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North Korea Threatens South Korea Over Christmas Lights

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the you're-a-mean-one-mr.-jong-il dept.

Christmas Cheer 441

K7DAN writes "North Korea warned South Korea on Sunday of 'unexpected consequences' if Seoul displays Christmas lights near the tense border, and vowed to retaliate for what it called 'psychological warfare.' From the article: 'The tree-shaped, 30 metre-high steel structure on Aegibong hill - some 3km (2 miles) from the border - was illuminated by thousands of small light bulbs last year. It could be seen from the North's major city of Kaesong across the border, according to media reports. Pyongyang has previously accused Seoul of using the tree to spread the Christian message to people inside the secular state.'"

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441 comments

Pot, kettle, black (5, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342362)

what it called 'psychological warfare.'

Big words for a country that built an entire town [wikipedia.org] on their side of the border, just for propaganda.

Re:Pot, kettle, black (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342562)

what it called 'psychological warfare.'

Big words for a country that built an entire town [wikipedia.org] on their side of the border, just for propaganda.

Yeah, well think about it. The government of North Korea is such an evil bunch of feckwits they can't even get coal for Christmas.

More detail (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342640)

It is not Seoul or the South Korean government that display those Christmas trees.

They're 45% without religion and 23% Buddhist.

Those Christmas trees belong to Roman Catholics (~10%), who are allowed to have them - by the government.

I wish people would also distinguish more between a) Country, b) Population, c) Government (even though some still believe b) is responsible for c)

Re:More detail (4, Insightful)

sgbett (739519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343270)

I wish more people could distinguish more between christmas and christianity ;)

Re:Pot, kettle, black (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342712)

Yes just like the flagpole the South Koreans erected first? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daeseong-dong

Please you can go back and forth on this mindless drivel for days.

Re:Pot, kettle, black (1)

TC Wilcox (954812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343286)

Yes just like the flagpole the South Koreans erected first? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daeseong-dong [wikipedia.org]

Please you can go back and forth on this mindless drivel for days.

Are you really trying to compare North Korea threatening "unexpected consequences" with building a large flag pole? Disclaimer - I lived as a civilian for two years in South Korea and have a lot of love for that country.

Here we go again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342992)

Please stop using the words "country", "nation", and especially "we" to describe the actions of government. It should be clear today more than ever that the people who run the business of government rarely speak or act on behalf of the people they rule over. Hell, it's more of a bad joke than anything.

If the government and the people were the same thing, then logically, government wouldn't need guns -- and the special right to use them as a business model.

OMG (4, Funny)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342366)

King Jong Il is the grinch! What a twist!

Re:OMG (5, Funny)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342462)

Yep... if the grinch had nuclear weapons and was bat-shit insane.

Re:OMG (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342542)

Please, be fair: The Grinch's nuclear program is purely deterrent in nature; and is both a necessary and perfectly proportionate response when facing the threat of Santa, an absolutist God-King known for his massive industrial bunker complexes, extensive use of slave labor, incredibly extensive worldwide espionage apparatus(notorious for spying on children and compiling enemies lists, as well as its facility for bribery and corruption), and the ability to deliver an arbitrary payload to every target on earth in under 24 hours...

Re:OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342600)

Actually thats pretty damn scary.

Re:OMG (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342840)

"This is Red One, calling Gift Command, come in Gift Command."
"We copy, Red One.
"Faux icicle lights in visual range, Gift Command, request permission to engage...
"Target confirmed naughty per holiday HUMINT, codename Jolly Elf, permission granted.

"Gift Command, the package has entered the chimney, repeat: the package has entered the chimney. All Hail Santa!"

Why... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342378)

Why does the world continue to pay any attention at all to north korea...

That is giving them what the nutjob wants.

Re:Why... (4, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342440)

Why does the world continue to pay any attention at all to north korea...

Because of Afghanistan and other places we ignored having a tendency toward biting us in the ass from time to time.

I'm also pretty sure that Japan is quite interested in what North Korea does, given the proximity of the two countries and the cruise missiles that NK has developed...

Re:Why... (0, Troll)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342558)

cruise missiles that NK has developed...

