No wonder we hate these motherfuckers.” - Muhammad Ali, 1995, during a visit to North Korea

The North Korean crisis has been running for over half a century and regularly shows up in the news. This time, the crisis is heightened because of the successful detonation and implicit acknowledgement that the Hermit Kingdom has an H bomb. Effectively, North Korean government is ‘winning’: it disregarded international sanctions, manage to stay in power while the country starved to death, and built nuclear capabilities. The rest of the world couldn’t stop them by inflicting enough damage to its impoverished economy or threaten them militarily.

Like most communist countries strong enough to withstand Western military might, North Korea will only be able to change from the inside, by reformers that will seek more opening a another path for development. No country around the Korean peninsula wants the regime to collapse, creating a flood of refugees and a geopolitical nightmare. In fact, most countries are probably supporting the status quo, though the US is acting tough to deter other countries from acquiring their own nuclear weapons. As a result, the US is stuck between its rhetoric and the fact that it cannot do much to influence the country.

So the world has no choice but to endure the stress of seeing two political amateurs with the power to launch a devastating war argue back and forth in a testosterone contest from which neither wants to come out as a loser. The rational irrationality of both governments makes us shiver since this confrontation can easily slip out of control. In addition, North Korea’s future is unclear given the lack of information leaking out of the country and an economic and political model that has been proven to eventually collapse.

Yet a concrete step toward a potential resolution would be the establishment of official and regular diplomatic contacts between the USA and North Korea to reduce the constant misunderstandings. By shutting down dialogue at every crisis, the USA creates a relationship based on fear and paranoia that is slowly consuming both sides, until a common ground cannot be reached anymore.

Science, General Knowledge & Environment

Plastic particles found in most tap water samples across the globeSea salt around the world is contaminated by plastic – Micro-particles of plastics were found everywhere, inside tap water, bottled water, natural springs, sea salt and falling from the sky and inside homes. Humans are smothering their planet with plastics and poisoning themselves with their own creations.

How Much Is the Future Worth? – The application of discount rate to infrastructure and prevention spending defines how much is actually spent on potential risks. A few decades ago, a move to reflect ‘market rates’ resulted in under funding of key infrastructure, and puts the human civilization at risk of massive risk such as nuclear accidents or global warming.

new adventures in ubercapital – Employers in the US routinely use credit scores to base their hiring decisions, making those in most need at risk from never finding jobs again. Also, nationwide databases are being merged and the police uses a database whose inclusion standards get ever lower.

La Peste Blanche – (Hat tip Thomas) – La réalité mathématique de l’immigration et du faible taux de natalité des français ‘de souche’ (caucasiens) fait que dans quelques décennies les descendants d’immigration nord africaine compteront pour la majorité de la population. Les conséquences politiques et économiques de ce changement ne sont pas élaborées dans cet article mais sont sans doute importantes.

Summer employers hired American amid Trump visa squeeze – Trump’s freeze on temporary work visa put a lot of pressure on companies that were previously exploiting a cheap and compliant workforce. We believe that Europe should follow the example since its high unemployment rates have been justifying some action for decades.

History & Geopolitics

While defeat of Isis dominates global attention, al-Qaeda strengthens in Syria – The focus on ISIS led the media and large parts of the military to keep only an eye on Al Quaida (not to mention that it is probably funded by several ‘coalition countries’), who managed to capture significant terrain in Syria. Once ISIS is defeated, maintaining the coalition to destroy Al Quaida may not be easy.

The Rohingya Of Myanmar – Pawns In An Anglo-Chinese Proxy War Fought By Saudi Jihadists – The Muslim population of Myanmar is a pawn of the West (through Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) that seeks to block China’s expansion in Myanmar. China is building pipelines and roads to bypass its supply chain vulnerability in the Malacca Strait.

The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea – A long read on the misconceptions, wrong perceptions and fog of uncertainty surrounding both parties of the North Korea crisis. The obvious next step would be to open official and active diplomatic channels between both countries to avoid actions that could be interpreted as acts of war.

Undercover in North Korea: “All Paths Lead to Catastrophe” – An interview with a former English teacher that spent a year in North Korea. It is really appalling, depressing and discouraging: 3 generations of people brainwashed by a ruthless state, with terrible effects. The solutions are really hard to come by. As with other communists states, we believe reform can only come from the inside.

Motives of North Korea’s Leader Baffle Americans and Allies – No one has a good understanding of what North Korean leadership exactly wants to achieve through its nuclear program, besides the wider goals of regime survival and international recognition. Yet it’s difficult to deal with a party that doesn’t make clear its objectives.

Oil supplies to North Korea could be cut as China’s frustration with ally’s failure to communicate grows – Labeling China the ally of North Korea is a simple view that ignores the obvious realities of the complex relationship between the 2 countries. And it appears their relationship is worsening since the DPRK failed to warn Beijing about its latest huge nuclear test.

Bad News, World: China Can’t Solve the North Korea Problem – (Hat tip Lao Ho) – Following up on the article above, this should be obvious to anyone that truly looked into the history of the Korean peninsula. It’s also interesting to see the author naming several countries (namely Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel) as holding the US diplomacy hostage, extorting money and weapons without delivering their part of the bargain. Incidentally, at least 2 of these countries are creating more problem for America than solving any.

North Korea: How Obama Regime Change Policy Created the Crisis Trump Has Inherited – After years of appeasement, the view that North Korea was on the brink of collapse led the Obama administration to forbid diplomatic talks and focus on regime change, increasing the pace of military drills, psy ops (including the mini crisis around the movie ‘The Interview’), while refusing to engage with the DPRK without an unilateral on their nuclear program.

Picture of the week: Impact of Hurrican Irma

About Carlito Riego

"Great perfection may appear imperfect, but its usefulness is inexhaustible. Great abundance may appear empty, but its usefulness cannot be exhausted. Great correctness may appear twisted, great skills appear crude, great eloquence appear awkward. Activity conquers cold; inactivity conquers heat. Clear serenity governs the world." - Lao Zi