No, the Sky Really IS Falling This Time!

Posted on August 11, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Some say the most neglected history is recent history.  That is dangerous.  In our short attention span culture, perhaps some recent history can give proper context to the hysteria regarding the US/North Korea conflict.

“Yesterday, Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby (head of the Defense Intelligence Agency) said that N. Korea has the ability to arm a missile with a nuclear device.”   That was published by The Washington Post in April 2005.  That is not a typo:  2005 !

In June 2006, two former Secretaries of Defense wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post which detailed how the US had to launch a military strike to prevent a missile launch.  It was that dangerous.  (The US did not attack; and the missile test went forward, but it was a failure.)

In October 2006, The National Review published an article reprinted by CBS entitled “The Sky Really is Falling”.  Something just had to be done about those crazy North Koreans!

Fast forward to April 2013:  The New York Times led a front page story with:

A new assessment by the Pentagon’s intelligence arm has concluded for the first time,(emphasis mine) with “moderate confidence,” that North Korea has learned how to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be delivered by a ballistic missile.

Leap ahead to summer 2017:  huge headlines include:  N. Korea has an ICBM, and almost in the same week, we learn from the DIA (actually for the third time) that N. Korea can in fact miniaturize its nukes to fit on a missile.   Stocks plunge, and Homeland Security hands out those fliers about how to survive a missile strike.   On August 8, The San Francisco Chronicle asked:   “Can SF plan for surviving a North Korean nuclear strike?”

Today (8/11/17), Samuel Moyn and David Preistland in the same New York Times declare that “the sky is not falling”.   Wait, what?  Where have these guys been for the last 12 years?  What is going on?

Assessing nuclear and missile technology is complex and not entirely exact, apparently.  Another explanation:  War fever sure sells a lot of ads.  It is in the media’s interest (and politicians of both parties) to promoting occasional crises.  Trump sure would love to keep Americans’ eyes off of Mueller’s investigation.  As his popularity numbers tank, lobbing a few missiles would definitely get many Americans to rally round the flag and himself.   Hey, it already worked in Syria, at least for a time.  The problem is this stunt could cost the lives of thousands, if not millions, of Koreans.

The question of whether bellicose and unconventional leaders who are impervious to moderating forces have access to advanced missile technology is an important one.  Yes, I’m looking at both of you.   But the nature of nuclear weapons is clear—using them is akin to committing a horrific war crime, if not suicide.   I mean, who’d be crazy enough to actually use one of them on a city?  Oh, yeah, the US did—twice (this week was the 72nd anniversary).

So, how to respond to the latest incarnation of “North Korea is Pulling Down the Sky” hysteria?  First, it’s always good to pray for the leaders of the US, world peace, and civilians caught in a dictator’s grip.   Please don’t forget that N. Korea is more than Kim Jong Un:  there are over 20 million human beings living in that country.   Support efforts like those of Mennonite Central Committee to reach out to the real people living there.

Secondly, let us also be wise enough to read the signs of the times.  We need to be students of the machinations of politics and the social psychology of manipulating the masses.  Let us also brush up on the history of US-N. Korean relations and the Korean War (which isn’t officially over yet!).  This will go a long way in helping us catch a Chicken Little.

Above all, let us remember that perfect Love casts out fear!


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