On March 9th, North Korea urged the
United States and South Korea to cancel their joint military exercises
scheduled for later this month. North Korea has been making demands like that
for over half a century. Military exercises are never cancelled as a result, so
why do they bother? It's the old "big lie" technique, made infamous by the
Soviet Union for seventy years. The "big lie" (tell a lie often enough, and
more people will begin to believe it) has been around for thousands of years. But
the Soviets used it frequently, outrageously, and at times it actually worked.
The North Korea make the regular calls,
to not hold the military exercise, in order to make themselves look like
the good guys, the vulnerable victims of American aggression. This despite the
fact that North Korea has more troops, and that most of them are massed along
the South Korean border, in attack, not defensive, positions.
North Korea used to hold a lot of military
exercises, more so than the folks down south. No more, not for over a decade.
When the Cold War ended, so did subsidies from Russia, which paid for all the
fuel and spare parts consumed by military exercises. With that in mind, these
"big lie" efforts have become a military necessity. With North Korea forces
slowly falling apart, anything that can weaken the enemy is a help. The calls
for a halt to joint military exercises has had an impact. Over the years, more
and more younger South Koreans, who were born after the Korean War (1950-53),
and since South Korea became quite prosperous (the 1980s), have come to think
of the North Koreans as the good guys, or at the least the not-so-bad guys.
More South Koreans are trying to evade military service, and anti-Americanism
has become fashionable.
The big lie is not a waste of time.