Technically ballistic. Also we are in range. I'm surprised no one has launched an empty one or a dud (thinking optimistically) at the continental USA just for the LULZ. Bonus points if you launch from a mobile launcher parked right outside one of our empire outposts... Its not like we're going to respond by nuking our own guys in the green zone...

Probably we're busy writing patriot act II and once we're done, we'll launch it ourselves, at ourselves, and then propose the new act which suspiciously just had the ink dry on it before the "attack". I'd look to a couple months before elections, if it appears Obama would lose. Thats probably the most effective scheduling. Remind me not to visit CA in September of 2012.

Re:Why... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342578)

Because of Afghanistan and other places we ignored having a tendency toward biting us in the ass

It wouldn't have been so bad had we really ignored Afghanistan and not had the CIA train Osama bin Laden to fight off "Teh Redz!"

Re:Why... (4, Interesting)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343152)

Bin Laden wasn't trained by the CIA. (In fact, very little of the mujaheddin was trained by the CIA, as the CIA mostly provided intelligence, weapons, and funding.) It's been pretty well established that he brought his own funding and later relied on funding from places like Saudi Arabia. With very few exceptions, he neither trusted Western powers nor did he want their assistance, believing that to do so was to accept help from heathens. Interviews with him by those outside of Muslim circles were rare but telling in how they were approached and conducted.

The mujaheddin was a complex network of resistance forces, and bin Laden was but one very small part of it.

Re:Why... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342772)

Only because we wont do it right.

If we did massive carpet bombing of areas Afganastan would have been a 100 day war.

The problem is we choose to do a "friendly" war. The enemy has no problem killing civillians and children, and we tip toe carefully trying to not hurt anyone. This makes it very one sided.

If we said, screw it... "WE will start bombing the hell out of every country that has Al- Quieda in it, let god sort out the innocent from the guilty." It would do two things.

1 - solve the "terrorist" problem.
2 - stop any country or group from screwing with us again. IF we act like a pitbull of the world, quiet until poked at, then we kill your children and families, a lot of the problems would go away.

Re:Why... (5, Insightful)

DeathToBill (601486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342852)

I have modpoints, but I'm just at a loss to know what to call this. There is no 'bat-shit insane' mod response.

Re:Why... (4, Insightful)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342998)

It would also make us universally-despised by just about everyone on Earth, and the moral equivalent of Genghis Khan. In case you've forgotten, we're supposed to be the good guys. We make occasional mistakes, and occasionally a psychopath slips through the chain of command, but for the most part, we do try to be a force for good. It might be mostly out of enlightened self-interest rather than genuine altruism, but at the end of the day, most of us can go to sleep at night with a fairly clean national conscience.

Team America: World Police is obviously satire, but it's a lot closer to the truth than most of us really like to admit.

Re:Why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342624)

Because, technically, that batshit, ronrey wakko could actually obliterate a country that is meaningfully contributing to the world. Acknowledging his antics from time to time satisfies his ego while keeping him from doing something like paving South Korea with bombs.

Someone call Bill O'Reilly (5, Funny)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342380)

For the first time ever, the term "war on Christmas" is actually accurate.

Re:Someone call Bill O'Reilly (5, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342478)

Be fair... there have been previous Wars on Christmas. Puritans banned it for a time in England, considering the holiday two full of Catholic and Pagan influences and having objections to celebrating the solumn occasion of Christ's birth with drunkenness and partying. Then Puritans banned it again in the New World later on, for exactly the same reasons. Some Islamic countries continue to ban it, fearing that celebrating even the secular elements of Christmas could open their culture up to Christian influences. There have been plenty of Wars on Christmas... usually by Christians.

Re:Someone call Bill O'Reilly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342552)

Damn, puritans were no fun!

Re:Someone call Bill O'Reilly (2, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343028)

We tend to pay too much heed to the number of people killed, and too little to decreasing the quality of life, when doing charts of "who was the evilest". If you add up the joy of life destroyed by Christianity, it doesn't take a big weighting to put Stalin, Hitler and Mao together to shame. And Islam is a close runner-up.

