Kim Jong-il’s contribution to World Peace was two days late, but bless him nonetheless, he did his best.
The inexplicable euphoria after the G20 non-event was already dissipating when excitement returned to the air with a swish and a bang: North Korea brought the post-party party in Prague alive when it fired its PyongYangPartyPooper II rocket and it actually took off!
Never mind that the guy who was meant to fix the satellite communications bit on the front forgot his screwdriver, nor that Kim Jong-il’s contribution to the Global Credit Crisis and World Peace was two days late for the high jinx in London, but bless him nonetheless, he did his best.
Anyway the rocket had reached its third phase, blasting out revolutionary songs into the ether – that’s the communication bit – when it inadvertently plunged into the sea and sank, but the music kept on playing, so in North Korean terms it was a successful launch.
Was Kim playing his old 78 rpm vinyls on his father’s wind-up gramophone, we wondered, transmitting it by his latest military public address tannoy system?
Kim Jong-il is not stupid though, it’s that he’s just not like the rest of us. First, he didn’t want to deal with Dubya and end up as the longest chapter in the memoirs of America’s worst ever President, as the only example of a policy that actually worked, which is entirely understandable.
Second, he has noticed a positive attitude to the disarmament talks, but especially the increased amount of money on the table every time he acts like Guy Fawkes and threatens to blow up democracy.
Instead of painting the ridiculous name of his latest rocket down the fuselage, what he meant to go down the side of this latest upgrade was a special message to Obama himself: “Hey Buddy, can you spare us a cool $1,000,000,000,000?”
Kim, you see, reads the news on the only internet site allowed in his lacuna of a country, and has been noticing of late the increasing size of Uncle Sam’s bail-outs, and so his price has just gone up, well, like a rocket.
Obama, realising that G20 was just a photo jaunt, positioned himself in G20 week to the issue of reversing nuclear arms proliferation, and he carried a big stick: the whole US nuclear arsenal is his bargaining chip.
“Did you say a trillion dollars, Kim? How’s about a billion, and we’ll put ten times that amount of nukes into the Smithsonian in the Kim Jong-il wing, all paid for by tax-efficient donations. What d’yer say to that, Buster?”
There’s no doubt that money will talk in the end, but that’s not the end of the problem. How to steer North Korea into a full reunion with South Korea is the first issue and it could get nasty yet: there are well over a million troops guarding the DMZ between the north and south, and 35,000 of them are Americans.
The war they fought in the 1950s is still not officially over, in case anyone had forgotten. Kim Jong-il is ill, there’s no doubt about it, but Kim has would-be successors in the army, you see, a likelier bunch of assassins than you could ever hope to encounter.
Then the example of North Korea points up the real problem beyond that, namely the fact that nuclear and rocket technology and components are in circulation, from Russian and Pakistani scientists, and involving Iran and a whole lot of other go-betweens.
One thing is clear, however, the US is locked into a real covert war that is going to cost billions and not be easy in the winning of it.
The last time America was plagued by Depression, it was accompanied by an increase in world threats that burst into conflict and set the world on fire and sent the deficits reeling. The worst time to go to war is when the Treasury is empty, as Obama must be ruefully realising.
His is the most difficult post on the planet ever, and it just got a little bit tougher, and is about to get a lot more expensive.
And it’s Iran and Pakistan that are the real problem, especially the latter, where the recent terrorist atrocities by Al Qaeda are aimed at eventual seizure and control of the country’s arsenal of 60 to 100 nuclear ICBMs: Pakistan just cannot be allowed to disintegrate into partition for this reason alone and the Punjab holds the key as the biggest province.
Another problem in the in-tray Obama didn’t need right now, as his administration comes out with its first budget for $3.5 trillion, alongside a demand for a supplementary $83.0 billion for the two Bush wars, is the increasing and vulnerable exposure to terrorism at home from abroad, as MI5 so pointedly warned Britain about.
But don’t worry about about Kim-not-so-Dim and his threat to resume its nuclear developments: he’s bribe-able, and he’ll even let off a rocket for you at a price.