- April 16th, 2017
To mark the glorious 105th Anniversary of the birth of the founder of the Kim Dynasty, the Kleptocrats of Pyongyang staged a big parade yesterday. The Crazy Fat Kid… too flabby to properly hold a salute – reviewed an assortment of North Korea’s military hardware against a backdrop of rafts of human beings acting like so many clockwork dolls. Thus, North Korea showed its defiance to the world.
The whole parade might be described as ‘Cultic’ – the official personality cult of the Kim Dynasty suffused with a weird sort of cargo cult. North Korea maintains that it is a player on the world stage, with a mighty military capable of defying the United States – the archvillain of the sacred drama of the state. However, just because something looks modern, it doesn’t mean it is modern…
This last point is something the World’s press corps also needs to understand.
The Koksan M-1978 is a self-propelled 170mm gun not dissimilar in appearance to the US M-107 of the 1960s; except that the US gun has been retired for almost 40 years. Artillerymen have long known that high-velocity field guns are of limited utility which is why hardly anyone uses them now. Still, there might be a Freudian explanation for these big, long, firm guns on a Pyongyang parade.
North Korea loves the 54-year old Russian BM-21 rocket launcher; it’s cheap, ridiculously easy to use, noisy, and looks impressive. To convince the world (or themselves) that they have modernized it, some BM-21s were mounted on the backs of old T-55 tank chassis and made to look like a modern American MRLS. Cargo cult thinking at its best.
Back in the old days of the Cold War, Moscow used to parade its ballistic missiles past the reviewing stand on Lenin’s Mausoleum on high state days. However, those tended not to be working missiles. Rocket fuel can be highly toxic and/or explosive, and some fuel pumps, seals, and circuits don’t like being rumbled about.
While the Kim regime is notorious for its depraved indifference to the well-being of its subjects; the ruling clans might not take well to sudden exposure to quantities of unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine and nitric acid. The rockets were empty, but were also inspiringly big, long and firm…
North Korea’s KN-08 ballistic missiles – another variant of the decades-old Soviet Scud missile – still looked very impressive on their massive 16-wheeled TEL vehicles. Too bad we know those were Chinese logging trucks painted as army vehicles.
The fly-past was impressive too; who knew that North Korea had so many propeller-driven aircraft left in the glorious People’s Army Air Force? Couldn’t they at least have got some of their 60-year old MiG 21s airworthy for the occasion?
Still, it would be a mistake to assume North Korea isn’t dangerous to its neighbours. If Kim III drank his own Kool-Aid and believed he was at the helm of a mighty military machine, he might be tempted to throw his weight around. For a few days, he could kill tens of thousands of Americans, Japanese and Koreans… then his own people would die in the hundreds of thousands.
The big glorious parade in Pyongyang might have been a version of the Antiques Road Show… but it was still dangerous; not least to the people closest to it.
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