Monday, January 13, 2003

You want idiotarianism? We got idiotarianism! This article is from today's La Vanguardia. It's labeled "Analysis", and it's on page four in the International News section, making it the second lead story. It's by Rafael Poch, longtime Moscow correspondent, who has an amoral and realpolitik (according to his lights, however dim) view of the international scene. He believes that every action taken by a power has an ulterior motive, that there is always a hidden interest concealed behind everything any country does. Everything is a Bismarckian matter of balances of power. Since he who triumphs in such a world must be the most deceitful and the most ruthless, America, though not the root of all evil, is where evil is most deeply rooted. I get the feeling that he has been infected with this attitude by those who surround him in Moscow; the Latin mindset is also disposed toward Gnosticism, conspiracy theories, and general suspicion. (They think we're naive and innocent; we think they're cynical and corrupt.) Anyway, here's the article.

The Victim is North Korea

That is the title of an article by Gregory Clark published in the Japan Times day before yesterday. Clark is a veteran expert in Asiatic issues and president emeritus of the Tama University in Tokyo. He says the complete opposite of what 80% of the Western media (which dominate 95% of the world market) are saying, but he is completely right: the victim of this absurd "nuclear crisis" is North Korea.

Clark does not quote him, but let's start by reading "The Right Man", the latest book by David Frum. Have you heard of Frum? He is recommendable. Until last year he was one of the "plumbers" who wrote Bush's speeches. They asked him for "ideas to justify a war against Iraq", to be formulated in the State of the Union speech. He coined the term "axis of hatred", but those upstairs transformed it into the "axis of evil".

The Axis part reminded us of the Second World War, but it wouldn't stand up on one leg, so they added Iran and, at the last moment, North Korea. Baghdad-Teheran-Pyongyang fit well with Berlin-Rome-Tokyo, explains Hendrik Hertzberg in the New Yorker.

This has nothing to do with 9-11. It's a cheap Hollywood script and its primitivism is plainly obvious, but it's working, even with the "vassal states" (the term is Ignacio Ramonet's in the editorial of Le Monde Diplomatique) of the European Union. In Korea, Bush destroyed the 1994 accord. With it, Pyongyang agreed to dismantle its plans to build a nuclear plant capable of producing nuclear warheads in exchange for the normalization of relations with Washington, non-aggression guarantees, and two light water reacters, militarily useless, that would substitute for the one cancelled.

Bush destroyed the three things. As soon as he arrived in power, he said he "detested" the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il; he censured the policy of breaking the inter-Korean ice carried out by the South Korean President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kim Dae Jung; he stopped building the reactors, and not only did he interrupt the dialogue with North Korea, he stuck it in Frum's improvised axis, with a postscript added by the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, mentioning North Korea among the countries susceptible to being the object of a "preventive nuclear attack".

In North Korea they didn't think it was a bluff, because another country placed in the same category, Iraq, was already being bombed and a military invasion was hanging over its head. Also because, in South Korea, the American army has nuclear arms stored. The expression "life or death" must sound fairly literal to the Pyongyang regime. The current crisis is nothing more than the Koreans' desperate demand (reclamación) to return to the 1994 agreement.

Everything North Korea has done since October--demand (reclamar) its right to defend itself by every means, dismantle the control mechanisms on its nuclear plants, and pull out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation agreement--should be interpreted not as insanity, but as what it is: a desperate response. Its demand (reclamación) for guarantees that it will not suffer aggression, like Iraq and Yugoslavia, by the most powerful Army in the world, should be taken seriously, because it is reasonable. Fortunately, Moscow and Peking see it like that. Where is the European Union, our Europe?

Lemme see. This guy is proposing a European-Russian-Chinese alliance to support North Korea against American aggression. Sounds real smart to me. You guys can do a better job taking this apart than I can, so I won't bother. But I'll bet none of the rest of y'all can find a more idiotic screed published this year. I am, right now, declaring the above to be the Official Iberian Notes Dumbest News Article of 2003. Just a comment: the verb reclamar implies that the demand is just. One more: when the revolution comes, I personally vote we put Ignacio Ramonet up against the wall. He is that most hateful thing, a Hispano-French leftist intellectual, and he has all the worst qualities of the Spaniards, the French, the leftists, and the intellectuals without a single one of their redeeming virtues. OK, a third: somebody write David Frum and tell him he's been mentioned, nay, lauded, in this here geniusy commentary. I'd love to see his reaction.

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