and according to this article, 1/3 or 15 million people in South Korea will die within a few days. Millions more in North Korea will die when the US retaliates, probably with nuclear weapons.