Now this post isn’t about ‘fake’ news, or op-eds decrying whichever side in the ongoing media wars that swamp all the mainstream outlets, but more the result of my nasty suspicious little mind. I’ve lived too long on this Earth to be anything less than cynical and as an investor, cynicism is a very useful tool. So it is with me.
There are lots of stories in the news about Iran preparing to give the USA a ‘slap in the face‘. Which looks like an act of monstrous ingratitude considering the bundle of cash Obama sent them special delivery over the much vaunted Iran Nuclear Deal. Why would this be? Weren’t the USA trying to be nice to the Iranians? Maybe it’s time to turn that sand into glass.
But hang on. Considering recent attempts to improve relations between Iran and the USA there’s more to this situation than meets the eye. Especially when I did a little googling of my own and found that the Iranians are having severe internal troubles. In one instance recently they deployed large numbers of elite units to Ahvaz in the agricultural region of Khuzestan where massive riots have broken out over a collapse in public services. And Iran being the type of state it is, is looking to do the old “Look! Over there!” trick by blaming the eternal enemy, the USA, which is the whipping boy for all Iran’s troubles. Nothing to do with Iran’s rulers cocking it up at all. Some sources are talking about another internal ‘Green Revolution’ against the hard line Islamic state. The one in 2009 failed, but what about this time round? Oil revenues are way down, so how are the Iranians going to fund this war-talk?
Similarly with North Korea and their threats to drop a nuclear bomb on the USA. If their missiles worked reliably and could carry such a warhead without the Yanks shooting it down. Now flip the news and consider the following. The Chinese, long North Korea’s biggest coal customer are pissed off over the Koreans bumping off Kim Jong Un’s older half brother, who was under Chinese protection and have been stopping shipments of coal at the border. No coal sales (for the rest of the year) mean no money, no wages and no food for all the soldiers that the North Koreans need to keep their top down militaristic state staggering along. Which in turn means economic collapse and somebody, no names, no pack drill, might just end up getting stomped to death by an angry mob while his bodyguards are having a suspiciously long tea break (or even his own bodyguards). So the North Korean state has to divert attention from the privations of their population. Nowadays I look at these repeated threats of a missile attack as being just North Korea’s funny little way of putting out the begging bowl for foreign aid. Essentially saying “We’ve got a missile and a bomb, honestly. Send money, we’re broke.”
Thinking about it, perhaps President Trump should be talking to the Chinese about letting the current North Korean regime collapse and maybe negotiate the withdrawal of US troops from the DMZ and South Korea with some form of ‘hands off’ agreement from both sides while a reunited Korea rebuilds and gets the North Koreans used to a better standard of living. The smart move would be to let the Chinese gain ‘face’ (Which is more important to them than money) and lose a troublesome neighbour. Then apart from the row over the Spratly’s, perhaps there could be a cooling down of tensions in the region. At least as far as the Chinese and Americans are concerned. The recent dispatch of an aircraft carrier to the region could then be turned into a ‘goodwill visit’ and allow the Chinese to have a field day trying to steal some of the USA’s less valuable military secrets. It’s a thought.
Mrs S and I often discuss these matters over our weekend breakfasts, and find it useful to look at the news as a ‘join the dots’ puzzle, because while a lot of people get ‘offended’ by superficial stuff then run around like headless chickens with their knickers rammed up their arses, the smarter folk take a breath, step back and try and get a feel for the broader picture, which is often very different from the one many news outlets would have you see.
The X-files were right about one thing, the truth is out there, but it’s not about aliens or strange phenomena. No, it’s far more interesting and profitable than that.
Update: The North Korean regime are now openly mocking China, as well as pissing off the relatively friendly Malaysians. This may be a great miscalculation on their part. China will not like losing face to these upstarts, and I can already hear the squeaking of economic screws tightening from all the way across the Pacific. This may be peppered with gunshots as the NK’s lash out (A very bad move) leading to a Chinese invasion. The NK’s may even have a go at the South (an even worse move), but burning their bridges with their only real protector is about as dumb as it gets.
So; what to do? That’s one for the military and political tacticians with a nod to the UN security council. Let the Chinese invade to the 38th Parallel? By negotiated arrangement of course. Then let the Chinese do their thing and install their own new puppet of a civilian administration. Add a little Chinese style capitalism, some inbound western investment and leave to brew for a decade.
Outcomes? Short term; very bad for the North Korean populace, so no change there. Medium term; very bad for the current North Korean regime. Which I don’t think anyone will shed any tears over. Long term; better for North Korea as it opens up to the greater world and finally discovers, like China, the delights capitalism can offer.
From the comments; just loved Elenamitchells nickname for NK dictator Kim Jong Un as ‘Spoonbanger’. Very apt.