Who would think the President of the United States doesn't want to upset New York City's economy by bombing North Korea's nuclear production plant?  Shhh...don't tell anyone he doesn't want to make the Korean deli owners mad.  If he did, they might stop the flow of food to New Yorkers.   Read this not-so-parody on negotiating a peace in North Korea.


Friday--January 3, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 478
North Korea Terrorist Block
Hides In New York Delis

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Jan. 3-- I've figured out why President Bush is dancing around the North Korean nuclear production plant issue.   I think I know why he's reluctant to bomb North Korea's "bomb making" plant and eager to blast Saddam Hussein out of existence.

North Korea's top diplomat in Beijing, Choe Jin Su, blamed the U.S. for his country's decision to re-start its nuclear program.

       It has to do with New York City's delis.
      The vast majority of delis in New York City as well as in Los Angeles and other major U.S. cities, are run by Koreans.
      You blow up North Korea's nuclear plant, you launch war in North Korea, you screw up South Korea.  The whole region suffers, including Japan and China.
       If President Bush treats North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, as he is Saddam Hussein, who's to say the deli owners in New York City might not react.  After all, a Korean is a Korean, regardless of whether he or she is from the North or South.  It's still one country by ethnicity regardless of politics.
       In New York City there are at least two delis on every street.
       Sometimes there are four, one on each corner.

President Bush showed off a waterfall from the recent rains at his Texas ranch and talked to reporters about the nuclear standoff with North Korea.  He strongly criticized its leader Kim Jong Il.

        While there are some other ethnic owners, Koreans seem to dominate this field.  I spent most of the evening last night hunting for hard data to support my scenario that New York Deli ownership is holding back President Bush from an all-out assault on North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility which is reopening after being closed down since 1994. 
        The problem goes back to 1994 when North Korea allegedly violated a pact with the U.S. to forgo nuclear arms in return for energy aid.   Oil has been embargoed as a club over North Korea to stop spending money on building military might and divert funds to the economy.  North Korea spends about 30 percent of its gross domestic product on the military.  

North Korean Military

North Korean missiles on parade

     Critics of Bush's policy against Iraq are railing that the U.S. should expend the same diplomatic energy on Iraq that is being used to deal with the North Korean problem.    That is, more negotiations should be effected, more talks, more time and less saber rattling, less war talk.
          But I think the real reason President Bush is hedging on North Korea is his fear of deli retaliation here in New York City, as well as other major urban centers where Koreans control the flow of food.
         Big city people--the average people not the rich ones--lean on deli's like more suburban communities rely on convenience and grocery stores.
         There aren't many grocery stores in New York City.  But there are billions of delis.

One of the larger sized delis in NYC

         Total convenience stores in the U.S. amount to over 130,000.   On average, there is one convenience store for every 2,333 people in America.   In New York City, applying that average suggests there are about 3,500 such stores dotted around the city.
          But, since everything is crammed into one place here, the averages can easily double.   It's more likely there are twice as many delis in New York City than  the average in the U.S, one for every 1,150 people or so.   That would boost the number of deli's in the Big Apple to over 7,000.
         Anyone who has ever walked the streets of New York City would agree in a New York Minute that a predominate source of commerce in the city is the deli.  It serves everything and everyone.  Food, beer, drinks, groceries, pharmacy items, toiletries, lotto and also makes sandwiches and provides meals.  
         Another good measure of the number of delis is the New York cab system.  I happen to know for sure there are 11,000 cabs in New York City, and some 44,000 drivers.  
          If you were to liken deli's to cabs, you'd be using your gut instincts properly.
          Yellow Cabs and Delis are hallmarks to New York City's landscape.
          And, if you've ever been in and out of New York Deli's, you know the majority of them are run by Korean owners.  If you're not sure, try arguing with one of them about the prices, or implying you got the wrong amount of change (less than you deserved, of course.)  
          So while I can't parade "hard data" as I would prefer, I can wisely surmise that my suggestion over 7,000 delis exist here is within reason if not actual fact.   Plus, lets add at least five employees per store.   That's a population of 35,000, getting pretty close to the Yellow Cab driver data, another good benchmark for comparing deli density.
          Also, if you make war with North Korea, you automatically create war in South Korea.   North Korea has 11,000 missiles aimed at South Korea and Japan.  They aren't nuclear, but they are devastating little creatures that can blow things up and level the earth.
          North Korea could retaliate against the 37,000 U.S. troops in South Korea and wipe out lots of friends and relatives of the New York City deli owners.  That wouldn't be good.   It wouldn't be good for New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles, three major cities who have high Korean deli ownership.
          Economically, such convenience stores represent a huge flow of cash in our society.   Store Watch, a business monitoring system for convenience stores located at reports the average store generates about $870,000 per year in sales.  If you multiply that times 7,000, you have a big chunk of change that flows mostly through Korean hands in New York City--about $6 billion.   That's not small change. 
         If you think about it, the vast amount of money spent by any consumer is for food.   Everyone is always going to the "store," but in New York City and other big cities, people go to the "deli."  

