Kim Jong Il, that bizarre North Korean dictator, who loves Warner Brothers cartoons (especially the Roadrunner and Daffy Duck), has now divulged his greatest test of world nerve jangling brinksmanship. The announcement today by his government’s spokesman that his country is planning to test a nuclear device “in complete safety”, and for the purpose of it being a deterrent against imperialist powers like the United States who want to harm him and his “peace loving regime”, has more than made countries like the U.S. a bit edgy. It has sparked off alarm bells all over the world – especially in Asian countries like South Korea and Japan.
Kim, whose ultra-authoritarian regime has put even Cuba’s Fidel Castro’s to shame, appears to be so fearful of being deposed (like Saddam Hussein was in Iraq) that he is willing to go the extra mile to provoke countries whom he thinks are planning to invade him, particularly the USA. President Bush, who named North Korea as one of the “Axis of Evil” a few years back, now has a very worrisome dilemma on his hands, as the other main member of the ‘Axis”, Iran, is accelerating it’s nuclear program with the obvious intention of “going nuclear” as well.
North Korea, which was persuaded to scale down its nuclear development program in the early 1990’s, now appears to be making up for lost time. In 2005, after canceling it’s participation in nuclear disarmament talks, North Korea is not willing to make a new treaty that would prevent it from gaining nuclear parity with countries such as India and Pakistan, both of whom have had nuclear weapons for years. That neither of these countries have used these terrible weapons of mass destruction against each other is only because both countries know they have too much to lose by doing so.
Kim Jong Il on the other hand, feels he has little to loose and very much to gain by becoming a nuclear power. After all, this is the country that imprisons, tortures, and kills thousands of its citizens; and where a similar number â€“ especially small children â€“ die from malnutrition annually. Kim’s fascination with Western entertainment media programming (especially cartoons), and the Internet, belie his outright fear of being invaded and deposed as Saddam was in 2003. He is clever enough to know that the U.S. Administration, his number one enemy as he sees it, is in no position to attack him other than shoot a few cruise missiles in his direction; or perhaps drop a few ‘smart bombs’ on some of his government buildings. These acts wouldn’t do much damage as Kim as an elaborate system of underground tunnels and bunkers available that would put Saddam Hussein’s or even Adolf Hitler’s hiding places to shame.
One very interested observer in this deadly game of ‘checkmate’ is most likely Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who will gauge his own country’s nuclear ambitions by what happens to North Korea, which is rumored to already be assisting Iran in its nuclear program. Another country involved at least indirectly in this scenario is Israel; which though not threatened by North Korea, is definitely being threatened by Iran. As was noted in a previous article I wrote: The Arrow and Iran Part III, the U.S. Administration may very well find itself in the dilemma of who to deal with first: Kim and his Daffy Duck mentality; or Mahmoud with his fatalistic desire to ‘erase the State of Israel from the face of the map’; no matter what the consequences may be.
It’s a very perilous world we all live in. And today’s extremely provocative announcement now makes it even more perilous. It almost makes one wish for a return to the “good old days” of the U.S. â€“ Soviet Union cold war. At least that conflict was a lot easier to figure out.
(Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia)