A North Korean Flower Show with—What Else?—A Model of a Missile

A North Korean Flower Show with—What Else?—Models of Armed Missiles

The world is wondering where North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric will lead them. On one hand, some political analysts say that there will be a missile launch, but without a nuclear warhead, aimed in the general direction of South Korea and/or Japan. (John Kerry will be in the area on Sunday, and Monday is the birthday of Kim Il Sung, grandfather of present DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.) In this interpretation, the whole thing is merely a form of theater to exact concessions from South Korea and the United States.

My own feeling is that North Korea may attack some isolated island or other outlying piece of the peninsula not presently under their control, but claimed by them. In this case, there would be South Korean casualties aplenty; and the South will be attempted to launch a massive counterattack. In this event, the U.S. would probably get involved because of ongoing treaty obligations, though there would be a tug-of-war between Hawks and Doves as to the best response.

If Kim Jong Un is doing all this because he is comfortable wearing the vampire mantle of authority traditionally exercised by the Terrible Kims, he may be in some danger from forces inside his country, especially in the military. The North Korean army has not done any appreciable fighting in the last sixty years, and they have been a privileged and cosseted force within their country. Famines do not touch the DPRK armed forces: They get whatever they want. It kind of reminds me of the Praetorian Guard in the days of the Roman emperors.

Incidentally, the blossoms in the flower show illustrated above have been named Kimilsungia, after the eldest of the Kims.