           President Bush knows that if he attacks North Korea he is by default, attacking New York City delis.   He is risking turning the flow of food to the mass populations of the big cities over to people who will resent his war, and perhaps retaliate.
           This isn't to suggest that Korean deli merchants are Terrorists.   But they are mothers, fathers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces of those who will suffer.   Blood spilled in Korea can flow back to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in a number of ways.
          What if all the delis shut down in protest?
          New Yorkers would starve!

          Riots would take place.
          September 11 would look like a walk in the sun compared to the chaos that would happen.
         Back when the Terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, almost every Yellow Cab flew American flags and many had signs in the cab's window saying "I support the USA."

Vigilant Taxi Driver

          The cab drivers knew the danger of being earmarked a Middle Eastern sympathizer.
         And, President Bush knows the danger of rubbing the Korean merchants the wrong way.   When we attack Korea, we attack the deli system.   
           So, for those of you wondering why the President is dancing around the North Korean issue of nuclear weapons while rushing to judgment over Saddam Hussein, the difference is Yellow Cabs versus delis.
           New York could survive easily if the cabs all came to a stop.  If, for some reason when we attack Iraq all the cab drivers protest, a shortage of 11,000 vehicles ferrying people here and there is not a great loss.  Subways and buses can pick up the slack. 
           But, if we attack North Korea and the ripple effect spreads to South Korea, as it is projected to do so, then great havoc could result.   New Yorkers could be starved to death.
           Now, that's a big issue.

           We often think that when the President of the United States enters the War Room and the giant titanium doors slam shut, that the conversations with his staff are about lofty issues of geopolitical consequence.   We don't want to think that the major global policies of the United States are being formed around the threats of a deli strike, or that the owners of a deli in New York City can influence the world.
           But that his more than likely.

           The real facts of life are simple.   A roof over ones head, food, and water.   Things couldn't be simpler.  Take away any one of those prime elements to survival, and you have anarchy.
           The Beast of Terror would reign supreme if the delis in New York closed.  He would spew out Fear, Intimidation and Complacency...and dance in the streets of chaos.
          The President and his advisors know that.

           So, we can all look to a quiet resolution to the North Korean problem.   That resolution will be simply to attack Iraq and squelch all the headlines and questions about North Korea as we obliterate Hussein.  
          While that's going on, perhaps secret negotiations can take place in North Korea about issuing more Green Cards for more deli owners in the United States.  
           Peace can be as simple as who sells the food.

          If our tummies our full, maybe we won't worry about who has the next nuclear bomb. 
           And maybe, just maybe, President Bush will lift some embargos and flood North Korea with New York delis.  It might be cheaper to install 7,000 New York Delis in North Korea than to bomb their nuclear site.  I think the North Koreans would rather have food in their tummies than radioactive dust.
           That would be the most Vigilant decision, I think.
           In the interim, I'm going to be extra nice to my local deli owner.  You can never have enough friends in the food business.




Jan 2--Where Is The Most Wanted Terrorist Waldo?

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