Re:Someone call Bill O'Reilly (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342756)

Someone doesnt remember Santa's 1972 armed invasion of Greenland and the resulting worldwide backlash.

odd all around (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342396)

While the North's reaction sounds predictably paranoid, the article seems to hint that some sort of propaganda is the purpose of the tree, as evidenced by whether it's lit or not being correlated with thawing versus tension of relations. I'm not sure how effective it'd be at spreading a Christian message specifically, but maybe it's intended to spread a sort of generic, "look how awesome it is just across the border" message?

Re:odd all around (1, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342448)

Indeed. It's not exactly a very Christian celebration [new2torah.com] anyway. Though it is nice to celebrate every once in a while.

Re:odd all around (5, Informative)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342884)

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], as well as a recent talk on this that I heard, disagree with the Linus's origin of the trees. The christmas tree apparently originated in Germany (or perhaps eastern Europe), and has either unknown or distinctly christian meaning-- for the Germans, it was apparently related to the story of Adam and Eve (paradise tree).

Apparently, the Germans brought it over to the US in the latter half of the 19th century, where it took root (haha) and became an "american tradition".

I assume what you are referring to would be "sacred oaks" or "asherah poles", which almost certainly would NOT have been fir, and I highly doubt that christians would have embraced THOSE for christmas given the clear biblical attacks on such concepts. It IS true, however, that Christmas was not really celebrated until the 4th century, and is more a Catholic tradition than it is a Biblical event: Christ's day of birth is neither recorded nor celebrated until then, and thus noone really knows what his day of birth was (Ive heard "probably mid-september").

Mostly agree with Linus however, that the meaning of Christmas is already heavily obscured, and has for the most part become either a celebration of togetherness or of consumerism, depending the family. For many Christians, the 'original' meaning (to celebrate Christ's birth) is still celebrated in various ways-- hence Christmas services, carols, and other religious activities.

Re:odd all around (2)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343178)

I assume what you are referring to would be "sacred oaks" or "asherah poles", which almost certainly would NOT have been fir, and I highly doubt that christians would have embraced THOSE for christmas given the clear biblical attacks on such concepts.

Are you really making a distinction between the type of tree? Wherever the idea of a Christmas tree happened to come from, it idea still reeks of paganism, and the reference to Jeremiah 10:1-5 seems spot on.

Re:odd all around (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343258)

If everyone else is doing it, it must be okay! Clearly most people didn't learn anything from Noah's ark. 95% of my family is Christian (I used to be, but am no longer) - I'm wondering about showing them this cartoon and seeing how they squirm their minds around it just so that they can keep their shiny tree..

Re:odd all around (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342864)

Of course it's propaganda. You don't light up 3 massive "trees" on the border of your sworn enemy without the intent to piss them off, demoralize their population, encourage defections, sow discord, promote religion etc. All the while pretending to be wishing the North a happy christmas. It's for the lulz basically.

Re:odd all around (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38343012)

Agree with the

but maybe it's intended to spread a sort of generic, "look how awesome it is just across the border" message?

I mean, if you can afford to build and light such massive (30 m) structures (steel) and light them (electricity) then doesn't that sound a whole lot better than living in a place where you have no heat or food? I think it's not christian propaganda, but politico-economic propaganda.

Go christmas lights (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342418)

I don't think I've ever seen such an uplifting tale about christmas lights before. From tacky to beautiful, whoever thought ruffling North Korea was in the cards?

Re:Go christmas lights (0)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342630)

And I found it to be the first uplifting story about North Korea. You mean.... there is no Christmas there? Shit, theres at least a couple of weeks every year where that makes cutting my hair in accordance with the socialist lifestyle sound appealing.

Get with the times, man... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342456)

I know that North Korea is fashionably behind the times, juche and all; but seriously, this is a bit much.

The idea that Christmas trees are a symbol of Christianity, rather than some freaky pagan stuff, stolen for a while by Christians, and now firmly entrenched as a coniferous altar of Mammon for youth of all ages and faiths, is patently absurd.

Now, it is unlikely that pro-consumerist psychological warfare will be any more popular with our fabulously haired friend; but he needn't worry about the spread of any but the worldliest of indulgences...

