Way Down In The Hole

The issue of the World vs. North Korea continues to spin out of control.

The North Koreans insist on conducting repeated missile tests for no apparent reason, strategic or otherwise, other than to just try to get the world to pay attention to them.  The world responds by condemning North Korea’s activities and, most recently, by the UN Security Council unanimously imposing additional sanctions on that country.  North Korea tries to up the ante by issuing bizarre threats.  President Trump responds by saying that threats to the U.S. will be met with “fire and fury” — perhaps unwittingly, perhaps not, recalling the lyrics about the devil in Way Down in the Hole — and now North Korea has announced that it is “carefully examining” plans for a missile strike against Guam in order to “contain” the U.S. military base there.

4057dec000000578-4509784-image-a-27_1494928848360Oh . . . and the North Koreans also say that America is considering a “preventive war” against North Korea, and warn that any attempt to do so would be met with an “all-out war wiping out all the strongholds of enemies, including the U.S. mainland.”

What is the world supposed to do with North Korea?  We keep expecting, or hoping, that Kim Jong Un and his cadre will react rationally to standard diplomatic practices, like being admonished by its principal apparent ally, China, or being subjected to sanctions unanimously imposed by a world body that almost never acts because its members typically disagree about just about every issue.  And secretly, no doubt, every other country wishes that the starving, deprived, long-suffering people of North Korea would rise up and overthrow the Leader with the Bad Haircut and his military minions — who are always pictured yukking it up, as if planning nuclear strikes against peaceful countries is completely hilarious fun.  But nothing happens, and the North Korean threats continue, and countries that might be the target of a rogue missile launch become increasingly jittery, and the world hopes that we can somehow avoid a stupid, utterly unnecessary military confrontation.

So, what do you do with a North Korea that is run by somebody who is evidently unbalanced, is armed with nuclear missiles, and is intent on doing whatever it takes to attract attention to itself?  How do you deal with a country that is so irrational and is apparently guided exclusively by the whim of an unpredictable, outlandish leader?  And even if you somehow avoided an armed confrontation in this particular instance, how secure would you feel knowing that the unpredictable leader remains in place, ready to escalate things at any time in the future?  We’ve asked these same questions before, but the problem keeps getting worse and worse, with no resolution in sight.

We’ve got some difficult issues to deal with in the world, but a nuclear North Korea is perhaps the most perplexing, and the most dangerous.

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Guam Cats, Beware! Toxic Mice Are In The Air!

Brown snakes are overrunning Guam.  They came to the island aboard U.S. ships after World War II.  Now they are multiplying like crazy, have killed off virtually every native species of bird, and are biting humans and wrecking power lines.  As a result, Guam’s jungle areas are coated with spider webs, because the birds that normally would eat the spiders aren’t there to keep the spiders in check.

Guam’s snake infestation is giving Hawaii the heebie-jeebies.  If a pregnant brown snake, or a mating pair of snakes, hitched a ride on a boat and landed in the snakeless Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii’s beautiful bird population — which has no fear of snakes — could be decimated.

Guam officials are concerned that the brown snake problem could hurt Guam’s reputation as a tourist destination.  No kidding!  Guam sounds like a nightmare.  If your small island is infested with biting snakes and spiders, you’ve already managed to creep out the vast majority of humans.  All Guam needs to do to complete the hair-raising, creepy-crawlie trifecta is to throw some scorpions into the mix.

The U.S. government has come up with a drastic solution to Guam’s brown snake problem.  It will drop dead mice laced with painkillers over the island’s jungles.  The theory is that the brown snakes will eat the mice and die by the score.   Presumably, the government has some reason to believe that other mice-eating creatures won’t gobble down the tainted mice.

I’m not so sure — and I therefore composed this bit of doggerel:

Brown snakes hitched a ride to Guam, hoping to find some lebensraum

They bred and grew to levels absurd, ’til little Guam had not a bird

And as the bird population ebbed, the isle became more spider-webbed

Then Uncle Sam said it’d help poor Guam, by inventing a toxic mice bomb

So, cats of Guam!  Good cats, beware!  Toxic mice are in the air!