Marmot’s Note: Welcome to all you clicking in from Instapundit and Pajamas Media.  This is the Marmot’s Hole, where it’s Korea 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

Now to Mr. Bumgartner’s post…


Here’s a handy-dandy Guide To The End (Or Not):

While generally nothing should happen now that the DPRK has tested an A-bomb (hell, nothing else they’ve done over the years has changed anything) let’s take a brief look at what an expat in Korea should look forward to before they decide to freak out.

Keep tabs on the American media
For many expats (esp. those of us who don’t know the language) Korea can be kind of a cocoon. You never know what the outside world is thinking about what is going on here unless you seek it out. Therefore, the next few days you should probably avail yourself of the American media to see if there is The Great Freakout on the part of the American mass media. There might be a week of hand-wringing that will climax with the Sunday chat shows where a final decision will be imparted by The Powers That Be. Within a week, we should have a sense of where that’s headed. How many talking heads focus on the potential blackmarket value of an a-bomb? How many talk about how Iran and the DPRK might join forces to become a “true” Axis of Evil?

The UN
American President Bush has said he plans to head to the UN if, well, if the DPRK does exactly what it just did. Things could start to get a little hot in these parts if he is able to successfully get sanctions placed on the DPRK in the coming days. Pay close attention to the exact wording of any resolutions. Can the US take proactive steps to enforce the embargo? Does it tacitly allow for a navel blockade?

The US Military & CNN
Another thing to keep an eye on is the US military…or more exactly, how CNN starts to deal with such things. Ever since the first Gulf War, CNN has had a tendency to be the wink & nod of the US military. If suddenly there are lots of prime time specials about starving North Korean children and or torture chambers, then you know that the US government is at least brooding about some sort of military action. This will be doubly so if there are all kinds of odd military movements in the area that CNN mentions in passing in a very casual-yet-threatening way.

This is significantly more difficult for someone like me to give anyone any advice on ’cause I’ve only been here two years and I can’t speak the language. But…as all this happens…is there a more obvious security / military presence on the streets? Are there more military copters in the air randomly?

I would suggest that any type of random civil defense practice on the part of the ROK government would definitely be the first concrete sign that somewhere other than Korea might be a good bet (unless, of course, you want to be a stringer for a Western news agency.)

The only military thing I could maybe — just maybe — see happening is some sort of limited middle-of-the-night attack on some DPRK military installations. Then we all would have to collectively hold our breath. But, honestly, I just think we’re in store for a lot of nervousness…then the “new normal” of a ICBM / A-bomb DPRK.

Welcome to the future, bitches!