The stage was properly set up. At Pyongyang airport, Sergei Shoigu, a construction contractor without a day of military experience, assumed the role of a military leader and greeted Kim Jong Un’s soldiers waiting in line in his honour.
In his pocket, he kept a letter from his friend and boss, Vladimir Putin, written to the leader of North Korea. Putin might have written the letter as an expression of regret for missing the opportunity to pay a friendly visit and commemorate the 70th anniversary of the armistice agreement ending the war on the Korean peninsula.
Putin has not travelled anywhere since the International Criminal Court in The Hague accused him of war crimes in Ukraine and issued an international arrest warrant. He will not take any chances. He will not even travel to friendly South Africa for the BRICS summit, of which he is the founder.
He had to send the person closest to him to North Korea. Shoigu did not travel to Pyongyang so that he and Putin could pay tribute to the jubilee being celebrated there. To supply the conquest of Ukraine, the second-strongest army in the world (in his own words) has been rummaging at the back of its warehouses, so he came in desperation to ask for ammunition.
Since invading Ukraine, Russia has bought millions in artillery ammunition and missiles from North Korea. Moscow pays for the arms shipments mainly in food because that is the commodity North Korea lacks the most.
Two poor people who want to conquer the world and shape it to their liking, celebrate their brotherhood, organise bizarre military parades and wear formal uniforms for the occasion. But they do business as they did centuries ago, exchanging commodities for goods in secret and without payment since they have no money. Even if they did have money, they would be unable to transfer it because they have been expelled from the global payment system.
Pyongyang is becoming increasingly significant if not Russia’s closest friend and ally since it might be the only country that satisfies the requirements of the proverb that “true friends are known in trouble.” Along with providing weapons, North Korea also prepared and offered to send thousands of soldiers to fight with Russia in the occupied Ukrainian territories.
Few such friends support Russia. North Korea might be the sole remaining country. The result is that Moscow treats it patronisingly, so Maria Zakharova complained on the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War: “Peace and stability have never been achieved on the Korean Peninsula.” It is true that no lasting peace has ever been achieved, but this is only due to the lunatics from Pyongyang who have spent the last seven decades threatening to destroy everyone in their path: Japan, their brothers in the south of the peninsula, and most significantly, America, which they could not even reach. Nobody else but their Russian friend poses a threat to the stability of the Korean Peninsula, just as Russia alone is responsible for destroying the stability of Europe.
North Korea, the greatest renegade in the international community, remains Moscow’s only sincere friend as Moscow rapidly approaches its infamous renegade status.
Even the bank founded by BRICS in 2015 no longer wants to do business with Russia. Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who heads the BRICS New Development Bank, has announced that she would no longer finance projects in Russia and violate sanctions. The organisation Russia founded, together with China, India and Brazil, to change the world, lost faith in Russia. First, Putin does not dare to travel to the summit in Johannesburg for fear of being arrested there, and on top of that comes the even worse news that he cannot withdraw money from a bank he co-owns. Is he still a co-owner, or have they yet to tell him?
Even the “brothers” in the neighbourhood, those with whom Russia established the Collective Security Organisation (CSTO), have not been supportive since they refused to participate in joint military manoeuvres. On the world stage, in the UN, where Russia is still a permanent member of the Security Council without any logic, support has been reduced to a handful of renegades – in addition to North Korea, Belarus, Nicaragua, Syria and Eritrea.
Putin recently experienced a fiasco when he was preparing and expecting the triumph of his policy because two-thirds of the invited African leaders did not come to St. Petersburg for the Russia-Africa summit. He invested much to win their friendship, both money (corrupt) and the army (the Wagner Group), and in particular, promises to send them cheap food and weapons.
Being in a company with Putin and Russia has been a matter of poor choice and significant business risk. Today it is a matter of hygiene and the answer to the question – do you want to be part of a small renegade club? Russia has chosen, just like North Korea before it. In this deadly dance, Moscow and Pyongyang resemble each other more as they threaten to destroy everything around them, boasting that they are self-sufficient and do not need anyone.
If those countries were ordinary people, they would be placed in appropriate health institutions as a danger to themselves and the environment. Since they are not ordinary people, then the treatment must be different. The most significant part is carried out by the Ukrainian army on the ground, with the support of dozens of sincere friends from all over the world. They work together to move the threat as far away from their homes as possible. No one wants to deal with a renegade club.