9 September 2017   Leave a comment

Evan Osnos has written an exceptionally detailed and informed article on North Korea’s perceptions of the current crisis for the New Yorker.  Osnos spent a great deal of time talking with officials in North Korea and does a good job of being faithful to an honest presentation of their views.  The article also has significant background information to the crisis.  It is a long read, but well worth the time and effort.  The conclusion of the essay is sobering:

“Our grasp of North Korea’s beliefs and expectations is not much better than its grasp of ours. To go between Washington and Pyongyang at this nuclear moment is to be struck, most of all, by how little the two understand each other. In eighteen years of reporting, I’ve never felt as much uncertainty at the end of a project, a feeling that nobody—not the diplomats, the strategists, or the scholars who have devoted their lives to the subject—is able to describe with confidence how the other side thinks. We simply don’t know how Kim Jong Un really regards the use of his country’s nuclear arsenal, or how much North Korea’s seclusion and mythology has distorted its understanding of American resolve. We don’t know whether Kim Jong Un is taking ever-greater risks because he is determined to fulfill his family’s dream of retaking South Korea, or because he is afraid of ending up like Qaddafi.”

The dance of two uninformed nuclear powers is particularly unnerving.

Mexico was hit by a 8.1 magnitude earthquake yesterday off its southern coast.  The earthquake was very deep (70 kms) which lessened the impact somewhat.  Nonetheless, at least 61 people died and more than 200 were injured.  The earthquake was the strongest recorded since 2015.  Its strength matched that of the quake that hit Mexico City in 1985 in which thousands of people died, but yesterday’s quake struck a much less populated area.

Map locator

Posted September 9, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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