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Nov Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 6 N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7 811 The United States—still the only country to have used a nuclear weapon in battle—and Russia each have the largest number of nuclear warheads, at around 6,800 and 7,000, respectively.2 Those numbers dwarf those of France (300), China3 (260), Britain (215), Pakistan (140), India (130) and Israel (80).4 Several of these countries were of course among those that allowed World War I to spiral out of a student’s assassination of an archduke who had once visited Banff and lived in a charming but out-of-the-way castle known for its hunting trophies and state-of-the-art elevator. Around 8.5 million soldiers and perhaps 13 million civilians were killed in or as a result of the subsequent conflict.5 It would probably not occur to President Trump that he does not necessarily have greater credentials to control a nuclear arsenal than do the leaders of some of the smaller countries he seems automatically to assume should not get them; this is not to advocate that more countries should become nuclearized, but simply to point out a (perhaps better-the-casethan not) double standard. In calling Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man”, President Trump has launched us somewhat into a game of charades. One suspects that Trump is envisioning an action figure that he keeps in a drawer in the Oval Office. Beyond that, is it a song? Yes, by Elton John, dating from heady days of space exploration in 1972. Is it a story? Yes, by Ray Bradbury, from 1951. Bradbury’s story had nothing to do with the Korean War but happens to have been published during a year in which that war was at its height. After Japan’s withdrawal from the Korean Peninsula in 1945, the United States and the Soviet Union divided it, and ultimately came to have the authoritarian Syngman Rhee in the south and the Red Army–trained Kim Ilsung in the north. Kim Il-sung was the grandfather of North Korea’s present leader, Kim Jong-un, and the haircut for which the grandson is much mocked is apparently one of the means by which he seeks to underline their resemblance. In 1950 Kim Il-sung invaded the south, and a United Nations force6—the Soviet Union missed vetoing the move as it had been boycotting the Security Council over the United Nations’ stance toward the People’s Republic of China (the United Nations had not replaced the Nationalist Chinese delegation upon Mao Zedong’s ascendancy)—pushed back north. The United Nations force was dominated and led by the United States, and whatever the legal or moral rights and wrongs of its ends or means, inflicted horrific damage on North Koreans. The United States Air Force was to target “everything that moved” and indeed swept away cities, factories, schools, hospitals, homes and dams; the Air Force itself “estimated that North Korea’s destruction was proportionately greater than that of Japan in


Nov Advocate 2017
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