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While we're discussing horsemeat in frozen foods


Forum Editor
Resolved

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others are getting on with the job of destabilising the world.

It's a demonstration of what can happen when a deluded, all-powerful youngster at the helm of a totalitarian state starts messing with stuff he doesn't understand.

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LastChip

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Some great posts pavvi and a eloquent insight into a little of what makes Asia and the far east tick.

A fascinating part of the world which (as yet) I've never visited - but hopefully one day.

Never-the-less, nuclear arms anywhere are a worry (and I include the UK) and to see a potentially unstable area moving towards that possibility, does not exactly fill me with glee!

If all politicians spent as much of their efforts in looking after their people, instead of encouraging ever more devastating weapons, we'd all be far better off and ultimately - safer.

Sadly, that's unlikely to happen in my lifetime as politicians never learn. This feels remarkably similar to the Cuban crisis of several decades ago. Though in that case, the weapons were actually deployed and ready to go.

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Forum Editor

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When talking about North Korea you need to understand that it is totally different in terms of ethos to the South.

There is no right to freedom in North Korea, no freedom of the Press, no religious freedom, and no right to justice - people can, and are, arrested, imprisoned and executed with no right to a trial, or any form of normal judicial process.

If you are sentenced to be executed it will more than likely take place publicly, and it happens many times a year. Some estimates of the number of citizens killed without any trial run into millions.

Kim Jong-Un, the country's dictator, rules with a rod of iron - criticism of him will almost certainly lead to death, and all children are indoctrinated at school to love him and praise him. Almost all aspects of daily life are controlled by the government. People are born into a caste system known as 'songbun' that dictates their status in society, and their ability to access food, healthcare, education and job opportunities.

The UN has estimated that 1 in every five North Korean children suffers from malnutrition, yet Kim Jong-Un happily invests the larger part of the country's income in developing nuclear weapons for what is the world's fourth largest standing army. We're talking about a country that is the size of Utah.

Make no mistake about it, the North Korean dictatorship is one of the most oppressive and evil regimes the world has ever seen, and it cannot be discussed in rational terms - there's simply no point in trying to attribute Kim Jong-Un's appalling behaviour to cultural or regional differences - he's an out and out tyrant, and the sooner someone shoots him the better.

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Forum Editor

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LastChip

"If all politicians spent as much of their efforts in looking after their people, instead of encouraging ever more devastating weapons, we'd all be far better off and ultimately - safer."

Unfortunately that's an idealistic dream. Politicians generally get a bad press, and although some of it is deserved it's wrong to blame them all for 'encouraging ever more devastating weapons. if only it was that simple.

One of the prime concerns of any government is to ensure and maintain the security of a nation, and protect its citizens from aggressors. The way this is done is by peaceful nations is by walking softly and carrying a big stick - a powerful military capability can act as a deterrent, warning would-be aggressors that they will meet with a robust response.

Take away the weapons and you're vulnerable - at the mercy of any megalomaniac despot who fancies a spot of invasion, or simply wants to get his hands on those profitable businesses you run in his country.

Believe me,your dream of an unarmed planet is a wonderful one, but totally unrealistic, given the nature of human beings. There has never been such a time, and there never will be.

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LastChip

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FE - I never claimed it was realistic!

But I do dream for peace.

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pavvi

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FE

You are of course correct about North Korea about the lack of freedom of speech and thought. I still maintain that the asian culture is an extra obstacle to a positive dialogue with the north.

The real problem is as Last chip states the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The nuclear genie is out of the bottle and there is no way of getting it back in. The trouble is that certain nations have nuclear weapons and others don't. The ones that do are seen as more powerful than the ones that don't and the less pragmatic of these and North Korea is the least pragmatic of Iran and NK will use the "face" issue as a justification to itself as a reason to pursue the nuclear nightmare.

In the middle east, the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons means that Iran wants them. This means that Israel having them makes it a destabilising influence in the area. As close to the US as Israel is, there is no absolute guarantee that Israel wouldn't act unilaterally. That means that Iran sees an imbalance towards Israel.

I'm no diplomat, but if I were a betting man, if Israel had no nuclear weapons, Iran wouldn't want them. I am in no way saying that NK and Iran should have the bomb, but I'm not sure that the posturing is helping very much. The question is of course what else do you do?

North Korea is of course pretty destitute and the South has been sending financial aid for many years because of famines and there is widespread TB in the North which charities I have supported try to help tackle. This aid becomes a bargaining tool. That is the way forward - the aid, but then NK admitting it needs aid means that it has to show weakness. Sanctions may help, but I suspect that will affect the people rather than the leadership.

It is so secretive in the North, it is difficult to say who really holds the power. Kim Jong-Un probably does rule with a rod of Iron, but this could be subtefuge from a military leadership that uses him as a figurehead.

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spuds

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pavvi

I use to have three passports. Swapping and changing soon became a fine art, as did knowing your way around, or knowing the 'right people' ;o)

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spuds

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FE

Reading your 1.19pm post, would possibly refer to China as well?.

Many countries still practise an eye for an eye, but the world politicians do no go around shouting tyrant. Even Stalin was a friend to Great Britain and the USA!.

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Forum Editor

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spuds

China is a country I know a bit more about. and although its human rights record is pretty bad, I wouldn't (now) put it at the same level as in North Korea.

Chinese people have a great deal more in the way of freedoms than people in North Korea, to whom China would seem pretty liberal.

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amonra

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I would like to thank pavvi for explaining how "face" permeates everything in the orient. I experienced it some years ago when I had oriental colleagues and found it difficult to understand, but now I see things more clearly. The big question is WHO really controls NK, or is it who are the faceless generals who are really in control, and can we trust them to keep on the straight and narrow path towards unity of north and south Korea. Good luck to all the diplomats involved.

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woodchip

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nuclear weapons and big stick is false thinking, they call it M.A.D.

That's how America Have got themselves in trouble with most all Having Guns, and Build Shelters for that day!

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