Monday, October 09, 2006

NORK Nuke 

I haven't had the opportunity yet to really think this through, but I have the following gut-level impressions about the nuclear test announced by North Korea last night:

1. Diplomacy didn't work with NoKo, and probably won't work in the future so long as its current system of government is in place. Diplomacy probably won't work with Iran either. For diplomacy to work, the country whose behavior is to be influenced has to believe that it can accomplish its aims better by complying with than ignoring the diplomatic efforts of other countries. North Korea and Iran both currently believe that the "international community" is too fractious and lacks the necessary resolve to actually do something to back up their "strongly worded letters". It helps not to have a nutball absolute despot in control of the subject country. It's manifest that North Korea and Iran both have said nutball absolute despots in charge. Iraq used to have such a person in charge, now he's in the dock.

2. The "international community" is incapable of or unwilling to do what it takes to convince Kim that his actions are counterproductive to his desired outcomes. The great powers, China, Russia, the US and Japan, together with South Korea, have not been able to convince Kim that the consequences of his actions will be to his extreme detriment, not to mention the detriment of the North Korean people. I think this is partly due to the inability of all of those entities to get on the same page with respect to Kim's ambitions and what to do about them. Now that he claims to have tested a nuke, perhaps they'll get their act together, but I'm not optimistic.

3. Because of factors 1 and 2, it is likely that the history of Europe in the 1930s will be repeated in northeast Asia and southwest Asia within the next decade or so. I fear that the resulting wars will be shorter but much more lethal to the combatant countries. I pray that this prediction will prove abysmally wrong.

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