[GOING TO THE BLOGS]Erratic, maybe, but with a purpose?In the movie “This is Spinal Tap,” the guitarist Nigel Tufnel, explaining the reason his band’s amplifiers can be cranked up to a volume mark of 11, says, “Most blokes are gonna be playing on 10. You’re on 10 all the way up?where can you go from there?
Nowhere! What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do? Eleven!”
Apparently employing the same logic, Kim Jong-il chose the eve of the Chuseok holiday to reveal his special new “amplifier”: a declaration of the North’s intent to conduct nuclear testing.
For bloggers, the announcement provided a harvest of speculation as to the timing of the announcement.
Commenting at “The Korea Liberator” (http://www.korealiberator. org/), Pelagius writes, “It’s winter. They need food aid. Time for Jong-il to whip out this old canard. Personally, I say ‘put up or shut up’.”
Citing the North’s reactivation of a nuclear reactor one week prior to South Korean elections in 2002, the blog contributor Richardson sees the North’s actions as part of a unique strategy, and with the United States in mind.
“I think the move is intentional and designed to maintain North Korea’s isolation ― strategic disengagement - that is, in 2002 restarting the reactor favored the ‘conservative’ candidate who would have taken a hard-line with North Korea (but who still lost), while current actions might be more likely to make voters who pay attention to this to vote Republican rather than Democrat.”
While the timing of the announcement provoked much contemplation in the blogosphere, when the test may actually occur was also a topic of discussion.
Writing at his blog of the same name, USinKorea (http://usinkorea.org/blog1/) believes that the North’s aim is to affect the 2008 U.S. presidential election and therefore predicts a test next year. “The reason I believe North Korea will pop off a nuke within a year to a year and half is the U.S. and South Korean presidential election cycles. North Korea will more than likely conclude it can influence the U.S. elections by being a huge problem in the world during the long U.S. election process. I will be surprised if they test it before February of 2007. Next spring and summer will be key times to watch for. And if it has not gone off by July or August, I would look for a U.S. Thanksgiving Day surprise or sometime during the holiday season in American society.”
Robert at “The Marmot’s Hole” (http://www. rjkoehler.com/) offers another perspective for gamblers, “For all you out there with office pools going for a North Korean nuke test, here’s a tip for you ― I was reading yesterday that activity has been detected at a suspected North Korean test site, and Oct. 10 is the anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s ruling Korean Workers Party.”
Should he be correct, you might want to consider placing your bets quickly.
Finally, bloggers offer their perspective on the potential fallout of a nuclear test.
Concerning the future of North Korea, Scott Bruce of the blog “North Korea zone” (http://www.nkzone.org/ nkzone/ ), says, “The DPRK will emerge as the Pakistan of Northeast Asia. Short-term sanctions will not initiate a collapse of the government and the leadership will hail the power of its atomic-powered juche and tie the detonation of the bomb to the power of the state and the leadership of Kim Jong Il.”
While not expecting a worst-case scenario, Jodi, writing at “The Asia Pages” (http://asia pages.wordpress.com/), offers personal advice to American readers should it occur.
“?The Asia Pages still urges all American citizens currently residing in South Korea to register with the U.S. Embassy. Because if it’s game on, the only way you’re gonna’ learn about an evacuation is through the embassy’s warden system.”
So will Kim Jong-il, feeling the need to push it over the cliff, “take it to eleven?” No one knows for sure but in the meantime, don’t touch that dial.
by Scott Hammel