A funny thing about life is this: There are no guarantees. One day you can be walking among the living above ground, and they next day you can be dead and buried in a grave below ground. This tenuous aspect of life has been made all too clear by the recent spate of natural disasters on Earth. During the year 2017 alone, there have been flooding disasters in India and China, landslide disasters in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, hurricane disasters in the Caribbean and USA, earthquake disasters in Mexico, and so forth, not to mention the unspeakable adverse physical and mental toll visited upon those humans who have had the misfortune of being ensnared in political upheaval in places like Syria, Myanmar, Yemen, Venezuela, and South Sudan. All of these disasters have resulted in the loss of life and in the destruction of property.
As I have stated elsewhere, the truth about natural disasters is this: They do not discriminate. Naturally occurring disasters on Earth do not care anything at all about what your race, age, color, creed, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, health, nationality, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, geographic location, political-economic system, and so forth, happen to be. If you find yourself in the path or crosshair of a natural disaster, then it is almost certain to ensnare, engulf, or otherwise adversely impact you.
A Nuclear Disaster
Given the reality of unending natural disasters on Earth, who needs the USA and North Korea to be deriding one another with threats of a nuclear war? Both President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un need to take a time-out, calm down, get a grip on their senses, get it together, and cool their rhetorical heels. All of their back-and-forth tough talk, derisions, taunts, finger-pointing, and exchange of insults reduce to a zero-zero game of nuclear brinkmanship. It simply is unfathomable or unthinkable that any nuclear power would ever sink so low as to contemplate or seriously entertain the notion of engaging in a nuclear exchange. A better way exists for humans to move forward into the future, and it does not involve resorting to the use of weapons of mass destruction to resolve disputes. Are humans truly prepared for the ramifications of a nuclear exchange on present-day Earth? Once the use-of-nuclear-weapons genie is out of its bottle or once the nuclear taboo is breached, could it spiral out of control and ultimately lead to human extinction? Maybe. The unintended consequences of a nuclear exchange should not be underestimated. Say, for instance, in a war with the USA, North Korea's leadership came to a realization that an USA victory was inevitable and their demise was eminent. And, as a final act of revenge in this age of the Internet, what if North Korea's leadership decided to release step-by-step instructions on the World Wide Web how to build a nuclear bomb and how to manufacture other kinds of weapons of mass destruction such as biological agents? It is utter madness to the googol power.
It is somewhat ironic that, in April 2017, President Trump chastised and lambasted President Bashar al-Assad for committing crimes against humanity when President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on civilian populations in Syria. Yet, just a few months later in September 2017, President Trump seems prepared to do something a million-fold worse by dropping (nuclear) bombs on North Korea and killing millions of civilians in the process, that is, if President Trump is to be taken seriously when he speaks of totally destroying North Korea. Such a development would be tantamount to the ultimate hypocrisy of hypocrisies (that is, President Bashar al-Assad cannot use weapons of mass destruction but President Trump can use them at will, with a vengeance, and with impunity).
You can do the math and deduce who most likely will prevail in a nuclear exchange between the USA and North Korea. According to Arms Control Association's website, as of 2017, the USA possessed close to 7,000 nuclear bombs compared to North Korea's possession of 10 or so nuclear bombs. North Korea might be capable of inflicting great harm in a nuclear exchange with the USA by killing millions, but North Korea most likely would not prevail. The USA currently holds an obvious nuclear advantage over North Korea, but you can rest assured that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is working diligently and furiously behind the scenes to lessen the nuclear odds against North Korea.
To top it off, North Korea possesses a dubious or questionable missile delivery system and perhaps a tentative missile defensive system. The USA, in contrast, possesses much stronger defensive capabilities and more potent missile delivery systems by air, water, and land buttressed by the latest advances in pinpoint missile guidance technology.
