Austin, Texas, in Kim Jong-Un’s Crosshairs?

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A couple of weeks ago, after North Korea once again made threatening noises against the U.S. and its allies, Admiral James Winnefeld, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs Of Staff, made it clear that the United States intends to do everything in its power to deny North Korea the ability to launch a missile to the United States and — if they do, “if deterrence fails” — to “impose costs” on them.

The admiral added, referring to North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, “And we believe that this young lad ought to be deterred by that. And if he’s not, we’ll be ready.”

It seems that the Admiral’s words — and the majority of the world’s words of caution, restraint and warning — have fallen on deaf ears, and it seems that the United States and its allies continue to “be ready.”

Last week Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter mentioned an ongoing annual U.S.-South Korean military exercise, Key Resolve, and Foal Eagle, a combined and joint field training exercise that runs across the Korean Peninsula from March 1 to April 30, to “demonstrate the U.S. commitment to the alliance and ensure the readiness of both of our forces to defend the Republic of Korea and deepen interoperability with U.S. and South Korean forces.”

As part of the deterrence, B52 strategic bombers — whether nuclear capable or nuclear armed — have flown missions around the Korean peninsula.

Thursday, two “nuclear capable” B-2 stealth bombers flew long-range missions over the Korean Peninsula — an additional, credible and, what should be, a very effective deterrent.

Shortly after the B-2 bombers made their appearance, Kim Jong-un once again unleashed “a new round of bellicose rhetoric,” threatening that “the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation,” and signed “a rocket preparation plan and ordered his forces on standby to strike the U.S. mainland, South Korea, Guam and Hawaii,” according to new sources to the Stars and Stripes.

For “Austinites,” things are now getting pretty close to home.

It seems that young Kim Jong-un and his generals are now selecting targets for their rockets and, according to NKNEWS.org, Austin, Texas, is on their targets list, along with Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

How are Austinites taking this “imminent threat?”

Well, if Austin’s daily newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman has the pulse of Austin right, Austinites are merely mocking North Korea’s threat.

The lead paragraph in a piece last evening says, “Maybe Kim Jong-un is an Aggie fan, or he’s jealous of Gov. Rick Perry’s hair.”

Similar sentiments are being expressed in dozens of Twitter messages at Austin.culturemap.com.

Here are some examples:

Kim Jong-un taking Austin’s plastic bag ban pretty hard. Why not just write a letter to the editor? #whyaustin

Austiners should relax. He is using Apple maps. #whyaustin

Austin is home to U.S. strategic BBQ reserves. RT @dblanchard: He just wanted some brisket. #whyaustin #

#whyAustin Three words…Rick, Perry, and…um….I can’t remember the third. #Oops

Kim’s Jong-un poorly received at Hippy Hollow. #whyaustin. (Author’s note: Hippy Hollow, or Hippie Hollow, is Austin’s “public clothing optional” park on Lake Travis)

Kim Jong-un totally lost it when he couldn’t find parking at downtown Whole Foods. #whyaustin

Two hours’ wait at Franklin Barbecue! This will not stand for Kim Jong-un! #whyaustin

Kim Jong-un still mad about being kicked out of Alamo Drafthouse for texting. #whyaustin

(Author’s note #2: The various references to BBQ reflect Austin’s and Texas’ pride in their BBQ — and rightly so)

Austin’s KVUE.com perhaps best puts this whole situation into proper perspective:

“Tensions rise almost every year around the time the U.S.-South Korean drills take place, but as soon as those drills end, things go back to normal and people put those tensions behind them quite quickly,” said Sung Hyun-sang, the South Korean president of a clothing maker operating in the North Korean border town of Kaesong.

“I think and hope that this time won’t be different.”

And in a telling sign that even the North Koreans don’t expect war, the national airline, Air Koryo, is adding flights to its spring lineup and preparing to host the scores of tourists they expect to flock to Pyongyang despite the threats issuing forth from the Supreme Command.

War or no war, it seems Pyongyang remains open for business.

Humor or no humor, satire or no satire, let us hope that cooler minds prevail.

While it is highly doubtful that Austin, Texas is in any immediate danger, the tense situation could still get out of hand with unpredictable but dire consequences for North Korea and the region.

Image: www.shutterstock.com

  

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

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11 Comments

  1. Dude seriously, don’t mess with Texas. This will not end well for Lil Kim.

  2. Someone will likely thump this little blustery one…He will likely take on China before long…

    As they say in Texas; “An empty bucket makes the most racket.”

  3. Right on, Slamfu! That phrase is more than just a 30-year old anti-littering slogan, it’s a state-pride sort of thing. :) Leave it to one of my favorite cities in my home state to react the way I thought they would.

    If I had a Twitter account I would’ve added: “Kim Jong-un was looking for a better way to improve Mo-Pac and thought launching a missile at it would be a good place to start.”

    OS, another saying in TX is “All hat and no cattle.” Of course, it will now describe both Rick Perry AND Kim Jong-un.

  4. Like all your “twitters,” but especially this one:

    OS, another saying in TX is “All hat and no cattle.” Of course, it will now describe both Rick Perry AND Kim Jong-un.

  5. I believe that was the phrase Molly Ivins used to use when talking about Dubya.

  6. I believe you’re right, zephyr. What a gal she was!

    Added:

    reminds me of Ann Richards’ (I believe) talking about the same all hat and no cattle cowboy “born with a silver spoon in his mouth”

  7. Dorian, I think your reflexes took over at the wrong moment, the phrase was “born with a silver foot in his mouth” ;-)

  8. Thanks, Zephyr. That’s better. :)

  9. “Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”

    – T. S. Eliot,from ‘a journal of nobody’

  10. Yeah you’re right zephyr. But, based on the history of the two as governor, Bush looked like a freakin’ political genius compared to Perry. The Bushes can’t stand Perry because of he’s destroyed so much of the standing Texas used to have in politics. I didn’t agree with most of Bush’s policies but I will give him credit for attempting true compromise with the Dems and working with Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock to get things done for the state. In one term, Perry undid all that. Hence forth, you never saw the Bushes campaign for Perry (to the best of my knowledge). Most Republicans can’t even stand Perry in Texas now. That’s why I think the phrase is a better fit for Perry now more than Bush.

    I really miss Molly, too. A great voice that kept TPTB in check.

  11. Yes, Molly was great. A lot of powerful (and entertaining) liberal and moderate voices of reason have been lost over the years. I’d make a list but it would be too depressing. Meanwhile mad spouters of hate and lies from the right seem to be chugging along just fine – even getting rich along the way. As for Rick Perry? He never did impress as any sort of mental giant.

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