Re:Get with the times, man... (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342704)

freaky pagan stuff, stolen for a while by Christians, and now firmly entrenched as a coniferous altar of Mammon for youth of all ages and faiths

I think you hit the nail square on the head. Being a communist county, the mammon-worship is probably what they're most upset about, far more than the Christianity when they're athiests. Why should an athiest fear a god? It makes no sense. It does make sense that a communist country would fear commerce.

Re:Get with the times, man... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343032)

Why should an athiest fear a god?

Indeed. Ask any American atheist organization why they seem to fear God-- well, only the Judeo-Christian one, apparently-- so much.

Re:Get with the times, man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38343224)

The American atheist's I've read (the loud ones who write stuff) don't fear gods. They do, however, have a problem with goddy people.

Re:Get with the times, man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38343248)

Why should an athiest fear a god?

But North Korea is not your typical atheistic country. It has a leadership cult. Kim Jung Il/Sung/whichever is to be worshipped and they are the closest thing to a God North Koreans know about.

Re:Get with the times, man... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342920)

and now firmly entrenched as a coniferous altar of Mammon for youth of all ages and faiths, is patently absurd.

Not everyone celebrates it the same way, but thats not really the point. The tree itself IS a christian symbol [wikipedia.org], and regardless of whether you agree with THAT historical data it represents a custom in christian societies. North Korea wants nothing to do with foreign religions, cultures, or traditions, which is why they are reacting like this.

They're just jealous (4, Insightful)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342474)

'Cause they don't HAVE any light when the sun's not shining.

N Korea at night:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/dprk/dprk-dark.htm [globalsecurity.org]

Re:They're just jealous (1, Interesting)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342902)

North Korea is the best Korea! If you must have a light on during the night at least don't shine it toward the sky.

Re:They're just jealous (1, Flamebait)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343288)

They're not jealous, they are green and not wasteful like the rest of the world. North Korea is single handedly fighting global warming and you still manage to criticize them?

attack of the trees! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342480)

wow, for all the money we spend in the "cold" against North Korea, we could have just put up a few dozen Christmas trees and watched the revolution that will follow!!!

Wimpy (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342488)

Thats pretty wimpy psychological warfare, as decorating pine trees in the living room and shopping and fighting people on black friday and singing about red nosed reindeer is hard core capitalist worship, its not christian at all. I don't even know how you visually "do" christian christmas worship other than something like a 200 foot tall "nativity scene" which unfortunately makes no sense to someone not already versed in christian theology (my son, when he was very little, called it "the farmers", too little to know any better, yet +1 insightful as it was, after all, in a barn scene...)

Now real christian psychological warfare would be a larger than life Easter scene of the last supper with the table unbiblically piled with tons and tons of yummy food... most of the NK either are currently starving or recently were starving so a big food display is going to rile them all up to no end. Maybe they do that? Waving a bunch of food in front of a starving man with a gun is probably unwise, maybe its going too far?

Re:Wimpy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342980)

It's pretty good psychological warfare if you are freezing to death in the dark, subsisting on grass, and can now see your brothers across the border lighting up the sky with electric lights, partying and gorging themselves on turkey.

Re:Wimpy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38343162)

Now real christian psychological warfare would be a larger than life Easter scene of the last supper with the table unbiblically piled with tons and tons of yummy food...

Real Christian psychological warfare? That would be to use the cross for its intended purpose.

Whats going to happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342500)

When they shell the Christmas Tree to extinguish the lights?

I hope the S. Koreans aren't going to bus loads of small children to the tree for cute christmas photos and get caught by a deluge of N. Korean irritability.

So ronery (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342502)

They are just jealous because they are "so ronery and sad"...

Since when was Christmas a religious holiday? (1, Funny)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342504)

I thought it was about booze, presents, parties, shopping and kitchy pictures of snowmen and santa?

Re:Since when was Christmas a religious holiday? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342726)

North Korea is also opposed to all of those things.

Re:Since when was Christmas a religious holiday? (0)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342750)

Christmas never had anything to do with religion. It was made up from the very beginning, and some people wanted to associate this time to celbrate the birth of Jesus Christ (which no one knows if or when he was born). Christmas turned from a religous myth into a shopping holiday.

