Before everyone gets too excited about North Korea shelling a South Korean island 75 miles offshore from Seoul, there’s virtually no likelihood that such an aggressive act will escalate into war.
That may seem a foolhardy observation, given North Korea’s repeated aggressions against the South, and it’s record of violating every treaty or agreement it has ever signed.
By the same token, North Korea does not have a friend in the world.
China and Russia are allies of convenience, but their patience is stretched thin by the antics of ailing Kim Jong-il who seems not long for this world and has appointed his son, Kim Jong-un as his successor. At the same time he has promoted his unpleasant daughter to the rank of Major-General. A dynasty in the making.
The last thing China wants is a war or a crisis on its border. Yet even China can’t harness Kim Jong-il’s rogue regime.
Last year, North Korea declared the 1953 ceasefire that ended the Korean war, was no longer valid. In other words, it felt free to attack, provoke, mischief-make at will, gambling that South Korea and the U.S. would swallow whatever indignities and outrages foisted on them.
Last March, as if in preparing for shelling the island of Yeonpeong that killed two and injured a couple of dozen, a North Korean torpedo sank a South Korean warship, the Cheoan, killing 46 sailors.
That in itself was a warlike act that demanded retaliation. But no. The world urged restraint, as it always does when North Korea needs its butt kicked.
Of course, North Korea is a dangerous country. It should be brought to heel, but is unlikely to be when the Western world is guided by the leaders now in charge. No Reagan or Thatcher on the horizon. Certainly not Obama who prefers to apologize rather than challenge.
North Korea has again reneged on nuclear agreements, and has revved up its nuclear weapons program. It yearns to be viewed as a nuclear power.
What western countries should do, is suspend all aid and commerce with North Korea, whose meager resources are funneled into the military – an army of some 1.2 million, a navy of 1,000 warships, an air force of 2,000 aircraft, plus a potential nuclear force.
All this at the expense of the people. Up to 800,000 North Koreans starve to death annually. Kim Jong-il is, arguably, the only fat chap in the north.
The U.S. and especially South Korea, send food to North Korea, which goes to the military, not the people. Proportionately, this country of 23 million has the biggest army in the world. So let’s stop feeding it. Maybe the generals will then revolt.
Despite its huge military, North Korea is vulnerable. It has no staying power – no oil or resources necessary to fight a war if China and Russia withhold support, as well they may. A big punch, but no follow through.
The last thing China wants is its erratic client state starting a war that would affect China’s economic relations with the U.S. Russia also has limited patience with the fruitcake regime.
I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with one aspect of Mr. Worthington's article. North Korea does have a friend- China. China has been backing North Korea since the Korean War. China gives North Korea aid, weapons, and sends back starving, desperate refugees. It is illogical -especially for the South Koreans- to believe that China can rein in North Korea. It won't. Indeed, it should have no part in the six party talks. North Korea is already isolated. It's time to remove the Chinese benefactor from the picture.
Stop trading with China. Do not give it the opportunity to strong-arm us or our economy. Punish businesses that trade with China or have factories there. They are only exploiting Chinese labourers and depriving their own countrymen of the chance to work. China doesn't care for reason. It cares about money. When the communist government has fewer yuan to work with, it will have fewer yuan to oppress their own people or fund its lapdog, North Korea.
Move on to Japan and South Korea. Remember the eighties? Ask yourselves- who would you rather work with- the avaricious Japanese or the avaricious and completely heartless Chinese? At least the Japanese send the North Koreans food. Encourage Japan and South Korea to nuclearise. Develop plans for dealing with the inevitable floodgate of starving, out-of-work North Koreans. The floodgates will burst sooner than one thinks. Help South Korea boost its communication with North Korea. Let the North Koreans see how chubby and prosperous the rest of the world is, particularly their cousins to the south. Much of what North Koreans learn of the outside world is from cellphones or DVDs featuring South Korean soap operas (finally pulling their weight). I don't think that method alone will be the end-all but it is a start. Hustle for the Lord. Nothing fries the savage North Korean state like a Christian missionary. There is only one God and it sure as hell isn't Kim Jong-Il.
Above all, do not cow to North Korea. Give them nothing. Deprive them of everything, particularly Chinese security. We can either deal with North Korea now or let it go on for another sixty plus years.
Protecting free expression on the left but allowing its suppression on the right would be unacceptable even if "left" were, in fact, "progressive" and "right" were, in fact, "reactionary," for the Charter guarantees free speech, not progressive speech, and any society that allows the disruption of reactionary speech is no longer free. The equation isn't even accurate, though, for nowadays the right tends to be "progressive" and the left "regressive." But never mind. This only adds insult to injury.
