North Korea and the Wall of Silence
North Koreans rely completely on a military - controlled national radio and broadcast network. In their country, no reports are allowed that are not first screened by the Military for their content.
They have been broadcasting now for weeks that the North did not sink the South Korean warship. Soon, perhaps -they will broadcast that the south has taken a stab at them. And that the North should fight back.
Some have said that the only way to defuse this situation is to attempt to reach the North Koreans directly. Some are , at time of writing - floating helium balloons over the parallel - within which are attached messages , and tiny radio transceivers that can pick up other broadcasts(presumably shortwave). But this is a sketchy form of communication. It may not work.
Meanwhile, China is silent, as well. A silence that bodes ill for the prospect of peace. China - like North Korea - actively censors all information coming into their country. When Google disagreed with this policy, China attempted to break into the accounts of several Gmail users and extract the information from them. Google responded by pulling out of China.
There will be many stories that will say how the South Korean people think everything is ok. How everything is just fine. Why is China silent? It may be - that China is attempting to find a middle road. To utilize North Korea as a buffer zone. To attempt to keep things... as they are....
How North Korea interprets South Korea's action - is important. If the North perceives weakness - there is far too much for them to gain by invading the south. And perhaps they will. And strangely enough, China may assist them.
But for now, the concept that a war may be stopped simply by attempting to filter messages into North Korea that may or may not have their intended effect, is one which trades the idea that diplomatic means may be pursued to defuse the initial conditions of war - and trades it for one in which the non-electoral population of an oppressed dictatorial regime might effect a change in political will.
This is a point of view heavily biased toward democratic ideal. The two variables left in the North and South Korean conflict ... will the North, break their wall of silence and claim the actions of the south - as acts of war...
The south clearly wishes to pretend that war is off the table, and they are acting as if that is the case - however ... the southern variable is a bit more complex ... what precise military defense capabilities do they have, that will secure their people and economy against further acts of military aggression? Certainly they can help their own people to forget that one of their warships was just torpedoed... 46 souls...
The south, however, has failed in their attempt to keep the north from rattling their sabres and claiming the high ground in the conflict. The North Koreans, behind their wall of silence - may be led to believe the South is not as weak as the North Korean government might perceive - and that the South seeks to harm them. The southern variable is one of - two dimensions - first, to finally and ultimately silence the North's acts and words of aggression - and second, to demonstrate strength of defense of their land and take actions to deter and discourage future acts of aggression.
The calculus suggests the North must make one or two more blatant acts of war upon the South - and/or the South must attempt to reply in kind in a way in which the North might perceive them to be weak and ready for them to move in for the kill.
The wall of silence that divides the North and Sound - now has the added effect of Chinese silence. The south should readily perceive the presence of its larger communist neighbor to the north - and be ready and willing to acknowledge the potential for the deepening silence to take a dangerous turn. One in which doing nothing may be as equally dangerous as taking any action at all.