Re:Since when was Christmas a religious holiday? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342970)

Your first and last sentences are mutually contradictory. How could Christmas have turned from a religious myth into a shopping holiday, as you assert in your last sentence, if it never had anything to do with religion in the first place, which is what you asserted in your first?

That the date was chosen independently of anything associated with the event that it celebrates does not diminish that the celebration itself has plenty to do with religion, even if the exact day of the year does not.

Re:Since when was Christmas a religious holiday? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342778)

No, just shopping.

Re:Since when was Christmas a religious holiday? (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342898)

Christmas has been a religious holiday since the 4th century. The precise date of the event it celebrates was (and is) unknown, and several theories about why December 25th was selected exist, including, but not limited to, attempting to offset the Roman solstice celebrations that were occurring at around the same time of year. Even so, however, Christmas is definitely a religious holiday, even if the date itself does not have any historical significance tied to the event it celebrates, and its celebration as a religious festival far predates any of what you've described above.

Re:Since when was Christmas a religious holiday? (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343056)

and its celebration as a religious festival far predates any of what you've described above.

No, as you stated, Christians assigned their birthday celebration near the solstice so they could co-opt the Roman Saturnalia festivities, which already involved booze, parties, presents and shopping.

The Christian's strategy was generally successful, but they certainly shouldn't be surprised when it backfires because people continue their partying around the solstice for the same reasons they always have. If Christians really don't like it, they should move the birthday again to a more somber date.

Not a good place to be (4, Interesting)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342506)

I was stationed near the DMZ when I was in the ARMY. It's a very dangerous and volatile place just waiting to explode! The North Koreans are crazy; you never know what they will do. If a war breaks out between North and South, it will be the bloodiest and worse catastrophe in human history!

Re:Not a good place to be (0, Flamebait)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342774)

If a war breaks out between North and South, it will be the bloodiest and worse catastrophe in human history!

You haven't studied much history, have you? Ever hear of a little tussle called WWII, where millions of civilians were bombed, gassed, tortured, irradiated, and shot, where a a guy tried to exterminate an entire race of people?

The Korean war was a snowball fight between two five year olds in comparison.

Captain Taco, please come back (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342512)

News for who?

I am sorry, if this gets me banned, it's worth it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342524)

Hans Brix? Oh, no. Oh, herro, great to see you again, Hans.

Mr. II, I was supposed to be allowed to inspect your palace today, and your guards won't let me into certain areas.

Hans, Hans, Hans. We've been through this a dozen times. I don't have any weapons of mass destruction, okay, Hans?

Then let me look around so I can ease the U.N.'s collective mind.

Hans, you're breaking my borrs here. Hans, you're breaking my borrs.

I'm sorry, but the U.N. must be firm with you. Let me see your whole palace or else.

Or else what?

Or else we will be very, very angry with you and we will write you a letter telling you how angry we are.

Okay, I'll show you, Hans. You ready? Stand a rittle to your reft. A rittle more. Good. (trap door opens, leading to shark tank) There you go, Hans Brix. How you rike that, you fucking cocksucker? Do you have any idea how fucking busy I am, Hans Brix? Well, fuck you. You want inspection? Well, inspect that, you buttfucking piece of shit.

When the North Korean People (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342526)

Finally shrug off that horrible regime and look back at history, they're going to be ultra, mega pissed off.

Dear leaders, my arse.

Re:When the North Korean People (2)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342794)

The only people with a (more or less) guaranteed meal a day are the military, and the ones in charge of that are the most well-off in that entire country in terms of necessities and power.

There will be no real change until all foreign countries stop giving them any form of aid, and they run out of food for their military and can't stretch it further with propaganda (i.e. troops start dying en mass from starvation).

Re:When the North Korean People (5, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343052)

With a highly unpredictable regime, I'm not sure "try to starve their army to death" is the right approach. Sad and selfish as it is to say, the North Korean people suffering may be the lesser of two evils in this circumstance.

