Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity is a brilliant man who can take complex issues and break them down – correctly – in a way that people can understand. I respect, and rely on, what he says.
But even Martenson is baffled by what’s happening between the US and North Korea, doing a great job of describing the situation but failing – like the rest of us – to figure out any logic behind recent events.
In his latest post, “The Relentless Push Towards War,” he reminds us of all the other ways in which we’ve been frightened, from stories on Ebola, Iran, Libya, terrorists and Russia, then asks – why North Korea? And why now?
North Korea hasn’t done anything differently than they’ve been doing for decades: Making noise and lobbing missiles into the ocean. While their military is large, they haven’t made any new moves that would warrant changing our posture, and provoking them from this state of détente would result in millions of lives lost in both North and South Korea (as well as any other country dumb enough to jump in to the fray). And according to Trading Economics, their 2015 GDP was only $16.1 billion (just over 1% of South Korea’s $1,378 billion GDP that year), so they’re hardly a force to be reckoned with economically. So why now?
According to Martenson, his best guess is that (a) we need someone to be scared of, since Americans didn’t take the bait on the Russian bogeyman; (b) we wanted to sell and install a THAAD missile system that most South Koreans don’t want; and (c) it helps as we renegotiate trade deals with South Korea. None of which is justifiable – it’s an insanely dangerous game to play – but that’s how the US rolls.
The biggest puzzle: With a threat of imminent war, how can the South Korean stock market actually be up 3%? Markets are supposed to hate uncertainty, and a hot war with North Korea would inevitably devastate much of the South. Martenson chalks it up to central banks gone wild, which is they only explanation that even comes close to making sense.
Let’s hope cooler heads prevail, and that the US finds something else to be scared of soon. There is nothing to be gained here, and tremendous amount to lose.