Did President Donald Trump read the memo? The subject line of the memo blaringly announces that "Communism is dead." China, by far as of 2017, can be characterized as a capitalist economy with more of an authoritarian governmental structure. Russia, by far as of 2017, can be characterized as a capitalist economy with more of an authoritarian governmental structure. Russian President Vladimir Putin, for instance, seems more concerned with amassing a personal fortune, living luxuriously, exalting Russia's military power, and increasing Russia's global geopolitical influence than he is with advancing the plight of the proletarian class. Contemporary world politics increasingly is reducing to a global grab for money, resources, and prestige. (It should be interjected that capitalism is relative in terms of the degree to which competition is present and also the degree to which private ownership of property is allowed. Capitalism runs a gamut ranging from monopolistic capitalism, oligarchic capitalism, and regulated capitalism to pure capitalism. A hallmark of capitalism is the presence of some form of a financial market for the trading of financial instruments (for a gain—or loss) as evidenced by, say, a stock exchange, a commodities exchange, a futures exchange, or a currencies exchange.)
If Communism, by far, is no longer a global phenomenon but is now a global afterthought, then the perceived Communist threat that North Korea posed during the early 1950's certainly does not apply to the 2010's. The urgent USA quest to contain the spread of Communism during the 1950's does not apply in 2017 given Communism's collapse. Why, then, would President Donald Trump seem so eager to engage in (nuclear) war with North Korea—and kill millions of humans in the process—over limiting the spread of an ideology, Communism, that essentially has died? Could the answer to this question center around psychological traits such as egotism, pride, superiority complex, and temperament serving as the central drivers of the escalating USA-North Korea tensions?
If the truth must be spoken, then as of 2017, Communism most certainly is not the most urgent threat to the USA way of life. As of 2017, some of the more pressing threats to the USA way of life and domestic tranquility include phenomena such as these:
- Hyper-partisan political polarization. Contrary to what some might think, the Russians were not the chief culprits to have sown the current state of political discord in the USA; the Russians merely leveraged and exploited the pre-exisiting discord already in place. One crucial factor contributing to the current state of political discord in the USA is none other than the rise of 24-hour cable news networks. If the viewer watched, say, a full day and night of pro-conservative Fox News and then watched, say, a full day and night of pro-liberal MSNBC news, then the viewer would be left with the impression that dual realities existed in the USA or that they were discussing two completely different countries. Ideally, the role of the news media should be to uncover the facts and report the truth as best as the truth could be discerned based on the facts. When it comes to the USA's 24-hour cable news networks, sometimes there is a gulf between the partisan real and the non-partisan ideal standard of reporting. A second crucial factor contributing to the current state of political discord in the USA include the advent of the World Wide Web, in general, and the rise of social media, in particular, where, in a free, open, and diverse society such as the USA, practically everyone connected to the cyberspace grid now has a platform to voice their opinions about the news of the day. Sometimes the sounds can be deafening as a multiplicity of voices and opinions emanate from the cable news networks, World Wide Web blogs and podcasts, and social media postings.
- A growing racial/ethnic disconnect and disengagement. After the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's, a USA social norm typically has been to wholeheartedly embrace the concept of diversity and inclusiveness whereby all USA residents were afforded an opportunity to share in the American dream and all other facets of American life. A new attitude towards race relations appears to be emerging whereby racial segregation is preferable to racial integration, which is in opposition to the USA's Melting Pot tradition of assimilation for all. It is as if the welcome sign is now being removed and open arms are being withdrawn.
- A growing economic divide whereby the rich seem to be getting richer and the poor seem to be staying poor. In part, this phenomenon is explained by a decline of the domestic manufacturing sector coupled by an increased employer reliance on part-time and temporary workers in the service and retail sectors. This employment trend translates into a decline in household earning power or households having to work more than one job to maintain a certain living standard. This phenomenon also, in part, is explained by the disconnect and often severe time lag between job loss, job availability, and displaced workers getting re-trained and learning the skills required to successfully perform other kinds of jobs earning similar or better wages.
- The spread and abuse of both legal and illegal drugs across the USA resulting in soaring addiction rates and a host of ancillary societal problems related to drug addiction. It is somewhat ironic that, during the 1800's, the West (namely, Great Britain) played a major role in supplying China with a steady flow of one illicit drug called opium. Fast forward to the 2010's and it is alleged—and I emphasize the word alleged— that China's black market is a major source of illicit pills flowing into the USA. If the allegation is true, the irony is a dramatic reversal of fortunes whereby during the 2010's the USA now finds itself in the predicament of being the country harboring a national addiction problem with China serving as one source (among many sources including internal sources) of the addictive drugs. Ultimately, it took the rise of Communism and Communist rule to completely eradicate or rid China of its national opium addiction scourge. What will it take for the USA to rid itself of its national substance abuse scourge? Obviously, in the case of the USA, it will not be choosing Communism as the solution for its national substance abuse problem.
