Help me out with this. Through a Presidential and (in four weeks) two mid-term elections in the US; through elections in France, Canada, Germany and Iraq; through the semi-retirement of the British Prime Minister; through the run-up to the election of the new Surgeon-General (or whatever he's called) of the United Nations we have heard one refrain:
Enough, already, of the United States trying to impose its will on the whole rest of the world.
For the purposes of this discussion, let us stipulate that the "will" which the US is attempting to impose on the planet finds its origins in these 110 words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
That's a pretty good summary of what has become known as the "Bush Doctrine" and which is at the center of what Nancy Pelosi, Al Sharpton and the others who are salivating in the expectation of power have been so opposed to.
So here's the part I don't get: If the rest of the world wants George W. to butt out, why is that same rest of the world now demanding that George W. to butt IN on this North Korean business?
I just looked at a map and I found that there are plenty of countries which are closer to North Korea than we are. In fact, just about EVERY country is closer to North Korea than we are.
In addition to the big names - Russia, China and Japan which are next-door neighbors - other countries which are closer to North Korea than the US include Brunei, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.
Here's a plan: Why not have the UN convene a high-level meeting of the Three Bees - Brunei, Bhutan and Bangladesh - and empower them to solve this..
That would be no more nor less consequential than most of the other nonsense on which the UN spends its time and our money.
Whether or not Kim Jong Il, the goofball who runs North Korea, actually set off a nuclear device over the weekend, he certainly will sometime in the near future. However, assuming he has no way to mount that device on anything more advanced than a captured 1952 Jeep, we are a long way, both in time and distance, from being directly threatened by one of them.
While surfing for the CIA's World Factbook, I came across this from a press release:
"The Central Intelligence Agency placed 32nd in the top 50 of BusinessWeek Magazine's first 'Best Places to Launch a Career' ranking."
I am keeping away from a string of fairly obvious jokes (like, "What was #31, the IRS?") because I am not absolutely clear on the current rules regarding CIA interrogation techniques.
Actually, the IRS ranked #39; the State Department ranked #6.
The very, extremely, excellent and well-written World Factbook prepared by the wonderful folks at the CIA tells us that the Gross Domestic Product per person in South Korea is about $20,400 (compared to about $41,800 for the US). The GDP per capita in North Korea is - wait for it - $1,700.
So, what's swirling underneath Kim Jong Il's Cosmo-Kramer hairdo? Simple: He's going to hold the South Korean economy hostage to his nuclear capability. Pay up or light up.
Start building Kia cars in Pyongyang and Hyundai ships in Wansan or South Korea won't need streetlights to make Seoul glow at night.
Hey. I wonder if I'm too old to start a career at the CIA?
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Lots 'o Links: To the National Archives' Declaration of Independence site, a recipe for kimchi, a link to the quite extraordinary CIA World Factbook, to the BusinessWeek list of top 50 companies to start out in, and to a Map of Asia. Also a Mullfoto from George Washington's house and a thin Catchy Caption of the Day.