N Korea and Chinese Culture: Escalation Explained

What’s with the rhetoric, fist pounding, and war-drumming?

North Korea has a long history of making threats whenever they need food. In the past, war-talk resulted in lots of food and supplies being sent to North Korea a short time after. Maybe there were talks somewhere in that process, maybe not. But the West cow-towed to the Norks like Chamberlain tried to appease Hitler before WWII.

From this perspective, it seems that Kim Jong-un is begging for food, like the family dog who tries to convince everyone at the dinner table that he’s on the brink of starvation.

But from another perspective, East Asian cultures—Chinese, Japanese, and Korean alike—are famous for “fist shaking” in the place of actual leadership and management strategy. Someone stands up and shouts really loud, everyone within ear shot jumps in line—again, like the family dog being beat with two sheets of newspaper who thinks, with all the noise, he’s being pounded to death. For these cultures, rhetoric is reality and fists get politicians elected.

…not so in the West.

In the West, when someone starts talking too loudly or grabs for too much power, we regard him as a threat to be eliminated immediately. If a leader sounds like Hitler, we call the cavalry. North Korea and Beijing don’t expect this to be the response of the West.

Beijing, in all likelihood, anticipates that their military drills should make the American Navy flee home. That’s how it always works in their Chinese companies and governments and State-registered churches. North Korea is expecting food from UN members. And it’s all having a reverse effect.

On the other hand, Washington seems to be over-reacting. North Korea and China don’t use rhetoric the same way the West does. For the East, empty threats are well-rehearsed and result in power. Such rhetoric is never intended to reflect reality. It helps to be familiar with some psychopathic psychology. Liars never consider making their manner reflect reality because, for them, the truth is not a priority.

Far be it for me to give advice, but I’ll observe that the East is unwittingly giving Washington an excuse to build up full military force in response to half-empty words. Should some military response be in order? Perhaps. But the Far East is not as big of a threat to the West as the Middle East, which has it’s own virtuous base and reverence for truth. When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Putin shake their fists, there’s a lot more reality  being reflected.

War in with China and North Korea could reveal an empty shell, like a “wizard” having his levers pulled by a simple man behind a curtain.

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