Likewise, one thing that the North Korean regime has been exceptionally good at is deflecting blame. A wholly disconcerting number of the North Korean people really do believe that their suffering is because of the United States and a puppet South Korea. Furthering that suffering may well generate the anger you would be hoping to generate, but there is no guarantee that it is directed at the people it should be directed to.

Honestly, just waiting the North out is probably the best approach. I think Kim Jong-Il is regarded as pretty damn psychopathic, and I don't mean that short of its literal sense. There is simply no telling what he will do. He is also 70 years old. Short of him deciding to go out in a big bang, the amount of harm he can do, personally, is coming to a close. His children are western-educated. This is by no means a guarantee that they will be any better, but it is at least an indication that they understand the depth of the lie they are living in North Korea and has to offer at least some hope that, at bare minimum, they will be more reasonable people to deal with.

If not, once more about them and their ruling style and personalities are known, other measures can be considered. Until then, the status quo is good enough I'm afraid.

Not just countries (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343110)

NK has a lot of personal support from Japan, lots of people there admire the "self-reliance" of the NK doctrine and donate large sums of money to the regime.

Revolution needs a seed and that seed can be bred out of a population. See former USSR countries where people embrace the free market by patiently waiting for the state to sort it out. Nobody who has not been in a concentration camp or decades in prison can possible truly comprehend what it must be like in that hell hole. Even reports from East Germany pale in comparison.

But what can you do? People are starving. Withholding aid (without killing of all smugglers and sympathizers) will mean only the rich get enough. And if thousands starve before a revolution is sparked? Then the reduction in the surplus population (Dickens) will mean that starvation sorts itself out.

Remember, that all the NK people who are in the middle, who watched people die fear what the revolution will do to them as much as the leadership.

Any NK soldier who knows what revolution means, will fear his own neck. As will his family who have benefited from the bonuses his service bought.

Divide and conquer at its worsted.

Re:When the North Korean People (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342936)

I actually hope that North Korea is stupid enough to attempt an invasion of South Korea.

We can't really excuse going in there and "liberating" North Korea from what is one of the most oppressive dictatorships in the world. If they attack one of our major allies, however, they will get (at most) a couple of miles into South Korean territory before the US shows up and wrecks their shit. Then, of course, we'd go into the country and dismantle their entire military (one way or another). From there we'd probably set up elections (monitored by the UN) and actually help the people recover.

It will take either this or a major disaster (like a malfunctioning bomb taking out the NK leadership) for North Korea to finally be free.

Re:When the North Korean People (4, Insightful)

jayspec462 (609781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343128)

Oh, God, no.

Yes, I want the North Korean government to get its well-deserved comeuppance as much as the next guy, but take a look at Seoul on Google Earth. Now drag northwards until you come to the North Korean border. Not very far, is it? Forget fancy missiles, it's within artillery range. It won't matter that they get "(at most) a couple of miles into South Korean territory." By the time they've done so, one of Asia's financial and industrial capitals will lie in ruins. The fact that the already mostly empty shell of Pyongyang will be razed to the ground shortly thereafter is cold comfort.

Finally some hope... (1, Troll)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342546)

Well this is a first, we should mark it. This is the first glimmer of hope from that Regieme. The first time they have been worried about an enemy which really is insidious and they have every reason to keep out of their culture at all costs.... Christmas.

That ruiner of December, that event so horrible, that it can only be seen by the shear number of songs that are made to declare it the best time of the year. Summer needs no accolades. Nobody has to tell you "Isn't spring wonderful". A tradition which begins with the "waiting in line" and annoying people, and coordinating secret lists.

Of course, you can't be against it...for the children.

I say...good call Kim Jong Il. Lets hope this is a start of your countries march towards sensibility. In this one way, we could learn from you.

North Korea is not a "secular state". (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342580)

It's a country in the grip of a deified leader cult. They worship their tyrant and his father in a manner that would have made L. Ron Hubbard or Jim Jones jealous.

-jcr

Re:North Korea is not a "secular state". (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343100)

This is a point that deserves to be made. If Kim was a quasi-Christian leader like David Koresh, this dangerous cult of personality would be a part of every discussion regarding NK, and rightfully so.

