Countdown

April 14th, 2013

Countdown

~ It’s already past midnight in North Korea, and the same in Tokyo and Seoul.

I guess the U.N. / U.S. sanctions have kept Pyongyang off the world map, or at least off the map list of time zones.  It’s funny, even Kabul is there when Pyongyang is not, although their populations (at about 3.5 million each) are nearly identical.

The idea of “Countdown” and “Missile test/launch” is as embedded as one in the minds of boomers as is ferris wheels with pink cotton candy (although now it is hard to find an image of “both”).  Maybe this April, this season of the sun, might give us all a new understanding of “boomer” as it pertains to the leadership of this (my) generation; it’s (maybe) been said so long that one longs to hear it, to see it, you know it’s no drill?

It’s no quirk of history that Kim Sung-il was born the same day that the Titanic went down.   It’s a day or a night to remember that everyone seems to forget.

There was no countdown as the Titanic went down, no counting backward, no quest to reach zero.  Boomers had to be taught to count backwards, to see and learn the reverse, to think and see things “out of the box” (even if it were only the box of Pandora’s).  Counting down (and not up) was once as intuitive as reciting the ABC’s in reverse (C,B,A; but starting with “Z” or with Zed).  It took training videos such as this to teach us a new way to think, “scientifically”, to grasp the fact that things could go backwards, implosions not explosions; to make way for the missiles, the launches, the bombs (last sentence, “here it on FM radiomaybe).

Why must we always be forced to relive what we have worked so hard to forget?  Once it was the “Missiles of October”, now it seems to be the “Missiles of Monday”.  The forces were ready then as they really are now.  The “blockade” was there for the whole world to see; today they’re called “sanctions”.  As the whole world watched the Russian ships kept creeping closer; “would they hold back” or would they just cross the line?  The “hotline” was busy, Defcon TWO was de rigueur; French for “we’re ready”, meaning totally ready for a nuclear war.

Sure, some say (some said – then) that the world didn’t really face a real nuclear crisis.  Some said it was just Kennedy trying to scare us into a ban on the bomb.  It was a “weakness” they said, to exchange our missiles in Turkey for those in Cuba that didn’t really exist.  “Why compromise with the Russians”, when Curtis LeMay was ready to “take them all out”?  I lived it.  I know.  I remember.  I can never forget.

Fifty (50) years later and we still live with the bomb, the nukes, the nuclear submarines and all of the missiles.  The latest is word of a new detente with China, not Russia.  They want a “nuclear free peninsula”, some say “so really, so do we”.   But (China KNOWS) we will NEVER give up all OUR nukes in Korea, in the waters off their shores, in the air space so near and above them.  The “dry run” of the B-2’s from Missouri (the “show me” state) to an island 30 miles (east) off Kunsan, South Korea had nothing to do with a warning to Kim (Jong-un); it was a warning to “China’s top leaders” (note: no one is named).  The stealth nuclear bombers were on a “B”-line, stopping just a couple hundred miles from the target of Beijing (after a more than 7,000 mile non-stop journey, some say “trip”).

Like the nukes in the north, our nukes in the south – we are in TOTAL (official) denial.  We’ve been here before.  It was then the nuclear weapons, the missiles in Cuba, not Korea.  They were there, they were there; and all the Kings horses and all the Kings men couldn’t do anything but to secretly negotiate (via the hotline) to get them all out.

So it was then, as it is now.  Is Kim Jong-un really just bluffing?  Has the one hope of compromise (the hot line) been really shut down?  Will Obama (or his “brother”) really just make the call, just “pick up the phone”?  Or is it different this time?  Is it that the Titanic really is sinking?  Do we face a much worse “disaster at sea”?

I guess we shall see.  There is always hope against hope when for fifty (or 60) long years one brandishes nuclear weapons.  Is H-hour near?

2013.04.14 – 19:00.  

An addition to the original post:

It is 7:00 PM in Albuquerque, which means it is 9:00 PM in Washington and New York, which means it is now after 10:00 AM (Monday) in Pyongyang and Seoul.

Something very weird seems to be going on.

Sunday there was the free concert by Psy in Seoul.  His new record (song) seems to be a bomb, vulgar – just too out of place.  No “Gentleman” does not get the blondes.  In London and elsewhere “Ding Dong the witch is dead” IS popular and going even more viral while we speak (or as I write).  In Pyongyang on Sunday (yesterday) there was a marathon, runners from around the world, you KNOW the drill.

Yesterday (too) a new leader, Kim Yong-nam was the one making the news.  Today the “news” is that Kim Jong-un has not been seen for the last two weeks, meaning the “shuffling”of missiles and John Kerry’s warning about missile launchings being a “mistake” perhaps had nothing to do with Kim (Jong), but more with Kim (Yong).

All the usual journalists (in Pyongyang) from around the world, sent there to do a job, seem to have “slept in” this Monday.  There are NO reports.  Pyongyang has gone silent on the web.  No missiles have been launched – or have they?  Without someone saying something, nobody knows.

The big question of the day will be IF Kim Jong-un shows up, is seen – something.  The world (once again) is holding its collective breath.  Is it a Margaret Thatcher moment, this time in Korea?  And like “the witch”, the question of who might be celebrating, and what, and how and when may keep this crisis going for a long-long time.  Who knows?

New Update:  David Chance, writing from Seoul, reports that Kim Jong Un, “attended a midnight celebration (on April 14, 2013) of his father and grandfather’s rule with top officials including his kingmaker uncle Jang Song-thaek and the country’s top generals.”  If true, so much for the “not seen in two weeks” theory; but the point is that the story was written in Seoul.

2013.04.15 – 01:35.  

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