- The spread and easy availability of both legal and illegal firearms across the USA whereby guns have replaced fisticuffs as the primary weapon used by citizens to settle "hot" disputes between one another. Obviously, the preferred way for citizens to settle disputes would be to do so either peacefully without recourse to violence, in a court of law, or before some other equivalent type of impartial panel with binding enforcement authority.
It would seem that President Donald Trump's time would be better spent if he focused it on tackling and solving the above-mentioned kinds of threats to the social fabric of USA society as opposed to preoccupying himself with prodding and riling up the North Korean leadership for war.
Take a look around. Humans across the globe are not clamoring for and demanding Communist rule in their daily lives. The USA originally became involved in the Korean war to contain the spread of Communism (which later collapsed under its own weight), but decades later and billions of USA dollars spent, the unanticipated consequence of the USA's (namely, military) intervention into Korean affairs has been the emergence of a nuclear-armed North Korea. It is as if, after decades of being intimately involved in Korean affairs, the only thing that the USA truly has succeeded in accomplishing or the only thing that the USA has to show for its efforts is a nuclear-armed North Korea. A nuclear-armed North Korea has introduced another level of complexity and diplomatic challenge into the relationship between the major players in that part of the world. The reader should keep in mind that North Korea is not the only country to possess nuclear weapons, and North Korea is not the only country with nuclear missiles pointed towards the USA. If the USA managed to find a way to live with its once bitter adversaries, China and Russia, possessing nuclear weapons without starting a nuclear war with those two adversaries, then surely it can find a way to live with North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons.
To put it another way, since the 1950's, the North Koreans have viewed the USA's unending presence in the Korean region as a hostile, provocative, and threatening presence. To rebuff and counter the USA's presence, North Korea's leadership felt compelled to develop a nuclear bomb. When viewed from the North Korean perspective, the USA only has itself to blame for incentivizing North Korea's leadership to develop a nuclear bomb. It becomes doublespeak for the USA, in 2017, to label and assail the North Korean regime as being the biggest threat to global peace and stability in the world today. In reality, the USA's presence in Korea from the 1950's through the 2010's and the USA's unrelenting political and economic pressure on the North Koreans are principally the things that pushed its leadership to develop a nuclear bomb. In other words, when viewed through the lenses of history, the North Koreans are a global threat in 2017 only because the USA made them that way starting with the political isolation and economic sanctions from the 1950's, which have continued to this day in 2017. It is akin to the USA having spent decades fostering the growth of a monster, and then suddenly pointing and shouting aloud that something drastic has to be done to neutralize that big, bad, terrible monster over there. If North Korea is to be characterized as an adversary of peace, then it only should be fitting to characterize the country principally as an American-made adversary of peace. I am no apologist for North Korea. I simply seek the truth. Outside North Korea, it is common knowledge that daily life in North Korea for most of its citizens is a far cry from the socialist paradise that its leaders purport it to be. Otherwise, nobody would be attempting to defect from the country. North Korea is an isolated country with a repressive government. North Korea is struggling to survive as a Communist regime, but its citizens are faithfully and courageously making do and forging ahead as best they can under the circumstances and with the resources they have at their disposal.
A Moment of Spiritual Reflection
Here is a dousing of cold water to extinguish all of the fiery and nonsensical talk of (nuclear) war (between the USA and North Korea), and it goes like this:
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Disaster Preparedness Revisited
Given the reality of naturally occurring disasters on Earth and given the existence of chemical, biological, nuclear, and radiological weapons of mass destruction on Earth, other than praying for the benign and divine intervention of a higher, supernatural, and omnipotent power such as God, about the only thing that humans can do is take steps to mitigate against or minimize the resultant death and destruction. The following document was created by the USA's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It has been reproduced here in the form of a flipping book as a public service. The goal is to help humans across the globe to prepare for the next disaster whether it is a natural or human-induced disaster.
Additional Disaster Resources:
- Browse Document Files | FEMA.gov
- Safe and Well
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
- American Red Cross
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