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Hamas…North Korea…Article Placement? June 26, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in World Affairs.
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In today’s New York Times two important articles are tucked away in the very back of the International section. The first (that caught my eye) was Hamas Leader Hails Obama For New Tack. A short article written by the Associated Press from Damascus that highlights a recent speech by Khaled Meshal, Hamas’ leader who is currently based in Damascus.

The whole news story is that Meshal welcomed what he called “new language” by President Obama toward Hamas. The AP said the remarks were part of a tentative outreach to the United States by Hamas in recent weeks. I remind you that Obama directly addressed Hamas in his Cairo address to the ‘Muslim World’. Anyways, can someone explain this sentence to me?

Analysts have speculated that Hamas may want to try to reach out to the Obama administration in the hope of breaking out of its international isolation and easing the Isreali blockade of Gaza, which Hamas controls.

To me the sentence comes off as awkward, strange, and possibly biased.

The second small article on the last page of the International section was about an anti-American rally of 100,000 people in North Korea (the article says 100,000, but who knows?). It also quoted the government threatening a “fire shower of nuclear retaliation” against the United States and South Korea.

The rally was a celebration of the anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. And it has been celebrated in an anti-American fashion before, the article says. “The crowd brimmed with anti-American slogans and speeches, denouncing the international sanctions the UN recently imposed on the North after its May 25th nuclear test.” The crowd and the government are worried of an American plot to invade their country. I had heard that the population was brainwashed, and this article made that fact brazenly clear, especially with the photo.

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North Korea is the Scariest! May 31, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in World Affairs.
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The title of the blog post was just changed from “North Korea is Scary” to its current wording. It is both, but my new title is here to stay. To me, North Korea is the biggest and scariest threat to the United States and to humanity on many different levels.

Quick recap: in April they launched a long-range missile over Japan, one of our strongest allies, closest trading partners, and (let’s not forget) the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack. After this attack North Korea expelled UN nuclear weapons inspectors.

Quick recap of this week only: Monday North Korea conducted an underground test of a nuclear device and fired six short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan. What’s more their maniacal tyrant, Kim Jong Il announced that the armistice agreement signed to end the Korean War in 1953 was null and void. This would be a nearly-certain cause for war (cassus belli) in many other situations. World War One and the 1967 Six Day War both began over less provocative actions. The magnanimity of this cannot be understated.

Why is North Korea a “threat” to the US national interest?
Protecting our allies is a primary concern. South Korea and Japan are two of our biggest allies; Japan was Secretary Clinton’s first foreign visit, showing the importance of the Japan-US relationship. The Administration is also worried that eventually, in a worst case and far-off scenario, a direct nuclear strike could hit our West coast. For these reasons the State Department must take action. What should we do?