It’s March Madness on the Korean peninsula right now, bro, and shit’s heating up quicker than a Halloween foam party at full capacity. Kim Jong Un keeps fronting, the international community keeps fretting.
In case you’ve been trapped under a mountain of empties and slampieces (you know we are), here’s an animated timeline of North Korea’s escalating threats:
December 12th, 2012: North Korea launched a three-stage rocket and placed a satellite in orbit, they were like:
Jan 22, 2013: The UN Security Council passes a resolution condemning North Korea’s rocket launch and tightening existing sanctions, but Kim Jong Un was like, nah man:
Feb 26: In response to the sanctions, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un launches a live-fire artillery drill aimed at simulating an “actual war” with South Korea, but it was weak. Bro, it looked like:
March 1: But South Korea and the US ain’t gonna be fronted on like that. They launched the annual “Foal Eagle” joint military exercise:
March 5: North Korea says it will scrap armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, but the international community was like:
March 7: North Korea threatens a “pre-emptive” nuclear strike against the United States and South Korea, but who gives a shit. The US was like:
March 8: North Korea announces the voiding of non-aggression pacts with South Korea and severs a government hotline with Seoul. Kim Jong-Un tours frontline island units and vows “all-out war”:
March 11: South Korea and US launch annual “Key Resolve” joint military so we were like:
March 12: Kim Jong-Un threatens to “wipe out” South Korean island of Baengnyeong. South Korea is like:
March 22: South Korea and US sign new pact providing for a joint military response even to low-level provocation by North Korea. They’re OG bros:
March 29: Kim Jong-Un, vowing to “settle accounts,” orders missile units to prepare to strike US mainland and military bases in the Pacific. The US is just like:
March 30: North Korea declares it had entered into a “state of war” with South Korea and all my bros are ready:
What happens now? Well, nothing yet. So the international community is just like,
Elections in the United States tend to bring with them some casual partying, maybe a keg stand or two for freedom, some shots for ‘Murica. But ultimately you know you’re going to end up with lady liberty naked in your bed at 1:00pm and a mild hangover; just casual bro shenanigans.
But Kenya doesn’t mess with that banal party swag. No man, when Kenya has an election they rage hard. Like Halloween foam party hard; like someone accidentally delivered a case of Smirnoff at our door the day after finals and bunch of bitches are coming over later to get down hard; like your country has undergone years of forced integration at the hand of colonial powers, resulting in intense animosity and resentment that fractures the country along ethnic and economic lines, rather than a shared nationality, hard.
So Kenya has a history of raging. So what? If raging was a crime we’d all be locked away by now (well, probably not because our dads are rich as fuck and we got swagged out legal representation).
But when Kenya rages, it’s a little different. The last time Kenyans went to the polls in 2007, the results were disputed and ethnically aligned gangs took the lives of more than 1,100 people during weeks of violent unrest.
Also, while raging on college campus is (for the most part) legal, two of Kenya’s presidential candidates this year, Former finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, are due to appear before the International Criminal Court at The Hague in a few weeks, charged with torturing, persecuting, killing and displacing civilians during Kenya’s last election crisis. Kind of like a more intense, internationally condemned form of pledging that ultimately destabilizes an entire region.
Mr. Ruto is generally considered the main instigator of violence, but is revered as a political hero in the Kalenijin ethnic community. Mr. Kenyatta is the son of former President Jomo Kenyatta, hailing from an entirely different ethnic background. The potential for serious violence is as clear as a fifth of Grey Goose premium vodka (which, ironically, also causes mass ethnic raging within the Greek community).
Complicating the already tenuous peace between the two ethnic rivals is the deep inequality prevalent throughout the country. While unemployment in some regions hovers around 40%, the political elite continues to award themselves inflated salaries and perks, again along ethnic lines, even in the face of mass strikes and labor unrest.
A little context: Kenya is an important country for a number of reasons. It has long stood as one of the most industrialized and democratic countries in sub-Saharan Africa and is the cornerstone of US security in the region. So unlike the majority of Africa, the United States actually cares about what happens politically.
Following the mass outbreaks in violence in 2007, the international community, and America, was like, “nah man, screw this noise,” prompting then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to fly into Nairobi and moderate meetings between the two main political factions.