What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38342590)

How does calling decorative lighting "psychological war" further their cause?
I my book, that's called making yourself look ridiculous.

Who actually thinks 'birth of the Christian deity' when they see a tree with lights on?
The first thing I think is that It was nice of someone to make the landscape more interesting.

Re:What's the point? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342966)

How does calling decorative lighting "psychological war" further their cause?
I my book, that's called making yourself look ridiculous.

Who actually thinks 'birth of the Christian deity' when they see a tree with lights on?
The first thing I think is that It was nice of someone to make the landscape more interesting.

they don't care about looking ridiculous.
it's not like they're publishing that stuff inside NK.

what they care about is giving the impression that they might consider it as first offense, so that they might retaliate against that. in fact they would just use that to beg for more food aid, trying to imply that south was the last aggressor at this point in time(by letting people put up nice lights).

Re:What's the point? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343018)

The first thing I think is that It was nice of someone to make the landscape more interesting.

Which is a capital crime in North Korea. Especially if the lights are any color other than red or gray.

Towns all over the US get the same complaint (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342816)

Every year I read one or more stories about how some dumbwit in some town is offended by any and/or everything the town does at this time of year. Lights, decorations, a blowup Santa, Star Wars parade... someone gets offended. Though this year at least one town told the person to gently sod off.

Re:Towns all over the US get the same complaint (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343278)

I could support a phalanx formation of stormtroopers wearing santa hats in the "holiday parade". But if you try to slip lord Vader in as Santa, I'm calling the ACLU.

How sad indeed (1)

lsolano (398432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342880)

That a country threatens another with "unexpected consequences" just because a Christmas Lights.

 

Christian Message (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342974)

To bad a Christmas Tree has absolutely nothing to do with any Christian message (beyond a vague "evergreen-eternal life" connection). The standard Christian message would be best represented (if you only get one image) of a dual image with an old-testament sheep sacrifice beside a crucifix. If you're going for a specifically Christmas message, then a nativity scene. A couple of my atheist friends have Christmas trees up. Trees and lights are fairly secular.

This would be funnier if it weren't so sad (4, Insightful)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38342986)

I'm afraid that S. Korea (and the rest of the world) is between a rock and a hard place on how to del with this despot. I mean forget about the small chance of war between the Koreas; a conflict that while producing a very large number of civilian casualties would be over in a week or two with the modern S. Korea army aided by the U.S. quickly recovering from the initial bombardment and then demolishing the N. Korean army.

No I'm talking about the millions who for two generations have led short stunted lives due to starvation and extreme poverty. They have been deprived of any contact with the outside world and have been controlled to an extent that makes 1984 seem like a liberal's paradise. It's really chilling to watch a documentary such as the one made when western doctors went in to provide free critical surgeries to the populace only to see the ones who lives they've saved turn around and condemn their saviors.

One of the main reasons why I do not invest in China is because of their unbending support of N. Korea. Better (they think) to let millions of Koreans die than to let the Americans have an ally abutting them on their northern border. The other reasons include Tibet, Myanmar, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iran and basically all the non-democratic regimes in Africa who they prop up. I fully realize that the West is fully capable of rank hypocrisy but China doesn't even make a pretense of advancing the human condition.

I don't know what to do more than anyone else. Let this horrendous half-century holocaust continue or wage a war which would result on hundreds of thousands of casualties. I think the only way to decide on a firm course of action would be for S. Korea to have a national referendum as to whether or not to save the people who are literally their brothers. This makes planning surprise attack rather difficult though.

(Is "funnier" a legitimate word or not? I'm afraid I'm not a decider).

The power of the faith (2, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343004)

It's amazing how even the most oppressive dictator is afraid of a simple Christmas tree.

My neighbors (4, Funny)

Sez Zero (586611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343024)

Christmas just barfed all over my neighbor's front yard. I run my house like a dictator. Too bad I don't have a proto-nuclear arsenal to threaten them with.

Hello (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38343188)

What do you mean "Hello"? Provocative ******!

Good luck with that. (2)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38343210)

I tried that with my neighbors too, and it didn't work.
If it helps North Korea, I can point you to a store that has pretty good curtains!
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