South Korea can feel like a scary area if you let your imagination get the better of you, or let the recent build-up of unsettling geopolitical facts attack your sense of proportion or peace of mind.
Fear is an adrenaline rush for some and a paralyzing agent for others. Having lived in the U. S. for several years during the post-911 funk, I know how people’s fears of an attack from without can be used to swiftly deprive them of their rights and hard-earned fortunes.
Korean people generally seem less susceptible to this kind of manipulation than many of us Americans are–or at any rate were, and inevitably will be again the next time we get whacked. Considering how much we let our military run roughshod over so many other countries and violate international law by committing war crimes as if we were Greek gods and goddesses gone power-mad and run amok, drunk on our own mechanical machismo (a romantic tryst between Iron Man and the Iron Lady, and their morally disabled love child, Orwellian Irony), it’s probably only a matter of time before we do.
Who knows? Maybe that’s even what our leaders want, so they can break out the big guns and show the world who’s boss. At the rate at which we’re devouring the environment and disrupting the atmosphere and torturing the climate, by the time some terrorist sets off a dirty bomb before Jack Bauer can stop him or takes a nuclear dump in the World Trade Center’s grave, we might be too numb to notice.
Despite the gradual ratcheting up of violent cross-border events and eyebrow-raising behavior exhibited by North Korea’s military in recent years, most South Koreans appear to take the situation in stride. That’s because the cold war between the two countries has been going on for just under sixty years. To them, North Korea is the boy who cried wolf, or else, “Give me more food or I’ll kill you!”
It’s hard to say whether Kim and Co.’s plans to launch a rocket, ostensibly to release a satellite into orbit, and conduct a third underground nuclear test shortly thereafter, are the prelude to a more visceral display of international fisticuffs, or just a way of boosting the cherubic young psychopath’s street cred as a tough-assed little thug (I really have no right to label him as such, having never met the man; I’m just going on what I’ve read, assuming it’s true; my guess is he’s probably not the kind of guy who sniffs daffodils and reads Rod McKuen poems to children in a gazebo, although I could be wrong about that; a lot of dictators prove to be eccentrics; just look at Sasha Baron Cohen).
I suspect the latter is the case. I more or less have to, as I can’t afford to budge right now and don’t have the energy to panic or lapse into hysterics. I’ll let you know if the city gets incinerated, assuming I don’t end up looking like a dish from Hannibal Lecter and Friends’ recent Easter banquet.
Of course, it’s always possible that Kim Jong-un will do an even dumber, crazier thing by choosing to nuke Los Angeles or San Francisco, in which case the next time I’ll see my brother might be in heaven, unless we’re both going south to avoid the hymn-singing, hand-holding, Lord-praising, group-thinking, in-bred, credulous Christian nitwits.
I’m just glad the weather’s finally warmed up. Two weeks ago it was freezing. Tomorrow we could burst into flames.