Letters to the Editor for 8 April 2013

Rogue state: how to solve a problem like Korea

[Re: Why we should all fear North Korea’s descent into madness, Friday]

We should be wary of listening too closely to belligerent rhetoric from North Korea. First, many speculate about motives, but few have ever visited or even speak Korean. Simply reading the country’s English language announcements, sent out through the Korean Central News Agency and deliberately drafted for foreign consumption, gives a very distorted view of what is actually happening. And secondly, it’s important to remember that Kim Jongun sits at the head of a military-led regime. The military’s hold over power, and the country’s “military first” policy, started back in the mid 1990s, when Kim Jong-il (the current leader’s father) reportedly overcame a coup attempt. Both the father and son had no army experience, so recent threats may just be an attempt to secure position.

Scott Wilson

There seem to be two major theories regarding North Korea’s action. Either it is following its old history of blackmail to secure aid. Or this time is different, and Kim Jong-un is truly more demented than his father. But both these positions leave the West completely exposed. What can we do? We can’t accede to the country’s demands and pretend to not notice its nuclear weapons and anti-social statements. Nor can we respond with force, because that risks an even worse situation.

Mark Mitchell



HBOS report shows that everyone’s favourite cure for bad banks – separating retail and investment – doesn’t address the problem.

Worst error of HBOS report is that it fails to recognise that problem wasn’t market incentives not working, but their absence.

Bitcoin may be in a bubble, but won’t pop anytime soon. There’s too much instability, and too few people involved yet.

When you combine utopian wishfulness with the anxiety of being left behind, you get a bubble. In this case Bitcoin.