Saturday, April 15, 2017

North Korean Missile Crisis?

Newly arrived as a 13 year old at Beaumont College the long since closed Jesuit boarding school in Old Windsor, I well recall the  fear of the then Cuban Missile crisis in October 1962.

In those days the school had individual bedtime cubicles with desks, beds and cupboards for younger boys rather than open dormitories. There was a Jesuit in charge nearby who one rarely saw. However on the eve of the Cuban missile crisis, when the USA's President John F Kennedy and the USSR's President Nikita Khruschev were apparently so close to initiating a nuclear war over the USSR's stationing of nuclear missiles on Cuba proximate to the USA,  the Jesuit came into the dormitory and said that as this could be the last night of the world as we knew it we should pray  together the "De Profundis".

Most 13 year old boys were and perhaps are even more so today, hardly interested in religion or prayers. Nonetheless I well recollect almost 55 years later, the huge emotions coupled with not a little fear, with which all present said that prayer at the time:

Psalm 130 
Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord, shalt observe iniquities; Lord, who shall endure it?
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness:
and by reason of Thy law, I have waited for Thee, O Lord.
My soul hath relied on His word; my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him plentiful redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel from all her iniquities.
[In conclusion]
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
Let us pray.
O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful,
grant to the souls of Thy servants departed the remission of all their sins,
that through our pious supplication they may obtain that pardon
which they have always desired;
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.

Thus it is to me slightly surprising that the parallel if not even worse, threat building up over the Korean peninsular in 2017, is not so far apparently  creating similar emotions to those resulting from the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962.  The memories of many in 1962 of WWII compared with the majority at least in the West, at  the current time who thankfully  have no such memories, may explain the difference and hopefully the situation will in any event not deteriorate to the 1962 level or worse.

The North Korean Leader appears to behave like a spoilt child but sadly with unlimited adult guns possibly including as in 1962 nuclear missiles at his disposal, held essentially at the cost of impoverishment for many of his people.

The United States Leader is hardly a spoilt child-like figure but his behaviour in the days ahead may prove either dangerously immature, making him  in effect no better than the North Korean spoilt child President or depending on what decisions he makes in the near future, may be the making of one  who appears so far at least to be the most unpopular American President of my lifetime at least.

If the former, Psalm 130 may again need to be said from the depths of mankind's being. If the latter, the world may become a safer place.

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