A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Do you ever wonder what happened to Kim Jong-un? He’s that North Korean guy with all the nuclear weapons. Believe it or not, it was just three weeks ago that he was striding around threatening to rain fire and hell on anything and anybody from Seoul to Guam (and all points beyond) unless he got what he wanted, which, BTW, was never made clear. It actually got so serious that President Obama sent in some military ordinance — with real people inside. So what happened? Did he just take his finger off the trigger and go further out to lunch? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Even though I don’t have a direct line to the inner workings of American foreign policy (who does?) this is what I figure happened.
Okay, you do remember John Kerry? He’s the guy who took Hillary’s job at the US State Department so she could run for President. John’s been kicking around politics since the 70s and Washington since the mid 80s. He was never what you’d call a go-to guy though. After all, when it came to the biggest political decision of his career (Who’s going to be my Vice President?) he chose John Edwards. Clearly, Kerry’s not exactly a fellow who does his homework. Anyway, John’s job description comes with a couple of pages on nuclear crisis, so when Kim Jong whoever started cutting up rough, he packed his suitcase and headed for Asia. After a couple of whistle stops in Korea and Japan (to reassure the locals that America would kick the snot out of Kimmie if it came to it) John went to China. This is where it gets tricky. Nobody in their right mind would suggest that the Secretary of State of the United States of America (President Obama’s personal representative on Earth) had been summoned to appear before the Dragon Throne. However, a couple of Saturdays ago, there John Kerry was, all smiles and hairdo, standing around Beijing, diplomatic hat in hand. Ostensibly, John was there to discuss the Korean problem with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi. Sounds legit, right? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Personally, I think the Chinese wanted something. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have let Kim Jong-un shoot his mouth off in the first place. Secretary Kerry was there to find out what.
From here, nobody but John Kerry, Yang Jiechi and Wikileaks will ever actually know what went on — secret private talks are, after all, secret private. However, unless you flunked history in high school (twice) you do understand that, despite a century of assurances to the contrary, secret protocols between nations do happen — with surprising regularity. So it’s interesting to note that a couple of curious things have occurred since John and Jiechi put their heads together in the Forbidden City. First, the Chinese government has suddenly jumped on the environmental protection bandwagon — which is totally odd because, less than a month ago, their official Party line was Climate Change was something the West had made up to piss them off. Remember these are the folks who spray-painted the Beijing grass green to impress the IOC. Secondly, and most curious of all, Kim Jong-un, who, two weeks ago, was mad enough to nuke a basket of puppies, has fallen off the radar entirely. He doesn’t seem to want to vaporize his neighbours anymore, kill Imperialists, play with his warheads or even test his missiles. In fact, aside from chillin’ with Dennis Rodman, nobody’s heard from the guy.
So what caused these momentous events? There are three possibilities. One, John Kerry is the greatest diplomat since Coenus the Weary convinced Alexander the Great to give it up at the Ganges River, turn around and go home. That’s a nice idea, but I don’t think so (given John’s track record.) Two, the Chinese suddenly discovered their Inner Altruist and couldn’t wait to share it with the world. Again, a nice thought but… Or, finally, three, the Chinese (who, as you know, play puppeteer to Kim Jong-un’s marionette) got what they wanted. Then, happy as a clam, they told Kim to sit down and shut up, tossed Kerry some Climate Change rhetoric to take home and called it a day. If you go with Door #3 on this one, I don’t know what you bet — but I think you won.
But the most curious thing of all is, even with a multibillion-dollar budget it appears as if the folks down at Foggy Bottom have never seen fit to buy a copy of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War — and if they have they sure as hell have never read it.