This is edited from a comment I made in response to this diary that ended up becoming a response to pretty much every NK-related diary in the last few weeks. Unlike some of my previous, more emotional diaries, I tried to keep a more measured tone in this, so I hope anyone who writes back does the same. If you would rather skip my diary, I would ask you to at least check out the links included, with plenty of (non-American MSM) information to help you make your own decisions about this important issue.
First off, to those of you out there that are thinking this is all the big evil American corporate MSM trying to make another war, I invite you to try different sources for your NK info. Here's some English versions of Japanese and South Korean newspapers for starters.
Then by all means, feel free to draw your own conclusions afterwards.
Now, in case you're wondering what my beef is with North Korea, other than living in a country (Japan) well within range of any attack, be it nuclear weapons, regular missiles, or water balloons with "TAEPODONG" written on the side in marker, here's some background.
North Korea's concentration camps
My diary on the lone escapee
A 1-hour video featuring the head of Liberty In North Korea (LINK) and Shin
2004 Guardian article on Camp 22
Report from the US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea
Kidnappings of South Korean and Japanese nationals
BBC report on SK couple kidnapped in 1978 to make films for KJI
Wiki page on Japanese abductions for spy-training, lots of links
I hope that after looking at those links, you at least understand that when I did things like call KJI "batshit" it wasn't just because of some kneejerk "Axis of Evil" posturing. Let's move on.
First, I say this as an American that loves my country, I feel that some people need to be reminded: This is not all about us. NK has certainly dragged us into it with their demands we treat them with the VIP treatment, but those saying "they're mad that Sotomayor stole their attention!" need to realize something - no one else in the world cares about our Supreme Court other than Americans. I can't believe anyone is trotting this out lately (please look around before you accuse me of straw men, there are several diaries on this very site claiming such).
But on the other hand, I also don't get the people who basically seem to be saying "well they can't hit America reliably yet, so who cares? Make it China's problem." Not only do I think that a rather awful way to look at allies of the United States' problems, not to mention hard to do when NK keeps dragging the US's name into things, but there are THOUSANDS of American expats in South Korea, Japan, China, etc. Myself included among them (which is why I'm so passionate about this, admittedly). If there are any fellow expats shrugging this off, I wish I had your testicular fortitude, considering how things seem to be escalating a lot more than normal this week. If thinking about that makes it easier for you to squeeze out even a little concern, that would be swell.
I am not saying "America should bomb the fuck out of them," although several people on this site, in the past, seem to have confused my hatred of Kim Jong Il's regime for the things I linked to above with me being some sort of flag-waving chickenhawk. I have never said "let's start a war," I am unfortunately more realistic than the folks on the right sporting a war-woody. I've been repeatedly screaming bloody murder about the NK situation because I want to AVOID a war here in Asia. I hate that the main attention this seems to be getting back home (PLEASE someone prove me wrong on this, I WANT to be wrong on this) is from neocons that want to use this as an excuse to label Pres. Obama "naive" and start another fight.
America, unfortunately, has to play a part in settling this conflict, but the people making this ALL about America, like only American casualties matter, or using this as an opportunity to criticize the previous administration/past US atrocities with no apparent sympathy for the people in East Asia, frankly, make me sick.
Usually about this time I get someone asking "so what do YOU suggest?" - fair enough, but honestly? I'm not sure. I appreciate that China and Russia are coming on board, which should be a great help (and a sign that things are getting serious if even they suddenly are concerned with NK's actions) and Sec. Clinton seems to be taking a harder stance than a shrug. I hope they can find a way to calm this down. I see the international community is coming together to take action, and I hope the ideas they come up with work.
But I wish it felt like the folks back home at least were shooting us moral support over here, if nothing else. I think that's what amazes me the most. The incredibly few people kind enough to even say "my heart goes out to the people in East Asia, and I hope this situation is resolved quickly and safely." Maybe that's childish of me, but I think turning this whole thing into an American political talking point is just as childish.
This is not an easy situation right now. Even without nukes, I'm sure everyone here would at least agree that war is not a good thing. I'm not asking you guys to send CIA ninjas to whack the Kim family, or paypal me money to build a fallout shelter under my Osaka apartment. Just to remember that there are human beings here, and even if you don't know the solution, throw a little bit of good vibes their way.