World View: N. Korea Threatens Death to America for U.N. Security Council Vote

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • N. Korea threatens death to America for U.N. Security Council vote
  • Venezuela's Hugo Chávez's body will be kept on permanent display

N. Korea threatens death to America for U.N. Security Council vote

N. Korean rally in Pyongyang in front of billboard that depicts a large bayonet pointing at U.S. soldiers and reads, 'If you dare invade, only death will be waiting for you!' (AP)
N. Korean rally in Pyongyang in front of billboard that depicts a large bayonet pointing at U.S. soldiers and reads, 'If you dare invade, only death will be waiting for you!' (AP)

The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday imposing new restrictions on North Korea in the areas of travel, banking and trade. The sanctions were imposed as punishment for N. Korea's recent tests of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons, in violation of United Nations resolutions. Even China supported the new resolution, having frequently expressed its strong disapproval of the tests.

In the last few days, N. Korea's public rhetoric has been getting increasingly shrill. First, they've said that they're canceling the 1945 armistice agreement that ended the fighting in the Korean War, even though we've technically still been at war ever since. It threatened "precision nuclear strikes" that will create a "sea of fire." And on Thursday it threatened to "exercise the right to a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors and to defend the supreme interests of the country."

Would North Korea actually go ahead and launch a nuclear attack on either South Korea or the U.S. (assuming that it's really capable of doing so)? Many analysts point out that any such attack would be met with massive counterstrikes by both countries. In fact, the South Korea government announced on Thursday that in case of any provocation, they would target the highest ranks of the North Korean regime:

"When we refer to command, it usually signifies divisional or corps commanders. But if Seoul comes under attack, the top levels of North Korea's regime including [leader] Kim Jong-un could become targets."

However, we have some recent history that suggests a different scenario. In 2010, North Korean launched two separate attacks on South Korea, one a missile attack that sank a South Korean warship in international waters, and another that killed civilians on an offshore island. In both cases, N. Korea simply denied that they were responsible, and China backed them, even though no one doubted what they had done. The N. Korean denial gave cover to the South Koreans to back down and not retaliate in any way. So the N. Koreans simply got away with these deadly attacks on S. Korea.

So one could imagine that the N. Koreans learned a simple lesson from all this: If you're going to launch some kind of nuclear attack on S. Korea or the U.S., then do it in such a way as to preserve deniability, and you'll get away with it. And the way to do it and preserve deniability is to smuggle some kind of nuclear device into the target area and set it off remotely. There will be weeks or months of forensic investigations to prove that the N. Koreans did it, but in the end, the proof will never be 100% certain, and the Chinese will back them. LA Times and Chosun Ilbo (Seoul)

Venezuela's Hugo Chávez's body will be kept on permanent display

Following the death of Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez, acting president Nicolas Maduro said:

"I want to tell the nation and the world ... it has been decided to prepare the body of the comandante president, embalm it, so it can be eternally open for the people to have it there always.

So, like Ho Chi Minh, like Lenin, like Mao Zedong, the body of our commander-in-chief will remain embalmed ... for our people to be able to have him forever."

The glass tomb will rest forever inside a future Museum of the Bolivarian Revolution.

One of the most amazing things about this situation is that the mainstream press is totally oblivious to what's going on here. I've heard one commentator after another express amazement at how wildly and enthusiastically beloved Chávez was, even after over a decade in office. I heard words like "unbelievable" and "it's a conundrum."

That's why when I wrote the article reporting Chávez's death, I emphasized that he was a mestizo (mixed blood), and that he was a hero to the other mestizos, comprising about 70% of Venezuelan population. Racial feelings run very deep in Latin America, and that 70% majority had been oppressed for decades by the "pure" European descendant élite minority, who had control of the government and businesses until Chávez was able to defeat them -- just as Simón Bolívar had defeated them two centuries ago. That's why Chávez was so wildly popular, even after over a decade in office: Because as badly as he messed things up in Venezuela, he was still considered hugely beloved since he had defeated the European oppressors.

As I understand it, Chávez has left a major bombshell behind for his successor. He won reelection for president last year, and he did so by borrowing huge sums of money, putting Venezuela very deeply in debt, and used the money to buy votes. The constitution calls for a new election within 30 days, and Chávez's anointed successor, Nicolas Maduro, is expected to win. He'll have to deal with the debt bombshell, and he doesn't have even a fraction of the charisma of Chávez. Latin American Herald Tribune


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