Hope and Fear for the Two Koreas

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

In 1969 I was stationed in South Korea as a member of the Second Infantry Division. My duties carried me within sight of North Korea, and always within easy range of enemy artillery. I was occasionally assigned to armed patrol duties along the Im Jin River, just a proverbial stone’s throw from the border with a nation with which we were technically still at war.  North Korean patrols frequently ventured into our area, and sometimes killed our soldiers. The day before my arrival, eight American soldiers were killed there, but their deaths got minimal news coverage, since the Viet Nam War was raging and overshadowed our “little war.”

As the years passed, more and more violent incidents marked the relationship between the two Koreas.  Some of these were brazen and violent, and could easily have precipitated a major war. The North Koreans were reckless enough to sink a South Korean navy ship, and to rain artillery shells down on a populated South Korean island. Numerous other incidents occurred as well, keeping US and South Korean forces constantly at the ready for a second Korean War. The North Koreans seemed to be insane in their provocations.
Internally, the North Korean government deliberately starved to death an estimated one million of it people in rural areas in order to shift scarce food supplies to its military.  Starving North Koreans attempting to escape were shot dead by the North Korean army.

As you can see, it is difficult to overstate the cruelty and warlike nature of the North Korean regime. 
Can that ever change? Perhaps.
The news commentaries linked at the end of this piece, report that there are indications that a major power shake-up has recently occurred in communist North Korea, which might, hopefully, presage genuinely friendly relations between the two Koreas, North and South.
As has been the case so many times in the past, it could all end in a big disappointment, but there is reason for at least preliminary and cautious optimism.
Some months ago, the North Korean government executed Jang Song Thaek, an uncle by marriage of the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un.  Jang was so powerful in the government that two other North Korean officials were accused of being more loyal to him than to Kim, and were reportedly executed, as well.
This is an indication that there may be a longstanding power struggle between various factions in the north. Might there be a “peace faction” in Pyong Yang (the North Korean capital city)?
As in all absolute dictatorships, the top man must continually guard against those who envy his power.  The common practice seems to be to keep the inner circle continually off balance, preventing them from conspiring against the leader. Killing one or two of them now and then is an effective tactic, but risky. Josef Stalin eliminated so many of his cronies that eventually, the survivors realized that they had to eliminate Stalin in order to save their own lives.
Saddam Hussein, during his dictatorship of Iraq, reportedly never slept more than two hours at a time, was continually on the move, and used look-alikes as bait for would-be assassins. Hussein also had his two sons-in-law executed for disloyalty.  Saddam had made himself temporarily safe, but also a prisoner of his own fears. We all know how that ended.
If the North Korean dictator has been removed from effective power, or even has been openly challenged or diminished, there is both hope and fear for the South.  
The hope is that those newly in power will realize that their country will collapse under its present economic system, unless they can establish truly friendly relations with the South. If only to save their own skins, such men, being practical survivors, may seek to join forces with South Korea, and eventually to reunify the severed nation. Indeed, this would be the best of all outcomes for all concerned, except of course for the psychopathic and murderous regime in the North.
The fear is that a few military generals in the North might decide to launch open warfare against the South and its US ally. This is not an unrealistic fear, given the continual brinksmanship of North Korea over the past decades. While such a war would destroy the North, it would also destroy much of the South, and possibly draw the communist Chinese into the conflict, not only against South Korea, but also against Taiwan. Bear in mind that the Chinese have recently been rattling their sabers in the South China Sea and confronting the US Navy in dangerous ways.
Based on this, the North Koreans may be willing to bet their survival on being able to intimidate their enemies into backing away. The prospects for peace and unity on the Korean peninsula have never been greater in our lifetime. The danger has never been greater since the Korean War.
Of one thing we can be certain.  If anyone can wreck the prospects for peace, it is Barack Hussein Obama.  South Korea would be wise to keep him out of this process as much as possible.


