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I have been so busy with children and the holidays and my own life that I haven't watched news or heard news. I don't get it on xm radio, either. Not that I ever really DO watch or hear "news", but I am now wondering what little bits I am hearing about North and South Korea... and around the world... something like "world-wide unrest" (lol). Anyway...

 

Without getting into sides or politics, can someone just give me a playdown of what is going on? I have absolutely no idea...

 

Thanks...

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Maybe I'm misunderstanding the request, but if you just read an internet news page, it will all be right there: ccn.com, foxnews.com, msnbc.com, drudgereport.com, etc. The main two things are the North Korean attack on South Korea (right now, it looks like posturing, but some people were killed) and the Wikileaks mess.

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I have been so busy with children and the holidays and my own life that I haven't watched news or heard news. I don't get it on xm radio, either. Not that I ever really DO watch or hear "news", but I am now wondering what little bits I am hearing about North and South Korea... and around the world... something like "world-wide unrest" (lol). Anyway...

 

Without getting into sides or politics, can someone just give me a playdown of what is going on? I have absolutely no idea...

 

Thanks...

 

North Korea is essentially a failed regime. A large portion of their population is malnourished and there are a large number of people with mental deficiencies as a result. It's being estimated that 25% of their military conscripts cannot serve due to mental retardation. Their medical care is reverting to traditional herbs because they don't have much access to modern medicine. You can find tons of news stories on this.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/world/asia/16north.html

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/05/AR2009030503613.html

 

However, they have nuclear weapons. So, they are a big man on the block. eta: They are basically using the threat of military action (the missiles were only a warning in this case, even though people were killed) to try and extort food from the UN and South Korea.

 

It is a *serious* problem for the world and I don't know how it will shake out.

 

eta: I would not describe it as posturing. Desperate people will do desperate things. I would not be AT ALL surprised if they went forward with a nuclear missile attack on South Korea if their demands are not met.

Edited by Mrs Mungo
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The current leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il is widely believed to be dying. He came to power by succeeding his father, Kim Il Sung (who was the founder of the modern Communist North Korea in the aftermath of WWII).

 

To say that this is a strange state is a wild understatement. The lives of the leaders are re-cast into an ornate mythology to give them credibility with the people. Whole histories are invented and re-invented.

 

Now Kim is trying to place his son in a position to replace himself as the third member of a dynastic succession. It is widely believed that the current provocations are intended as an opportunity for the son, Kim Jong-un (who has had little in the way of public accomplishments) to burnish his image as a partner with his father in resisting Western aggression against North Korea.

 

No doubt there will soon be paintings of Kim Jong-un on a white horse showing how he saved the People's paradise from being over-run by the slaves of capitalism.

 

They are creating national mythology, and creating provocations to raise the stature of an unproven lad.

 

Bill

Edited by Spy Car
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Continuing.

 

The North Koreans have also got everyone in a pinch because not only do they have a small nuclear stock-pile (which gets all the attention, because it is scary) but more importantly in terms of deterring attack the North Koreans have build a very vast arsenal of artillery pieces which are built into hardened bunkers.

 

These installations are capable of hitting the South Korean capitol of Seoul. To take out this vast array of artillery installations could take allied (assuming US involvement here) weeks. In that time military defense experts have concluded Seoul would be uttery destroyed were North Korea launch a full fledged attack, and that perhaps as many as a million people could be killed in South Korea as a result.

 

So no one dares really move against them. They know they have us and the South Koreans in a position where we can't really act. And the nukes just extend the immunity.

 

Bill

Edited by Spy Car
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North Korea is essentially a failed regime. A large portion of their population is malnourished and there are a large number of people with mental deficiencies as a result. It's being estimated that 25% of their military conscripts cannot serve due to mental retardation. Their medical care is reverting to traditional herbs because they don't have much access to modern medicine. You can find tons of news stories on this.

 

 

About the mental retardation -- Why would this be? Poor nutrition?

 

I watched a documentary on North Korea not all that long ago and I found it fascinating that their leader, Kim Jong Il, is actually seen as a god to the people. The other thing that really struck me was the hatred the family that was followed in the program, including the children, had for Americans.

 

Lisa

 

ETA: One more thing that really struck me in the documentary I watched was that the family being interviewed seemed genuinely happy and satisfied. I felt it was legitimate because they were living their lives for a higher power -- Kim Jong Il. That was very surprising to me.

Edited by LisaTheresa
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I've not heard the particular percentage, but it wouldn't surprise me. Iodine deficiency is related to mental retardation, which is why salt is iodized (to make sure people get enough in their diet) and why non-iodized is more expensive (my understanding is that the iodized version is subsidized). It wouldn't surprise me if the extreme malnutrition had effects on mental development.

 

This satellite image is one that I like to show people to demonstrate the difference between the two Koreas.

 

N. Korean homes have a speaker that broadcasts patriotic music and announcements mounted on the wall. Each home also has a picture of the Dear Leader, which is I believe an inspectable item.

 

This article talks about some of the restrictions on life, like regulated hairstyles and pants for women being forbidden.

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So no one dares really move against them. They know they have us and the South Koreans in a position where we can't really act. And the nukes just extend the immunity.

 

 

Very good points, all of them.

About the mental retardation -- Why would this be? Poor nutrition?

 

Yes, it's due to extreme malnutrition.

 

I watched a documentary on North Korea not all that long ago and I found it fascinating that their leader, Kim Jong Il, is actually seen as a god to the people. The other thing that really struck me was the hatred the family that was followed in the program, including the children, had for Americans.

 

People in many countries are subject to a great deal of censorship. They only know what they are told they should know. Therefore, it's unsurprising that they would feel that way.

 

ETA: One more thing that really struck me in the documentary I watched was that the family being interviewed seemed genuinely happy and satisfied. I felt it was legitimate because they were living their lives for a higher power -- Kim Jong Il. That was very surprising to me.

 

It's probably worth pointing out that there would be a big "or else" to depicting anything else.

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They are creating national mythology, and creating provocations to raise the stature of an unproven lad.

 

Bill

 

Yes, according to news reports KJI's sons are more into American basketball and Disney than they are into running a country. It would be funny if it weren't so scary.

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The current leader is said to like James Bond movies and expensive brandy.

 

Yes, North Korea is a total hellhole. At one point, people were left with eating grass (which we humans are not able to digest in a way to get actual nutrition).

 

Not only did the shell this island but they used some very nasty weapons- thermobaric bombs. In Springtime, they torpedoed a South Korean Navy ship in either it's own waters or international waters, not NK waters. That act alone was enough for a war since under international law, attacking a vessel in international waters without provocation is an act of war.

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It's probably worth pointing out that there would be a big "or else" to depicting anything else.

 

Yes, I realize that, but the way they worshiped their leader as a God led me to believe it was possible that they might really be happy. It seemed as though they were satisfied to devote their lives to him. Of course, it's because they've been completely brainwashed, so I'm not saying it's a good thing. Just a different attitutide than what I, personally, would have expected.

 

I'm sure I'm not explaining it well, but for anyone who is interested, here is the documentary I watched on Netflix, A State of Mind. It openly shows some of the things one of the PP mentioned, such as the radio blaring government propaganda they have permanently affixed to their kitchen wall and the poor living conditions. http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/A-State-of-Mind/70038815?trkid=438403#height1789 It is from a child's point-of-view, but I found it very interesting.

 

Lisa

Edited by LisaTheresa
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