The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Posts Tagged ‘North Korea’

11 For 2011

Posted by The Futility Monster on January 2, 2011 @ 11:11

OK, so it’s hardly the return of the Futility Monster, here, but two posts in two days does mark something of a minor miracle. Even so, it’s unlikely to be repeated. Maybe I will try and write something at least semi-frequently. Maybe once a month or something.

But for now, more to get it down in writing than anything else, here comes my top 11 predictions for 2011.

  1. The AV referendum will pass. Call me a hopeless optimist, but I believe Ed Miliband will drag the Labour Party, kicking and screaming, behind the campaign as a show of his authority and capacity for “change”. This will encourage the Lib Dems to give it their full support. It will scrape home. Just.
  2. The “Other” 2011 referendum – in Wales – will also succeed, but with a larger majority in favour.
  3. Following that, Welsh Labour will win. But perhaps not as big as they will hope. I predict an extremely close finish, with them just falling below the magic 31 seats for outright majority control.
  4. The Scottish Nationalists will lose power in Scotland’s May general election, but they will only be replaced by an enfeebled Labour minority, who may struggle to find partners to get its legislation and budgets through.
  5. Meanwhile, in London, the Coalition will last the whole year, without too many hiccups, despite sluggish economic data.
  6. Somewhere during the year, the Liberal Democrats will hit another low in their post-2010 election opinion poll woes.
  7. In the post-May reshuffle, Nick Clegg will receive a real portfolio in a bid by David Cameron to shore up support for the coalition amongst demoralised Liberal Democrat MPs. Home Office, anyone?
  8. Also to boost the Lib Dems, House of Lords reform (defined here as anything 80% or more elected), will pass the Commons, but die a sad death in the Lords itself.
  9. Looking abroad, Silvio Berlusconi will finally reach the end of his woeful Prime Ministerial career. Having said that, his replacement will hardly be any better.
  10. Barack Obama will have a traumatic year: under fire from the hostile House of Representatives, a ceaseless war in Afghanistan, and unable to achieve anything of great significance. This will seriously damage him running into the pivotal 2012. And if that happens, expect Sarah Palin to run for the Presidency. Whether she gets the nomination, however, will have to wait till next year’s prediction…
  11. Finally, North Korea will come back to the negotiating table at long last. But will a deal be reached? Extraordinarily unlikely. Unless Kim Jong Il croaks it, and his son is, to everyone’s shock, slightly less of a lunatic than his father…

As for who wins this year’s Premier League, alas, it’ll be no one other than Manchester United.

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No World Cup In North Korea? Let’s Invade Them

Posted by The Futility Monster on November 25, 2009 @ 10:03

I wouldn't mess with him either

The news breaks this morning that, apparently, the North Korean regime is going to ensure that it’s long suffering residents will only be able to see their national team play if they are fortunate enough to achieve yet another Glorious Victory.

Denial of the facts and rearrangement of them to prove otherwise is as old as humanity itself. Repressive regimes certainly don’t have a monopoly on it. After all, its what our politicians attempt to do on a daily basis. Spin is the name of the game.

The real difference is that rather than sitting back and taking such arrant nonsense from our politicians, we are, for now, allowed to hit back. Well, I say we, but most of us just sit back and let the media do it on our behalf. That’s not always a good thing, but it’s better than nothing. And it keeps those dastardly pols on their toes.

But what intrigues me most is that we like to forget about North Korea. OK, we’re a bit worried about the crackpot in charge of the country, and whether he has or hasn’t got nuclear weapons. But otherwise, we don’t really have anything to say about the fact that the vast majority of the country are living in great poverty, and the regime doesn’t tolerate any dissent.

Over here in the West, we call those human rights abuses. Sometimes we use terms like “crimes against humanity” or even “genocide”.

When it suits us (which is definitely not when anyone talks about China), we like to use such positions to sit atop a high horse of moral superiority. And, perhaps, rightly so. After all, in a direct matchup between state-sponsored murder of trouble-makers we really ought to come out much lower than they do.

Some years ago, some of you may remember a small conflict that occurred in the Middle East. It involved a country called Iraq. There was an exchange of gunfire, and a small handful of military largesse, and soon enough we’d got rid of the blighters. Our justification at the time was that the country was posing a grave threat to the West. “45 minutes from destruction”, some fella quipped. That convinced everybody.

As the years passed, we realised we’d been duped a little. It seems, in fact, that the leader of the country was playing us along, hoping we’d believe he did have weapons of mass destruction and so would leave him alone just in case he was crazy enough (and he was) to use them against us.

But just like politicians, they cannot be trusted. All of a sudden the war was never about WMDs. No. It was because the leader of Iraq was an “evil dictator”. A brutal repressor of human rights. Stock footage of the man firing shotguns off balconies and ordering people to be executed soon rolled on the airwaves. Apparently, without us even knowing it, the war was actually fought to liberate the Iraqi people of such tyranny. And who could disagree? The man was batshit, after all.

Yet there remained troubling questions to those who were sceptical all along. “Why Iraq? Why now?” was what they used to say, before they would get shouted down by some Blair character for daring to have no compassion for the suffering of their fellow humans in Iraq.

It was classic memory hole stuff. The original pretexts for war were shuffled into the fire, and an ex post facto justification emerged.

The unfortunate consequence of such a doctrine can be seen in the headline to this post. A little facetious, yeah, but I’ve gotta get your attention somehow.

Got a repressive regime? Genocidal tendencies? Feeling the need to butcher a few of those people with the wrong skin colour or religion?

Well watch out, cos the World Police will soon be knocking on your door. Maybe. If they can be bothered.

And you aren’t China, or one of their chums.

Here’s to realpolitik!

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