Monday, October 09, 2006

Atomic PR 

Forms of public persuasion can be many. North Korea is practicing one of the more worrisome ways of relating to the world -- atomic PR. According to experts, North Korea is trying to force the US to deal with it one-on-one, an approach the US is resisting. The US wants North Korea to work with the countries surrounding it as well, to include China, South Korea and Japan.

Trumpeting "I've got the bomb" is not a way to make friends, but it is a way to gain attention. In the eyes of many observers, North Korea today is more dangerous than Iraq because its leadership is isolated, radical and desperate. But, that doesn't mean its leadership is unable to project its presence. Saddam Hussein, when in power, was able to command attention because of his position astride energy supplies and the huge military forces he had built. One shudders to think what we would be dealing with had Saddam built a nuclear bomb.

Dangerous people can practice PR as well as good, and their persuasiveness can be powerful. We must not forget that Hitler persuaded Charles Lindbergh of his overwhelming might based on the military machine he had built. Lindbergh was a voice against entry into the war in Europe before Pearl Harbor.

Before anyone comments, by the way, I have never supported what is happening in Iraq or the current administration's view of Saddam Hussein. It would be foolish, however, to deny that dictators practice public relations too.


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