Nov 29, 2010
The North Korean Problem
North Korea has once again launched an unprovoked attack against South Korea. Last week, the North fired a barrage of artillery shells at the island of Yeonpyeong, killing four people and injuring dozens more.
In March, North Korea attacked a South Korean patrol boat and killed forty-six sailors. The North denied it was involved in the sinking, but investigators found overwhelming evidence pointing to a strike from a North Korean torpedo.
It is easy to see a clear pattern of escalation on the part of North Korea. For several years, Kim Jong Il alarmed his neighbors by either conducting a series of missile tests or by working on a nuclear program. The inability of the world powers to confront North Korea's reckless behavior has caused us to reach a point that Kim Jong Il is willing to kill people to draw attention to himself or his future successor, his son, Kim Jong Un.
Dr. Michael Stoil is the head of the political science department at the University of Guam. He says that this most recent attack has a lot to do with the succession of Kim Jong Il. The North Korean dictator is getting old and is looking to have his twenty-six-year-old son, Kim Jong Un, take his place.
“If Kim Jong-il and his son visited the artillery unit and were briefed on the South Korean naval exercises, they are likely to have given final approval on the bombardment two days later,” said Yu Ho-yeol, professor of North Korean studies at Korea University.
“The North must have propagandized the deadly artillery firing as Jong-un’s achievement to help him gain a stronger grip on the military and bolster its solidarity.”
The U.S. is playing a very dangerous game in always trying to maintain the peace. In the two times that North Korea attacked the South, America has only offered words of condemnation. President Obama will need to do far better than a military exercise and a ruling in the UN Security Council if he wants to get Kim Jong-Il’s attention.
We should have already learned that North Korea cannot be trusted. Past diplomatic efforts with North Korea have proven to be a waste of time and money. In the 1980s, for agreeing to freeze its nuclear program, Pyongyang was given two light-water nuclear reactors to generate electricity and, until the reactors were operational, five hundred thousand metric tons of oil annually (nearly half its annual needs). The United States taxpayers helped pay for these lavish gifts.
During the years North Korea was receiving oil and food assistance, it was secretly completing two reactors capable of yielding weapons-grade fuel. When North Korea announced in 2004 that it had nuclear capability, it became clear that Pyongyang had played us for fools.
Just a few days ago, inspectors where shocked to find that North Korea has built a sophisticated uranium enrichment plant. A couple years ago, the Western media proudly showed images of North Korea destroying a plant used to make plutonium. At the time, I had stated that this was just a ruse, and now we all know the truth.
This weekend, I watched a video on YouTube entitled: "Explorer: Inside North Korea." It was extremely unsettling in how it showed the average North Koreans are in a state of total mind control. They worship the Kim Jongs as if they were gods, and the North Korean military would rage war to the point of committing national suicide if the “Great Leaders” ordered them to do so.
The stand-off between North and South Korea may eventually end very badly. There is no direct reference to North Korea in the Bible, but there are clues about what might happen. We are told that the kings of the East will invade the Middle East. The name seems to imply that the whole region will be unified into vast army of two hundred million soldiers.
War is likely, because you can depend on the depravity of dictators. Saddam Hussein faced a coalition with vastly superior firepower, and yet he still refused to back down. Because North Korea is a land ruled by evil, its leader will eventually give into the most evil of thoughts. We may be witnessing the final stage of this madness.
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).
Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 2
Terrible times like no other in American history lurk somewhere in the future, according to FOX News Channel’s Glenn Beck. He is joined in his stated apprehension for what is coming by thousands of American citizens. Many of these are fear-filled Christians who look to Beck and others to inform them of the proposed terrors to come, and to tell them what to do about it. I continue to hear from some of these through email on a weekly, even daily, basis.
I would like us to look briefly at developments across today’s socioeconomic landscape, thus to examine as analytically and as fairly as possible the portentous matters that give Beck and others fodder for their doomsday scenarios.
