Friday, March 4, 2016

North Korea, Russia and the Donald

Donald Trump is not the spawn of Satan that his critics think him to be any more than he is the savior of the country that his ardent supporters believe.  Similarly, President Obama is not the most wonderful President ever as his ardent fans want to believe nor has he run the country into irrelevance than his critics want to believe.  Both men are nothing more than public figures upon which we project our particular views and biases based on our experiences.  We expect them to act and think in a particular way based on our perceptions and therefore it becomes hard to separate truth from fiction.  Hence the amazing amount of emotions and venom being spat across social media as the Presidential nominations drag on.

We need to keep this in mind even when dealing with matters besides Presidents, wannabe Presidents or anyone else in the public eye for that matter.  Case in point, Kim Jong-un announces "North Korean Nukes Need to be Ready" (CNN).  American politicians find it expedient to believe North Korea would be willing to use nuclear weapons since our experience is that we had them and used them against Japan.  We really don't know what North Korea's intent is, we can only superimpose our own biases and experiences against their statements.  On the other hand, since we don't know their intent or how they view others there is a danger that they could use nuclear weapons.

The latter is not as easily supported factually since North Korea has limited resources and has not demonstrated they have to technology necessary to strike US soil.  But the problem if we totally dismiss North Korea, we may miss key indicators of advanced technology.

Russia has huge amount of nuclear weapons and are keeping theirs updated.  What is forgotten is that the former Soviet Union was inspired to develop their nuclear arsenal after watching the US drop the two bombs on Japan.  To date, neither the Soviet Union nor current day Russia have ever used nuclear weapons. Yet out own experiences and biases cause American politicians to think the worst for as over-priced consultants are always quick to remind their clients, "You can't AFFORD to not do this!"  So we automatically assign malice-aforethought to the news of Russia deploying forces to Armenia.  Our experience wants us to believe, and American politicians and media WANT us to believe, that this is a sure sign of Russian aggression.  But if we look from the Russian point of view we see Turkey as the land of trigger-happy descendants of the Ottoman Empire that shot down a Russian fighter jet that was supporting Western efforts to defeat ISIL.

2016 continuing to be a very interesting year!

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