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22 May 2010

Kim might be responsible?

There are unconfirmed reports that US intelligence believes Kim Jong-il is responsible for the attack on the Cheonan. It says that it is based on the internal dynamics of the state, rather than hard evidence, but they believe that the sinking was intended to help shore up the succession of Kim's son.

I don't buy the logic, but I'll admit to not having access to the same classified material. The idea is that standing up to the West will reestablish the strength of the Kim image, and help the son take power. Moreover, there is some evidence that Kim Jong-il congratulated the

If so, it might well make the Kims the dumbest dynasty on Earth. Would it be worth it to risk war with the greatest naval powers in the world, to insure that your son takes the throne?

21 May 2010

North Korea threatens war?

A war with North Korea would not be a picnic for the US or South Korea, but it would be absolutely suicidal for North Korea to go through with it. The forces of the US/ROK alliance are vastly better trained, and not remotely malnourished (link is in Korean, I had to use a Google translator). Moreover, the US is not using WWII era tanks and equipment.

At this point, I'm most worried about the possibility of miscalculation, particularly by a low-level North Korean military official (which strikes me as the most likely cause for the Cheonan sinking). All signs point to the breakdown of order in North Korea, and it would be very easy for someone to escalate it even further.

Fortunately, it's not likely to happen the other way. Here's hoping that the US and RoK can keep this from blowing up worse.

Track of the Day

I haven't seen Glee yet, but this made me very happy. I love the song, and I love Neil Patrick Harris.

20 May 2010

Fighting in Madagascar

I think just about everyone has positive feelings for Madagascar, if only because of the (not very realistic) movies. But, sadly, the political crisis there that began in January of last year has continued, and now there is open fighting in the streets of Antananarivo between different factions of the security forces.

One question I have, and I cannot find anywhere, is whether the leader of the government forces (Col. Richard Ravalomanana) is related to the ousted President (Marc Ravalomanana). The dissidents seem to be in favor of Marc Ravalomanana, or at least against the man who deposed him (Andy Rajoelina).

In terms of broader implications, there probably are not many. Madagascar is rather isolated, and it is unlikely that the unrest there will spread to any neighbors. However, I hope that the upcoming elections offer a way for all sides to stand down, but the past does not suggest that it will. Marc Ravalomanana won election that way, and was deposed by those who were upset. If Rajoelina's side does not win the election (Rajoelina himself is not running), another coup could happen.

We'll have to wait and see.