Monday, September 04, 2017

North Korea's Nukes

Over the weekend, North Korea claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb. The test, Michael Harris writes, brought universal condemnation:

Britain’s foreign minister, Boris Johnson, slammed Kim Jong-un for his “reckless” action.

India “deplored” the nuclear test, which it claimed had “gone against the objective of the de-nuclearlization of the Korean Peninsula.”

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the North Korean test with what he described as “the utmost vigour,” a lawless act that the UN Security Council should deal with expeditiously. He forgets that when France was blowing up paradise in the South Pacific with its nuclear tests, Charles de Gaulle had this to say by way of justification: “We are compelled to acquire the most powerful weapons of the age.”

And therein lies the problem. The nations condemning North Korea already possess nuclear weapons.  They have no intention of giving them up. And there are recent lessons about what happens to countries that do give up their nukes:

Compare that [Kim's nuclear program] to the route chosen by Col. Muammar Gaddafi — to give up his weapons of mass destruction program to avoid the fate of Saddam Hussein. Instead, Gaddafi’s regime crumbled, and he ended up on the wrong end of a bayonet. Kim was 19 years old when that happened but I’m betting he remembers it like yesterday.

The reason Kim is pursuing nuclear weapons is that he has seen that they are the ultimate sanctuary for anyone who possesses them. India, Pakistan, and Israel all obtained nuclear weapons despite the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty which came into force in 190 nations in 1970. Those countries have faced no consequences for that.  Instead, they took their place in the hierarchy of powerful nations of the world not to be trifled with.

 So far, that insight seems to have alluded our present generation of Western leaders.



Steve said...

I was thinkingaboot exactly the same thing yesterday. In fact its a three legged stool that no one can sit on.

Breaking news Trump may be crazier than Kim.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget Israel. There is a difference between the political rhetoric of North Korea as it developed its nuclear capacity and that of most of the countries you mentioned with the exception of Libya. North Korea has threatened nuclear attacks against the United States during the entire process. This is significantly different from a nation quietly developing its "bomb" to ensure its protection from more powerful countries, in the process levelling threats at nobody.
This is war, or more precisely, the continuation of a war which was never ended, but merely paused with a ceasefire in the early 1950's (1954?). Perhaps rather than engaging in provocative rhetoric and making plans for war, what the USA and its allies need to do is end one, possibly conceding that North Korea had a right to be recognized as a country with its own government, as repulsive as that government may seem.
Just saying...


Owen Gray said...

As you say, Steve, once a regime goes nuclear, the idea of attacking it becomes problematic.

Owen Gray said...

In the end, CD, the United States will be forced to recognize North Korea -- warts and all. Unless, of course, Trump has lost his grip on reality.

the salamander said...

.. there's been endless evolution in 'the art of war'
I may comment again, later.. but for now
think about how 'cyber war' tactics will be utilized..
not mention drone strategies, against a foe
such as North Korea.. and its 'leader'
who appears to be a grandiose nihilist
perceiving himself a 'god'
who seeks no successor & may be A-OK
with going out in a resplendent blaze of 'glory'..
Meanwhile he cannot feed his peoples..


Owen Gray said...

The grandiose ego has almost always been the source of great disorder and destruction, salamander.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

In short, a simple case of self-preservation.

Owen Gray said...

But in the West, Tal, no one is walking in North Korea's shoes.

John B. said...

Will we be required to make annual or monthly donations to the DPRK national food bank? Will they accept Bitcoin or does it have to be in $US? What about canned goods? Can we send our cheques for the cheese directly to Switzerland?

Owen Gray said...

If these guys follow through on their threats, John, there will be no need for food banks.