Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

North Korean Backdoor

Posted by middlerage on April 6, 2013

Sounds like a bizarre sex technique.

Anyhoo… With all this bluster about North Korean threats, and them moving a couple of ballistic missiles to their east coast, I wonder about sleight of hand. While we’re busy watching their missiles and armed forces, what’s to prevent a lone DPRK operative from slipping into the US with a suitcase bomb?

Islamist terrorists have proved the concept. Ironically (in two ways) what might be preventing this scenario is North Koreans lack of worldliness. The first irony is that  Islamists decried our worldly worldliness, but their worldly connections – knowing how to move around, transfer money, operate in the western culture – allowed them to slyly carry out their terrorism. Irony number two is that North Koreans have no such knowledge or network. There is no “Little Pyongyang” in Cleveland to slip into, get local support, and transfer money. I envision an operative arriving on our shores, dropping his jaw to the floor, ditching the suitcase, and gleefully getting a job at McDonalds. (Sheesh, that statement is frighteningly Fox-NEWS-worthy. My apologies).

Well, never underestimate the committed. An operative probably could be so gung-ho, s/he would carry out the mission despite the distractions.

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2 Responses to “North Korean Backdoor”

  1. Annie said

    I always thought that the higher level North Koreans were actually quite aware of what Western civilization has to offer, though perhaps with a brainwashed view of The Evilness Of Our Ways, and ultimately North Korean Superiority. There is no way they would be stupid enough to send an operative who wasn’t educated and didn’t know the sort of city he’d see. They have sophisticated technology that they sure as hell didn’t develop in a vacuum, and remember there is a lot of interaction (or even collaboration) with the Chinese. In terms of dealing with temptations? High ranking North Koreans live in extreme opulance. I would expect that the operatives would be told “see that palace over there? Yours if you succeed.” and that McDonalds job really doesn’t look that good by comparison. Even the defector’s witness protection program in the states probably wouldn’t be that impressive.

    I think the main reason they wouldn’t choose the guerilla option is that culturally, they are still stuck in parade ground bluster/propaganda. Their model is Cold War, not Al Qaeda. They like big showy displays of missiles to prove their power. A guy sneaking in with a suitcase bomb doesn’t scream power and military might, it whispers desperation, even if counterintuitively, it is more effective at instilling fear in Americans. The suitcase is the weapon of David against Goliath. North Korea doesn’t see themselves as David; they are aspiring to be equal players on the field of battle. Also, NK actually going through with an attack on US soil really will start a war, and what they seem to want is respect (to be seen as a powerful player in the world) and maybe some cash. I don’t *think* they are deluded enough to think they can actually win a war.

  2. Dahveed said

    Annie’s thoughts on this seem very plausible. The only thing I would add on the bit about keeping their spies in line, is that I imagine they use both the carrot and stick. And a family back home in Pyongyang probably keeps people in line. I think South Korea and maybe Japan have far more to fear in all this sable rattling than we do in terms of an attack. But candidly, I’m woefully uninformed about North Korea in general, so I probably shouldn’t wade in any farther….

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