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East vs. West: Who's in Charge?

Updated on May 19, 2017
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Foreign Relations

North Korea has begun a wholly new approach toward undermining the fundamental strengths of the West. Just like a seasoned terrorist, Kim Jung Un primarily targets the U.S. The question is, is the U.S. truly the spokesperson for the entire Western Hemisphere? After all, there are many voices chiming in simultaneously. Keeping the peace is the main task. To this end, the U.S. has sent sea vessels into the waters off the coast of North Korea, though it maintains a continued presence in the region anyway. NOKO must realize it cannot do anything without, at a bare minimum, an immediate measure of commensurate force against it. At the same time, Russia has essentially check-mated the U.S. by flying planes capable of dropping nuclear bombs close to Alaska. It is doubtful, however, that Russia is North Korea's best friend. Geopolitics is a spider's web. Any move on our part, it seems, will be accompanied by a like-mannered reaction on Russia's behalf. Unthinkable? Not anymore! Also, Red China, at our behest, has agreed to talk the charismatic North Korean leader down. At least that is my understanding. So goes, this last week in April, introducing the first nuclear confrontation in many, many years.

By relations, one does not mean anything too far removed from what we experience on our familial level of existence. Just who is related to whom? Of course, if money is involved, one acquires more and better relatives than ever. The subject is not irrelevant insofar as China has just about overtaken the United States as the world's major economic force. But this is not entirely about money. If it were, the matter would fall under the rubric of economics. Usually, politics can be equated to economics. But again, it does not have to. The matter at hand, for instance, cannot be exclusively an economic issue. In fact, it appears to have to do essentially with raw power, in addition to forging a new future, in which a few countries have more power than all others combined. This, in a nutshell, is the case as it stands today. Only North Korea, as well as the Middle East, would like to change the current arrangement.

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The Fifth Republic of France

The election in France is not unrelated. La France does not have the authority to single-handedly move the nations of Europe or anywhere else to arms, but it is still influential. It is also a key nuclear nation, very active in this department. But it is not that so much as European foreign policy which is salient. In other words, electing Marine Le Pen will almost certainly result in radical changes. These have to do in large part with the war on terrorism as it moves, if it has not already, into a new phase. Whole populations are in transit. Europe took a humane stand and paid a heavy toll for it. Idealism is one thing, reality another. The U.S. is confronted with a similar situation. Overall, a stronger Europe might compel Russia to re-think its strategies. So on and so forth. . . . Meanwhile, as always, ordinary citizens watch and wait. They have somehow become, in Our Age of Terror, legitimate military targets.

One cannot be everywhere at once, yet what is happening within and off the coast of North Korea is of universal concern. To my mind, the use of nuclear weapons must not be allowed to become acceptable. So much talk, all of it highly speculative, on television and radio has already altered our collective thinking. The finger that touched the button would by default have to belong to the craziest person who ever lived. Some might think in terms of game theory, thinking, go ahead, fire away, we'll intercept it. This is, however, a naive position, since nuclear fallout will filter into every nook and cranny. Sadly, chances are you will not be raptured above the conflagration -- not if it is nuclear. The only way that could happen is if the saber rattlers calm down. This is actually something that can be accomplished. It is hard but not impossible to work hatred and anger out of one's system. What Kim Yung Un is up to is only a larger version -- if much larger -- than any type of irrational rage. There is, of course, such a thing as righteous indignation. But herein it does not apply.

Where is the Capital of the West?

Will Rogers once said, "All I know is what I read in the newspapers." A Marvin Gaye song once asked the question, "What's going on?" Put the two together, and one can only say, "All I know is what I read," because news told on TV, although repeated ad infinitum, needs to be supplemented. As to what's going on, I do not know, nor do I know anyone who does. However, it is a good guess that leaders are operating on pieces of information not commonly known. Nevertheless, there is not anything I could guess at or would come across by happenstance in a science fiction book or movie that justifies a nuclear attack. All the same, nuclear confrontation exists in a state of potentiality within the normal realm of human thought and deed.

Historically, a divide has always existed between East and West. After the beheading of more than 20 Coptic Christians, ISIS proclaimed, "We will conquer Rome, with Allah's permission." Although both the UN and the US would object, in addition to countless others, it is to some extent true that the Vatican, which is probably what ISIS was driving at, regards itself as the chief representative of the West. At one time, this was literally true; now, it is hypothetical. Turkey is yet another bit of a conundrum. It once contained the solitary seat of the Roman Empire after the fall of the western half. It is itself sometimes considered western, sometimes eastern, depending upon differing points of view. The Vatican resides within the real world, but its attempts to broker peace, whether harkening back to the Vietnam War or recently to reduce tensions between Christians and Muslims, seem now, as they seemed then, unrealistic and ineffective. Nevertheless, owing to its substantial contribution in the fight to free nations from behind the Iron Curtain, it has earned a well-deserved higher degree of respect.

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Where is the Capital of the East?

The East has long since observed that the West is fragmented. The East is, too. The biggest exception, if it can truly be called such, is China. Its awesome unity is in part artificial, which does not make it any the less dangerous. It still employs oppressive techniques that former Communist allies have distanced themselves from. I cannot help but notice how lofty and boastful Pravda has recently become. Journalists paint glowing portraits of Kim Yung Un's defiance of the West. One might also add as a reminder how Russia overlaps both East and West. But the meaning is clear. By the West Americans are predominantly meant. Despite having been critical of Putin, especially insofar as he condemned Communism, Pravda now lauds his stance against U.S. "interference" in Syria.

In brief, Kim Yung Un's threats are real. To delve into the politics of the region, as well as those of our own, is the work of many scholars vigilantly at the watch. Unfortunately, they are not also at the helm. At this juncture, almost nothing either noted or dug up from a dusty tome is without some merit. It depends upon what is helpful or not. As to an actual place such as the Kremlin or Beijing from which relevant orders spread out, this in and of itself is an outdated conception. It might be more advantageous to concentrate on personalities, both those of leaders as well as the stealthy backroom advisers. I purposely left out the Middle East though it is rather obvious whose side Islamic Radicals would take.


EuroNews on Kim Jong Un

Who's in Charge?

This is anything but clear. The world is locked into a devilish embrace. Now that Kim Yung Un has announced his intentions to launch nuclear missiles, it might actually all be up to him for the time being. Once again, another talkfest has begun. There is talk of getting China to champion the cause of non-nuclear weapons. There is talk of economic sanctions. There is vague talk, more implied than direct, of regime change. By and large, the drama has yet to play out. From the opposing viewpoint, there is still in existence a disorganized coalition of nations and leaders ready and willing to take a stand. No one, it seems, is truly afraid of Kim Yung Un. Yet, everyone, for or against him, is as though frozen into a current affairs freeze frame. As already mentioned, the new emergence of a loose confederation of Communist and Once Communist nations along with their scattered cohorts has deflected energy and interest from the ongoing Christian-Muslim conflict, still shaping up after all this time. As always, America is the prime target. I would advise terrorists of one stamp or another to look elsewhere for their own safety and security. Up till 9/11 it was one thing, with our borders more open and airports unprotected. That was then. This is now.

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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Really good, thank you. To me, it is so complicated that it is interesting. - your part about personalities is spot on.

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