Do We Believe Our Own BS?

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reported what, at first, appears to be continued, blatant aggression by North Korea:

South Korea returned fire twice toward North Korea Wednesday after it said artillery shells fired from the North landed on the southern side of the countries’ sea border near an island Pyongyang attacked last year.

But, the situation is more complex, and viewed as South Korean aggression in Pyongyang. The Northern Limit Line, which the article describes as “the countries’ sea border” was unilaterally drawn by the United States at the end of the Korean War and never accepted by the North. It limits North Korea’s access to fishing grounds, constrains navigation to a major Northern port, and does not meet international norms in other respects as well.

Pretending that the Northern Limit Line is the recognized international boundary between North and South Korea not only fans the danger of a nuclear catastrophe with North Korea. It also fuels China’s concerns that the US is arrogantly asserting military power in its backyard, increasing the risk of a Sino-American crisis – one that would have even greater potential for horrific nuclear consequences.

In business, it is said that a company is in trouble when management starts believing its own B.S. The same applies to countries, and the stakes are much higher. Let’s recognize the Northern Limit Line for what it is, not what our mythology says it is.

Martin Hellman

About Martin Hellman

I am a professor at Stanford University, best known for my invention of public key cryptography -- the technology that protects the secure part of the Internet, such as electronic banking. But, since 1982, my primary interest has been how fallible human beings can survive possessing nuclear weapons, where even one mistake could be catastrophic. My latest project is a book, co-written with my wife Dorothie, with the audacious subtitle "Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet." It's on Amazon and a free PDF can be downloaded from its website:
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3 Responses to Do We Believe Our Own BS?

  1. jon says:

    I agree. More information is available at:

  2. I certainly agree with you. However, many of us (myself included) are not as informed as we should be to know BS from Shinola. Thanks for this information.

  3. Sonia says:

    I definitely agree. It is rather important for people to understand the reality of certain issues and to not be blinded by their own hopes. Thank you for sharing this excellent and interesting point.

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