Iran vs North Korea as the biggest threat (in Debates)

QBRanger June 23 2009 12:17 PM EDT

Both counties are in the news lately for similar but different reason.

Both pose a large thread to the safety of the planet.

Which do you think is the greater threat and why?

I believe N. Korea.


1) They already have nuclear weapons.
2) They are being run by a single dictator opposed to Iran that has a council of clerics. This dicator is a madman who oppresses his people far worse than Iran.
3) They have an unsubstainable economy. Without imports from China, the only way they can survive is to expand or threaten to get what the want and need.

So, let the debate begin.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] June 23 2009 12:22 PM EDT

Personally, Iran. Sure, N.K. has potential, but right now Iran has a bigger arsenal, a larger military, and can cause more damage.
However, N.K. in it's current state is more likely to strike, and they _do_ have the potential to reach Hawaii or Alaska with their long-range ballistic missiles. Good news is, we could quite easily squash them.
We would have to be far more careful with Iran, as Russia and Syria have high stakes with them.
All in all, Iran could cause more damage than N.K. (imho) ever could.

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] June 23 2009 12:24 PM EDT

Iran is a component in a puzzle a hundred years in the making.
The DPRK is a mite China chooses to keep around to make themselves look less extreme. Should the time come that China can't control them they'll simply clean out the government and build some factories there.

The middle east is a much more volatile area for us, and our interests there far outweigh the possibility of attacks from the DPRK. If we can't successfully install a friendly regime in Iran, the pipeline we're working towards won't be completed. </trutheresquerant>

Revs June 23 2009 12:25 PM EDT

My personal opinion is that Iran is the bigger threat. Mainly because of their ties to the rest of the muslim world in the middle east that all seem to be united in their goal of the destruction of Israel. And as we've allied with and supported Israel throughout our own history, that puts any of our own actions in that region as more fuel for the tinderbox that region already is. I think N.Korea's stance could change radically in it's opinion of the US with the right change in leadership. But the muslim world has already labeled us "the great satan" and that's much harder to change. I think I'd rather face off with a crazy dictator, than the 2nd fastest growing religion that has determined that your country is the nemesis of their faith. So for me, in those terms, Iran is the much scarier situation.

Rubberduck[T] [Hell Blenders] June 23 2009 12:28 PM EDT

I guess it depends on which one the US antagonizes the most :P

BadFish June 23 2009 12:58 PM EDT

Nov: I would normally agree with you, but remember, just because they're not stupid Americans doesn't mean China can't fumble things either. I think they're playing with fire and a risk burning a lot of innocent people.

Cube June 23 2009 1:24 PM EDT

North Korea is far more oppressive than any other country. They keep a large army, and are continually trying to develop long range nuclear weapons despite sanctions. They near 'brainwash' their people, and do far scarier things. We technically never made peace with them, and if you saw recent news articles, they 'vowed 1000 fold retaliation' for any belligerent action or something like that.

Cube June 23 2009 1:29 PM EDT

Korea, North οΎ— Population: 23,479,088

Active personnel 1,190,000
Reserve personnel 4,700,000

{Wookie}-Jir.Vr- June 23 2009 3:36 PM EDT

Bah, I say push the little red button on both of em, but I'm a realist and I hold no value in human life. So likely I'm near alone in not caring if we send 50,000 missiles their way. Tho I would say NK would be the greater 'threat' of the two.

Revs June 23 2009 5:08 PM EDT

So hopefully then, Kim Jong-il doesn't share your "values". ;)

Cube July 2 2009 3:13 PM EDT

Wow, just heard a pharaphrase of what they teach kids in NK from a refugee on the Daily show...

"If I throw a grenade and kill two Americans, and I throw another grenade and kill three Americans, how many Americans have I killed?"

As I said NK is far far scarier, it's really no contest. Iran has had recent protests, no way they'd get away with that in NK. There is western influence in Iran, none in NK.

their ties to the rest of the muslim world in the middle east that all seem to be united in their goal of the destruction of Israel
Iran is actually the most separate from the rest of the Muslim world, in terms of religion - they are primarily Shi'a muslim. As for Israel, I think that the position that Israel's overreached what it should be is valid; there clearly are issues in the area. They aren't that far out there when you compare the far out voices on our airwaves. You have to also keep in mind translation issues, an extreme phrase used in our language isn't necessarily meant to be extreme in this case it's pretty clear Ahmadinejad did not mean 'to wipe Israel off the map' instead it was much more moderate.

Iran has a bigger arsenal, a larger military, and can cause more damage.
They're actually pretty comparable in terms of spending. North Korea has far more people though.