The result was a referendum on a new constitution in 2010 that devolved power and established a “bill of rights,” as well as the Integrity and Leadership Bill (whatever the hell that means) and local tribunals to prosecute suspects of election killings.
But, like most things political in Africa, politicians implicated in the violence blocked the tribunals and other ambitious reforms crucial to avoiding renewed violence in 2013 were not pushed through. Also, the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission have yet to release recommendations for remediating previous cycles of violence, stoking the flames of frustration throughout the nation.
This election-cycle Kenyans will vote for the first time for county governors and senators, as per the new constitution established in 2010, which sounds fine, but also could lead to intense competition and rivalry on a local level and raise the chances of violence.
Shit is cray, bro. What can we even do?
Well, there are a lot of things that could be done to alleviate violence in Kenya, mainly expanding access to reliable public services and providing more opportunities to young people to find work. There is also a large role for community organizations to play in working outside of Kenya’s broken political system to affect change on a local level. Kenyan civic groups have also tried desperately to shift the conversation away from ethnic identities, launching a broad public campaign to make the election issue-focused.
In regards to reconciliation, Kenya should seriously turn to their bro South Africa, who’s post-apartheid reconciliation process was arguably the most successful the world has ever seen. But that’s an entirely different story, bro.
While all attention will be turned towards national politics and regional strife, there are tangible things being done in local communities to find ways out of violence for the urban poor.
That being said, ultimately much of the change must happen from the top before Kenya sees a true path forward. Until then, Kenya’s election ragers are just an unfortunate reality.
Y’all are acting sketch right now. The crew and me are over here trying to play some Lax and listen to the BBC World News hour, and all I’m hearing is about you two bros getting all up in each other’s faces over some bitch-ass islands in the East China Sea.
Senkaku Islands, Diaoyu Islands; it don’t matter. At the end of the day, we’re all bromosapiens. That’s real talk, homie.
I mean, what happened bros? 2012 was supposed to be the “Friendship Year of Japan-China People to People Exchanges,” celebrating 40 years of peaceful diplomatic ties between your two countries, a year of the ultimate chillness.
But instead we’re seeing violent protests, bloviated rhetoric and aggressive behavior from both sides. Come on. Me and my Lax bros have chested-up over some bitties at our date parties before, but our confrontations never ended with smashing Japanese-shops, cars and burning down department stores. Nah man, we end up burning down some dank grass and zoning out to Kid Cudi (bitches love Cudi).
Now bros, I know both of your politics are deeply rooted in right-wing nationalism. China, I know slow economic-growth has begun to delegitimize your government’s control over the population; that shit’s cray. Plus you got an election coming up and you need to stir up some fervor during a high-profile transition of power.
And let’s get real, y’all both want that oil.
But come on, World War II is so 20th century and you’ve been chill for a while now. If we held grudges against every frat that copped our swag during tailgates, well, our flow would not be so god damn tight.
I get it China. The US military has shifted its focus to East Asia with the intention of setting up an institutional framework focused on containment so you’re trying to assert your regional autonomy by flexing your military might. We do it all the time. But when we flex we just pick up slampieces. When your military flexes, you potentially could cause a crippling blow to a global economy already teetering on the edge of collapse.
But we all know the prospects for actual conflict are as low as bitties on the dance floor.
Check it: states go to war when the costs of doing so are less than the rewards. Yeah, there are some dank natural resources underneath the Islands but the political and economic costs of conflict vastly exceed the benefits of controlling them (at least for now).
Plus, if a conflict does break out, the United States and NATO will be implicated and then we’ve got to back up our bros in the region. And we’ve got a lot of bros in the region, bro. I know we’ve been fronting on you lately, and that shit hurts. But you don’t want to mess with us. Seriously. Our military is fuckin’ swollen bro, we lift every goddamn day and chase it with some Burnett’s Vodka and raw eggs. The ultimate Brotein shake.
You know bulkin’ up for the ladies is tight, but bulkin’ up to continue promoting a unipolar foreign policy agenda is even tighter. Keep that shit in mind, bro.
So here’s what I propose: why don’t we just grab my bro’s new Roor bong, get faded and chill; I’m talking BROne, Thugs and Harmony chill. Then we can just talk this shit out like we’re ABROham Lincoln, go play ultimate and pound back some Natty Ice. That shit’s real.
A Concerned Bro