Random Thoughts From the Front

Bamboo bordering a traditional Korean house

An article at RedState by Streiff, who knows his military stuff, but is perhaps just a little too “into” a potential U.S. war with North Korea for my taste, suggests that the U.S. and other countries are making plans to evacuate their nationals in South Korea in the event of war. That may be a bit alarmist, as every country with citizens in a country officially at war with its neighbor would be expected to have some kind of contingency plans for an emergency — nothing in that to indicate that they are anticipating an imminent emergency, although of course the current moment is more volatile than the norm. 

Personally, I’ve seen no evidence of any movement on this front as yet. Chinese exchange students continue to flock to my university, and the U.S. has issued no travel warnings. As for my own Canadian government — well, Pretty Boy Justin would presumably be too focused on his hair to think about things of this nature, so inaction there is not necessarily a meaningful indicator of anything. In any case, I think I’d be better off staying put and taking my chances with North Korea’s artillery than facing either Trudeau’s Canadian or Kathleen Wynne’s Ontarian communist inquisitions over my “denier” status regarding global warming, gender-neutral pronouns, the trumping of property rights in favor of transgender rights, and the ultimate progressive hate crime, “Islamophobia,” i.e., concern over the cultural normalization of Islamic radicalism and female genital mutilation.

Canada goes limp

For what it’s worth, during my ten years in the ROK, this is the first time I have noticed a significant level of concern among Koreans regarding the possibility of renewed conflict with the North. One of the most astonishing facets of Korean life, in fact, is the thoroughly blasé attitude with which these people greet North Korean nuclear tests, direct threats of annihilation from the doughboys Kim, and even open attacks on their fellow citizens, such as the fatal torpedoing of a navy ship and murderous artillery fire on an inhabited island. 

And yet this year is different. Normally, North Korea is not mentioned by students at all, or only in the context of discussing, in abstraction, the economic aspects of Korean reunification. This week, during a class, a student asked me, only half-jokingly, “If a war begins, where will you escape?” Two weeks ago, during a café gathering after the first night of my fall lecture in the graduate school of education, a student who also happens to be the administrative assistant to the university’s ROTC officers told us that the officers are a little nervous or tense these days, the first time she’s seen that.

Enough of all that. As Sean Connery’s wizened old Chicago police officer Malone says in The Untouchables, moments before bursting into the middle of a mafia smuggling operation on horseback, “Oh, what the hell! You gotta die of somethin’.”

In the meantime, a few recent photographs, random objects found during my morning walks. Enjoy!

The Moon and Venus.

A Triptych.

Little Brother.

The End of Civilization (aka Where We Are This Morning).

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