QBRanger July 2 2009 3:18 PM EDT

"it's pretty clear Ahmadinejad did not mean 'to wipe Israel off the map' instead it was much more moderate."

No, it is very clear what Ahmadinejad stated. Many times he stated Israel is a 1 bomb state. He wants the destruction of Israel. I have never heard debate on those points until now.

This in addition to being a Holocaust denier.

How much clearer can he be?

Rubberduck[T] [Hell Blenders] July 2 2009 3:26 PM EDT

I'm guessing the Israel statement was made for domestic propaganda purposes.

Cube July 2 2009 3:29 PM EDT

Yes, wikipedia's not a valid source, but the assessment there was similar to what I've learned elsewhere. As for his holocaust denial, that's not completely definite either.

It's hard to describe, but I took a course on cultural differences, and when we discussed the Middle East, we talked about the bargaining culture of the Middle east. Such that you make outrageous statements, and then concede specific points as they come up.

My professor had some personal examples from when he taught in the Middle East. If say he caught a person cheating, he'd ask them in to talk. They'd say they didn't cheat at all initially. He'd then point out similar phrasing or something, and then they'll concede maybe for that one question. There were more examples, but basically, it makes discussion with Middle Easterners difficult for us to comprehend.

Cube July 2 2009 3:41 PM EDT

And I don't mean to say he's completely reasonable, but when you take into account, translation/culture and then compare him to say Michael Savage. It's not really out of whack.

Sickone July 2 2009 7:25 PM EDT

A single dictator is easily removed from office via assasination (and if he starts reaching for the "nuke'em" button, you can be sure somebody with a gun in that room WILL prefer to give his life in exchange for the dictator's death, if only to preserve the life of his family and friends from the unavoidable global nuclear holocaust that would follow if he didn't act).
The contry's mentality however is not religious fundamentalism, so after the unavoidable eventual death (even if just from old age) of the "leader", they are just as much of a threat as any other country that has nukes.

Even if the country is tying to get "nuclear", and even if they succeed, the recent wave of protests show that an increasing number of people are opposing the current style of leadership (both that of the so-called "president" and that of the religious heads), so in case they decide to do something too agressive that would force an outside intervention, internal struggles would soon make the ruling class fall out of whatever remaining grace they have.

So, in my opinion, neither N.Korea nor Iran are a SERIOUS threat to the safety of the planet.
On the other hand, the USA is right now the biggest threat :)
More than half of the world depends some way or another economically on the USofA, and the internal economy is on the verge of total collapse (and the government is only slowing it down, even if their intention might be to stop it, current policy has no chance to do that), a collapse which would send shockwaves across the globe, directing affecting a huge amount of people, and indirectly affecting just about everybody else, shockwaves that would be orders of magnitude worse than the current economic "crisis".
Due to the economic collapse, many not-so-stable countries might be facing internal power struggles, fragile balances of power will be shatered, and I fully expect most of the non-industrially-developed countries to enter a state of war (or at least unofficial incursions/skirmishes, border disputes or such) with most of their neighbours over trivial (economically-motivated) matters.

A Lesser AR of 15 [Red Permanent Assurance] July 3 2009 4:03 AM EDT

Nice pipe dreams sickone.
Only a well orchestrated coup against lil' Kim could be met with no immediate reprisals. Probably be a three way with China, a 3rd party, and N.Korean nationalists. No heroes will brave the darkness they helped create without personal gain.
The recent Iranian election showed a revolution by the people is probably the only way to change the governing body for the better, not some group of newly self-sacrificing politically muslim clerics who finally think killing isn't the way to win. What you aren't considering is an overthrow of that sorts would likely come after we found plains of glass. I'd be happily shocked if a preemptive save did happen in terms of war.
Will agree US is the other gorilla in the big blue room. But the fall of Rome didn't leave a massive crater and they did much better. Considering the poverty and industry internationally we'd leave an economic bruise and footnotes in history as the world still turns. We're only a meteor the size of Texas heading for an Enron bubble burst at 17 thousand mph in our own island world. When your global megashake happens we'll just play WoW less.

QBOddBird July 4 2009 12:49 AM EDT

NK is run by a madman, but I don't think he'd risk his domain by taking action against the US. I think they're flexing muscle at us, but only intend to move against the nearby area; I'm honestly surprised China hasn't quashed their actions yet.

Iran, however, is a bigger threat in my eyes. They have the ability to cause enormous problems in an already unstable area, and religious fanaticism mixed in doesn't help the situation. And there's of course the fact that so much is dependent on the oil and other materials coming from that part of the, it's definitely Iran in my eyes. There's just so much more riding on the situation over there.
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