New leader; same military

If nothing else, the failed North Korean launch is a stark reminder that sweet talking doesn’t always deter initiative.

Friday’s heavily publicized and largely dismal launch violated international law and United Nations resolutions. North Korea went back on its word with the US food deal and as a result, showed a stubbornness to cooperate. This isn’t to say that North Korea and its leaders are incapable of the socioeconomic, militant and hierarchal changes necessary to make a comeback on the world stage.

North Korea’s timing really couldn’t be better. With the new leadership of Kim Jong-un, a man young enough to be a graduate student, and the improvement — though it’s a slight one — in communication between his country and those surrounding it, the stars are aligned for the regime to take an about-face on their current agenda. The cards are in North Korea’s favor if they should choose to recant, and the rest of the world is watching, waving posters and rooting them on from their respective corners.

But there aren’t any promises either. North Korea could just as soon follow this failed launch with another. The cycle may just continue. In spite of the downswing, Jong-un may decide that worldwide disapproval isn’t so bad after all or that it’s at least something he could live with. It could happen; other countries have done it.

And can we fault them? There was no pretense. There were no lies. They said that this was something they’d do, and it’s exactly what they did.

No one can fault the wasp for stinging a child. It might upset the parents and child, with the bruising and the inevitable crying. All this is followed by the manhunt to kill not only the offending wasp but its mother, father, grandparents and siblings. It might even offend them and all of the other people who thought they were exempt from the laws of nature. But, at the end of the day, no one can rightfully fault the wasp. And for a simple reason: It’s a wasp.

Do we expend our energies in earnest, throwing bones and egging them on while hoping for the best? Or do we call the children in, stock up on “Raid” and expect the worst?

Concurrently, when a country deems its national policy as “military first,” in spite of repeated international suggestions to do otherwise, the livelihood of its people hinging on foreign aid and a succession of rulers whose agendas have been similar, if not the same, to their predecessors, there should be no surprises when they finally launch long-range missile into orbit without warning.

No one should be shocked that the country’s leaders jeopardized its starving citizens for the sake of failed tests or the fact that forthcoming aid has been indefinitely suspended. And no one should be flabbergasted when, after the missile launch, which disintegrated less than three minutes after take-off, the country’s leaders celebrate with a military parade the following Sunday.

This is what “military first” means. This is what wasps do.

Bryan Washington is a sociology freshman and may be reached at [email protected].

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