Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 5:15 AM

North Korea’s nuclear test is tail wagging the (US) dog … again

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Here, in part, is the statement President Barack Obama issued in response to the nuclear and missile tests North Korea conducted yesterday:

North Korea’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons, as well as its ballistic missile program, constitute a threat to international peace and security… North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community… We will work with our friends and allies to stand up to this behavior.

Alas, the only thing newsworthy about it is that this statement is almost identical to the one he issued last month in response to similar tests this hermit kingdom conducted.

Moreover, Obama could well have been reading from the statements his predecessors, Bush and Clinton, issued in response to the nuclear gamesmanship North Korea played on them throughout their presidencies.  After all, for decades now, the bilateral relationship between this little country and “the world’s sole superpower” has consisted of this improbable tail-wagging-the-dog phenomenon….

What is noteworthy, however, is that the US can no longer mask its fecklessness in the face of these nuclear taunts by claiming that North Korea has more bark than bite; which was persuasive, of course, because its missiles invariably misfired and its nuclear tests invariably bombed.  By contrast, not only did yesterday’s missiles hit their mark, the nuclear test was so successful that its explosive impact was reportedly “on par” with that of the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima.

More ominous, though, it was not lost on me that North Korea intended to suffuse its serial defiance with grave contempt by timing these tests to coincide with yesterday’s observance of Memorial Day, when the US honors its war dead.  Because the undeniable message the North Koreans delivered — in this ongoing psychological warfare — is that, if the US does not grant them the unconditional (and unlimited) economic concessions and political recognition they covet, then the Americans (or the South Koreans against whom they usually vent their anti-Americanism)  might have more dead to honor on this day than the Japanese.

In the meantime, North Korea’s determination to remain a nuclear menace to the world will be surpassed only by the US’s ability to conjure up statements condemning its nuclear diplomacy.  But I must admit that, just as US presidents have felt compelled to counter North Korea’s defiant behavior with hollow words, I have felt compelled to comment on their reaction with pointless exasperation.

Accordingly, I shall end this latest rant on this latest wag-the-dog farce as follows:

I could barely contain my stupefaction at President Obama and world leaders for wasting time at their summit to fix the global financial crisis to warn Kim that playing with nuclear missiles is not the way to win friends and influence people.

After all, the record clearly shows his pathology to be such that dire warnings from perceived enemies only embolden Kim’s unruly behavior. Not to mention the fact that these warnings never amount to anything more than hollow words.

[North Korea…calling the world’s bluff … again, TIJ, April 4, 2009]

Except, for the record, I should reiterate that:

The best way to deal with Kim is to let him test fire his missiles without making it seem like an existential threat to the world.  Especially since North Korea has the same sovereign right the US has to test its missiles … and he’ll do so anyway despite (or to spite) global protestations.

Of course, if he does the unthinkable (i.e. attacks another country or even attempts to sell nuclear weapons to terrorists), then I’m sure Obama will have no difficulty amassing a coalition of the willing, including the Chinese, to take out his little hermit kingdom.

[North Korea…calling the world’s bluff … again, TIJ, April 4, 2009]

NOTE: The UN’s condemnation of North Korea is so patently and inherently meaningless that I do not think it worthy of comment.

Related commentaries:
North Korea…calling the world’s bluff … again

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