Economics-minded forecasters great and small watched the stock market bubble build during the days preceding the Lehman Brothers collapse of 2008, speculating wildly what the bubble’s burst might bring. That financial aneurysm, they determined, would certainly rupture--and, of course, it did. Governmental insanity created by ultra-liberal politicians saw to it that people with champagne tastes and beer drinkers’ budgets for years received home loans they didn’t have much more than a prayer of ever repaying.
We are now familiar with the terms “Freddie Mac" and "Fannie Mae." We are equally acquainted with names such as Barney Frank, Charles Schumer, and others, who--in the name of “fairness” to those who couldn’t afford housing like the more affluent--demanded these be given the loans anyway, despite the fact the recipients didn’t have the income or collateral to support that level of debt.
Rather than govern the housing industry responsibly, the elected officials invested with the responsibility to oversee things, in concert with their Wall Street cohorts, foolishly threw caution to the fiscal winds. A banking crisis of unprecedented magnitude was thus created, with the housing bubble rupture setting in motion bank failures and threats of even greater crises.
Calls for massive bailouts to avert what the president of the United States and others in government and media speciously screamed would otherwise be world-rending calamity brought about the most devastating crisis of all. Trillions of dollars were, in effect, created out of thin air by the Federal Reserve Bank to save entities "too big to fail.”
The totally irresponsible sleight-of-hand accomplished only the creation of an exploding national debt that most likely can never be repaid. Decisions made by some of the same people who help create the problems strapped on the back of American citizens financial burdens with which generations far into the future will have to deal.
The resulting economic uncertainty deepened an abyss-like recession that more soundly thought-out measures would have surely lessened in severity. Jobs, as we know, are being lost; businesses are closing their doors; deflation or hyper-inflation--the experts can’t figure which—might collapse the American economy within a near-time frame (which the experts can’t predict, either).
The stability of the global economy hangs in the balance, with the other nations and their monetary gurus wondering about the financial fate of the U.S. and its all-important dollar. And, make no mistake: Under present world economic structures, the fate of the American dollar is absolutely critical.
Enter Glenn Beck at the tip of the gloom iceberg. And "iceberg" is a viable term here because the things he and others are forewarning are indeed chilling. Statements the TV and radio show host make almost daily send shivers down the spine of many of his viewers and listeners. He says things like (I paraphrase), “Change is coming, and when it happens, you won’t recognize your country. You will wake up next day, and it will no longer be America as you’ve known it. And, it will happen just that fast. I can’t tell you when that transformation is coming, but it's coming.”
Beck forecasts the same astonishing change for the entire world in his proposed overnight transformational moment. His words sound almost out of the pages of Bible prophecy from the Pre-Trib view, don’t they? But the change he predicts is tied almost exclusively to the earthly, not to the ethereal--almost, but not entirely, as we will soon find.
Economic collapse, thus societal rearrangements of apocalyptic dimension, is at the heart of his fearful forecast. He implies that we will, perhaps, awaken that morning to a monetary cataclysm–our dollar as worthless as the deutsche marks of the Weimar republic of Germany just before Hitler’s meteoric rise to power in the 1930s. The FOX program host often raises the real probability, in his view, that inflation, which is on the rise, will skyrocket to astronomical levels when the great transformation he fears takes place.
He gives some key commodity future dollar amounts for what he claims the experts tell him will be exponential price rises. A small bag of sugar could be as much as $60 or $70. One ear of corn could be $11 or higher. A loaf of bread will likely be $24. Just under a pound of coffee could be $77. Fifteen ounces of orange juice will likely be $45, according to Beck’s forecasters.
A Hershey chocolate bar, standard size, will cost $15.50, his experts say. Now, that is certainly a crisis in the making if it is an accurate prognostication. Chocolate lovers I know would probably join the rioters Beck believes will rage in the streets once cuts to federal government give-away programs have to be made.
Next week, we will think a bit on what a changed America might look like if truly effective remedies to deal with Mr. Beck’s fearful vision of a new socioeconomic paradigm are ever implemented.