Obama’s Samba Line of Shame

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

One of Sarah Palin’s most important statements during her vice presidential campaign in 2008 was this:

“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”

While at the time her critics denounced that statement as unfair to community organizers, Palin was spot on correct. Her point has been proved prescient. Barack Obama is an abject incompetent at everything except speechifying and golf. His ineptitude is nothing short of horrifying, considering the office he occupies (by which I do not mean that he runs it— he merely occupies it).

The man literally could not run a lemonade stand, much less a nation. His attempts to outsource presidential decision making have produced a virtual samba line of buffoons who could not begin to control the agencies and projects to which they were appointed.

Kathleen Sebelius led the obamacare samba line with failures so thorough and comprehensive that it became clear that she knew absolutely nothing about the healthcare website that she had many months to oversee – a website which not only collapsed the moment she pressed the “start” key, but continues to this day to have critical defects.

Eric Shinseki was widely praised for his service as an army general, but from the moment he stepped into the office of Secretary of Veterans Affairs he was as out of his element as a brain surgeon assigned to build a space ship. Veterans avoidably died as a result of Shinseki’s lack of curiosity about events in his department, and his response was that he felt really bad about that. Oh yeah, he was angry, too.

“Former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu left under a cloud of controversy involving crony capitalists getting millions of dollars in green loans that produced nothing but failed companies,” according to Victor Davis Hanson at the San Jose Mercury News

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton produced a litany of failures during her tenure, but one must grudgingly admit that she spent little time on the golf course (or whatever her pastime might happen to be), and is enough of a control freak that she would have scrutinized every element of HillaryCare, had she been president. The finished product would have been disastrous to the nation, but an efficient disaster, which might actually be the worst kind.

Valerie Jarrett, not Obama, seems to be the actual brains (or lack thereof) behind the operation (or lack thereof). Her qualifications for the job are purely ideological, explaining why no hint of the real world ever factors into presidential decrees.

The worst of Obama’s failures are yet to be exposed to the light of day. His mismanagement of national security makes the Keystone Cops look like James Bond by comparison.

Let’s start with his own personal security, supposedly guaranteed by the Secret Service. Undoubtedly, there are many competent and dedicated agents, but the leadership has besmirched their hard earned reputation. News stories give the impression that the leadership has allowed the service to become infiltrated with drunkards, whoremongers and bunglers. That impression has tainted the entire Secret Service with the sins of the few. This tragic and dangerous corruption in leadership has been going on for years, and nothing proactive was done to foresee and prevent future occurrences. Forget locking the back door, the Secret Service could not even lock the front door of the White House as an intruder sprinted across the lawn and penetrated deep inside the building. Yet another agency head has been forced to resign in disgrace in light of failures so astounding that no fiction writer would dare include such improbable idiocies in their novels.

Let’s continue with Obama’s military incompetence. Here is a man who in a speech at the Army Academy at West Point mispronounced the word “corps” three times. Many people would laugh this off as a mere gaffe, but it reflects an utter unfamiliarity with the most basic vocabulary of the military. Worse, it shows that not one of the people closest to him caught the error before he made it, and no one was able to speak into his earphone (if he even had one) to correct this before he repeated it – twice. Think of what the dismayed cadets were imagining, as they realized this community organizer was their commander.

One might laugh it off were not this gaffe magnified in his blunders that have squandered the gains and sacrifices of thousands of military men who lost their lives or health in battle to secure Iraq.

One might continue laughing if Obama had not claimed credit for ending the war, but now seeks to blame others when it turns out that ending the war really meant losing it.

The laughter dies down when the national security agencies have finally become fed up with this incompetent who continually blames them, not himself, for permitting an entire nation of terrorists to be formed under his nose, now threatening to infiltrate our cities with large numbers of fanatical, suicidal terrorists. All this occurred while Obama refused to attend security briefings by those whom now he blames.

What will it take before those in positions of high power step out of the shadows and perform their actual duty of protecting the nation, protecting it from the onslaught of illegal immigrants, disease, and violence? How can they protect the president when they refuse to protect the nation from the president himself?

Just how long can a samba line of stumbling incompetents get before the laughter finally stops?