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Nov Advocate 2017

812 THE ADVOCATE VOL. 75 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2017 the Second World War, where the US had turned 64 major cities to rubble and used the atomic bomb to destroy two others”.7 By the armistice in 1953, it had dropped over 600,000 tons of explosives on North Korea, including over 30,000 tons of napalm. Bombs and live ammunition continue to be unearthed in North Korea and occasionally maim or kill both those charged with dealing with them and ordinary citizens.8 The head of the Strategic Air Command in the Korean War claimed U.S. bombs “killed off 20 percent of the North’s population”; other estimates put it at twelve to fifteen per cent, which would be “a figure close to surpassing the proportion of Soviet citizens killed in World War II”.9 For a time during the Korean War the United States flew mock nuclear sorties toward North Korea from Okinawa. None of this is to excuse North Korea’s sordid regime, which Kim Il-sung continued to lead until his death in 1994 (and which his son Kim Jong-il led until his own death in 2011; Kim Jong-il was in turn succeeded by his youngest son, Kim Jong-un). However, to dismiss that regime as populated by cartoon cutouts is unwarranted. To suggest as President Trump has done that North Korea will be faced with destruction at U.S. hands shows a complete lack of awareness either of the history or of regime sensitivities, and is precisely the sort of statement that would underline to North Koreans the need to arm themselves in perceived self-defence. Returning to the 1951 story, Ray Bradbury’s “Rocket Man” is not a government leader but a father who travels into space and comes home to his wife and son, then does it again, and again. The father asks his son not to be a Rocket Man, “Because when you’re out there you want to be here, and when you’re here you want to be out there. Don’t start that. Don’t let it get hold of you … You don’t know what it is. Every time I’m out there I think, If I ever get back to Earth I’ll stay there; I’ll never go out again. But I go out, and I guess I’ll always go out.” The Rocket Man promises his son, however, that his next flight will be his last one before settling to a more sedentary life with his family back on Earth. President Trump is not exactly allowing room for his North Korean counterpart to back away from the cycle he has helped create. News reports suggest that Kim Jong-un may fear being killed by his own generals if he appears to be weak in face of what the U.S. president says. It would be difficult for anyone to know how to respond to President Trump’s jeers and threats without something more spectacular in actions and not words. With the example of Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow and death in Libya after surrendering his own nuclear capabilities, North Korea backing away to the point of yielding nuclear capacity seems entirely unrealistic even with the most responsible diplomacy. Whatever President Trump thinks he will


Nov Advocate 2017
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