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May 27, 2009

Kim Jong Il: Crazier Than a Bedbug

Amd_jong-il So what do you do when you're 68, have suffered a recent stroke, and worry that any one of a number of your generals would like to assume your throne? Apparently, you throw some crockery against the wall and resume the Korean War.

That's what we appear to be dealing with in North Korea's "Dear Leader," Kim Jong Il. It's hard to take a man seriously who, in addition to starving huge numbers of his own people while he airlifts lobster and caviar, has enjoyed establishing 20 concentration camps for political dissenters. Also, Kim has taken a shine to making feature films and operas from his beloved father's writings. 

All this would be purely laughable except that Kim has the fifth largest standing army in the world and now nuclear capabilities. The capital of South Korea, Seoul, is very close to the North Korean border, making it at least possible for Kim to take down millions of people with him should he have a death wish of his own.

Christian worldview question: Is it ever appropriate to ask for God to remove a true tyrant from the scene?Well, while the "love your neighbor" ethic applies to everyone, not just saints, it also applies to all the individual souls whose unfortunate lot it is to be in the path of a human windstorm. Christian theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer finally accepted, after much spiritual wrestling, that having Hitler gone was the only way to save many other souls. 

Bonhoeffer doesn't strike me as merely utilitarian here. Kim needs to be stopped for his own soul's needs, too. He's obviously sick and needs to not have anymore innocent deaths on his record. Beyond anyone's concern for him is the plight of millions, on both sides of the 38th Parallel.

Whether Kim is hit by another stroke or by one of his generals, his removal from power seems necessary for the people of North Asia to have a sigh of relief. A crazy man with nukes and a large army may be one of history's oddities, but here we are. Let's pray that the Lord, who does work in mysterious ways, finds a peaceable way to remove Kim's finger from the nuclear button.

(Image courtesy of GettyImages)

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Dale Tedder

Sad but true Stephen. Good word.

Jason Taylor

The North Korean Army is less to be feared then one might think:

It has probably gone to pot. People like Kim don't keep their house in order.

If it has not, an invasion of South Korea would mean attacking fortified positions with no chance at flanking the defenders(Korea being quite narrow), positions that have had more then fifty years to be built up full of natural and artificial obsticals. South Korea also has a reputable army and will be in a position to make it into a Verdun quite easily.

In the meantime both his coastal flanks are vulnerable as the sea belongs to his enemies. As does the air. Even if America doesn't intervene, the Taiwain fleet and the IJN(aka "maritime self-defense force" are still there and still quite robust).

In other words North Korea cannot conquer the South except by the wildest stroke of luck. And it is impossible to imagine anyone else: just look at a map.

As for Nukes, that is another story. But having the fifth largest standing army is in North Korea's position irrelevant.

toby cameron

video of Julie Chen and Kim Jong il


Benjamin Ady

Why not pray for God to remove the very existence of the nuclear button altogether, all over the planet? Wouldn't that be better than just asking him to take one guy's finger off it?

jason taylor

Sure. Go ahead Ben.


"Sure. Go ahead Ben"
I do not sense any sincerity in that response. Perhaps it is because Jason likes history, and there will be a lot more interesting stuff to talk about if we leave the nuts and the nukes in play. Without them, life would be boring - you know, kind of like heaven, with all those harps and stuff.

I do like Jason's military analysis. There are many more credible threats in the world than this one.

One last thought: It seems a bit disingenuous to say that Kim ought to be stopped so he won't have any more innocent deaths on his record. Is God going to treat him differently according to the number of those deaths?

jason taylor

Actually as far as interest goes it would be a lot more interesting without Nukes, as nukes are a rather bland way to fight "Nothing is glorified, nothing is reaffirmed". Be that as it may, I am not such an egomaniac as to put my wish that life be interesting over my desire for others to have a safely boring life, or my rational analysis that the fascination of interesting times comes from retrospect.

The lack of sincerity is because it sounded suspiciously like "if we can have nukes why can't they". To which of course the answer is twofold. One they are are enemies so naturally we want them not to have nukes and us to have. The other is that it is not as much nukes(though they really should not get more common as that increases the odds)as Kim having Nukes. Some of our best friends have Nukes. But they aren't Kim.
It is also because of a belief that a prayer for the general lack of Nukes requires such a change in the world as to simply be a prayer for the Messiah(a format I would find preferable being more old-fashioned). Unless we are praying for the military obsolescence of Nukes which we might as well.
As for whether I would be so narcissistic as to desire an unwholesome relationship between nations simply to make my life interesting, well to paraphrase Lawrence of Arabia my narcissism is my own business. But it would hardly in itself stop me from praying for peace anymore then my enjoyment of cop shows would stop me from praying for less crime.
But that is a roundabout. The fact is that it simply sounds a rather tautological prayer and therefore does not attract fervency because it does not appeal to my emotion.

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