Why are we doing it? First, because these days the left is violent, the right isn't, and it's easier to protect free speech against peaceful protests than violent ones. Second, because the centre-left, in charge of both universities and the justice system, has a soft spot for the far-left from which free-speech deniers are launching their forays. Centrists and extremists of the left are kin under the skin. Left-centrists embrace illiberal institutions from "human rights" tribunals to affirmative discrimination, just like the far-left. While the centre-right is embarrassed by its far-right cousins and disowns them, the centre-left tries to find excuses for the black sheep of its own ideological family....
But removing bullies isn't enough. The next great act of Canadian philanthropy must be to buy out all university administrators' contracts, and replace them with the first persons encountered at the nearest bus stop. Whatever it accomplished scholastically, it would lead to a marked moral improvement of higher education in Canada.
This tiny native reserve of 300 people in rural Nova Scotia is governed by three of the highest-paid politicians in Canada, including one band councillor who made almost $1-million in tax-free income last year, according to federal government records.
Glooscap First Nation Chief Shirley Clarke reacted angrily on Tuesday to what she described as "inaccurate, negative publicity" surrounding aboriginal salaries, which came to light this week and turned the spotlight on her quiet community.
Yet, Ms. Clarke refused to explain what was inaccurate, or discuss what she and her two band councillors — her sister Lorraine Whitman and their cousin Michael Halliday — are paid.
On Monday, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released federal documents showing the salaries, honoraria and travel per diems paid to all First Nations chiefs and councillors across the country in 2008/09.
Hundreds of reserve politicians made six-figure salaries last year, including 82 who were paid more than Prime Minister Stephen Harper's income of roughly $300,000.
The highest salary — $978,468 — went to an unnamed band councillor at a small Mi'kmaq reserve in Atlantic Canada.
Although the records do not include the names of individuals or reserves, other details make it possible to identify which reserve is home to the million-dollar councillor.
The federal records say the councillor represents a band of 304 members.
The Nova Scotia government also lists Glooscap's population as 304.
The records say the same reserve received $912,563 in funding from the Indian Affairs Department last year, exactly the amount separately listed in Glooscap's audited 2009 financial statement.
No other reserve in Atlantic Canada matches the 2009 population of Glooscap and its federal funding amount from that year.
In case you haven't heard, there's a big holiday coming up. No, I don't mean U.S. Thanksgiving. I mean the day before it. Wednesday is the busiest air travel day of the year, and a horde of paranoid zealots -- techno-libertarians, Tea Partiers, rabble-rousers, Internet activists and congressional demagogues -- has decided to make it even worse. They're calling it "National Opt-Out Day." Rather than endure an electronic scan of your body at the security gate, they want you to "opt out" and force the Transportation Security Administration to physically inspect you. Their hero is John Tyner, the man who recorded himself a week ago as he warned a TSA officer not to "touch my junk."
Ignore these imbeciles. Their plan would clog security lines and ruin your holiday for no good reason. They don't understand the importance of the electronic scans. They're wrong about the scanners' safety. And from the standpoint of dignity, their advice is insane. If you opt out of the scan, you'll get a pat-down instead. You'll trade a fast, invisible, intangible, privacy-protected machine inspection for an unpleasant, extended grope. In effect, you'll be telling TSA to touch your junk.
Perhaps Mr. Saletan would like to undergo this humiliating and ultimately pointless search. No one wants to follow the Israeli model, an infinitely better example, because it requires great instincts and better training. If I were the TSA, I'd work on adopting the Israeli model. It's more sanitary.
Genetic testing of residents of a remote Chinese village has shown nearly two-thirds of their DNA is of Caucasian origin, lending support to the theory they may be descended from a "lost legion" of Roman soldiers. Tests found the DNA of some villagers in Liqian, on the fringes of the Gobi Desert in northwestern China, was 56% Caucasian in origin. Many of them have blue or green eyes, long noses and even fair hair. A local man, Cai Junnian, nicknamed Cai Luoma (Cai the Roman), is one of many villagers convinced he is descended from the lost legion. Archaeologists plan to conduct digs in the region, along the ancient Silk Road, to search for remains of forts or other structures built by the fabled army unit. The genetic tests have lent weight to the theory Roman legionaries settled in the area in the first century BCE after fleeing a battle.