Nuclear showdown: North Korea takes on the world – by Gordon G. Chang, approx. 225 pp. (publ. 2006)
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“Today he can hit most of the continent of Asia and even parts of the American homeland. In a few years–probably by the end of this decade–the diminutive despot will cast his shadow across the globe: He will be able to land a nuke on any point on the planet.”
Quiz: When do you think the aforementioned was said?
- Last week
- Last month
- Last year
- Several decades ago
The correct answer, believe it or not, is “D.”
It’s mind-boggling to realize that the above statement was not made describing current DPRK leader Kim Jong-Un by the present administration, but rather about his predecessor – and father – Kim Jong-Il, way back in the 1990s. It sheds serious light on how long we have been stuck in this pattern with North Korea and its leadership. No one in any U.S. presidential administration has been able to successfully “move the needle” at all. The reason given has been something to the effect of “…it’s complicated.” And, yes, it certainly is complicated.
What I liked about this book
I liked the way the author laid out the complex history of both North and South Korea and their relation to the situation we still wallow in today. Gordon Chang clearly “did his homework” on this work – presenting all of the events that have led up to today’s standoff.
What I learned from this book
It is jaw-dropping to learn that the U.S. and Korea never formally ended the Korean War in the 1950s. It has been passed around like a hot potato to each subsequent administration to “figure out” – supposedly with cooperation from border countries like China, South Korea and/or others. One thing the “historically-naïve reader” learns is that each country has differing interests in this “game.” Unfortunately, this contributes to providing North Korea with excuses to continue to build and refine its nuclear arsenal; while creating a “ping-pong effect” of international rhetoric to its advantage. As years turn into decades, the only outcome thus far seems to be a higher and higher probability of global nuclear annihilation.
What I disliked about this book
I disliked the fact that our leadership is still discussing the same unsuccessful tactics with the same associated countries without any real resolution. South Korea, Japan, Russia and China have all participated in one way or another. The entire scenario just seems wasteful, useless and irresponsible to the citizens relying on their leadership to safeguard their lives. It gives the world an impression that leadership seems “okay” with everything continuing as is (even though we know they are not, but rather mostly puzzled as much as we are). The optics persist and continue to look really bad.
To whom would I recommend this book
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who lives – or plans to live – in the following place(s): any location on planet earth!