Monday, October 09, 2006

North Korea’s Actions Against The World

Well, as the world already knows, North Korea claims to have tested an underground nuclear bomb. Let’s clarify that, the Communist country performed a nuclear test underground but yes, it is safe to say it was a bomb. Besides the fact that the country announced it would conduct such a test last week, it does seem hard to believe it could be anything other than a bomb, unless the country's leader Kim Jong-II order that nearly a million microwave ovens to go off as a practical joke.

Sadly, it is not some sick joke. According to the Associated Press, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivano said today that North Korea's nuclear test was equivalent to 5,000 tons to 15,000 tons of TNT. The bomb that struck Hiroshima during World War II by the U.S. was equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT.

This resulted in a 4.2-magnitude earthquake about 240 miles northeast of the North Korean capital Pyongyang, recorded at 10:35 a.m. (believed to be EST) according to the U.S. Geological Survey Web site, reported by CNN. Even South Korean intelligence officials confirmed this.

The world has already starting to denounce the nuclear test, saying it will make relations with North Korea far worse than they already are. Even China and Russia are among these vocals of criticism.

And yes, this test certainly does not help matters. Only three short months ago, the world was on pins and needles as North Korea tested fired rockets, with giving a few in the world a sign of relief when the long-ranged Taepodong-2 missile failed. However, whatever the failures were are most likely corrected now, or in the planning stages. Not a comforting thought to have when trying to fall asleep tonight but a realistic one we must realize.

North Korea claims that it’s only conducting these tests because of the “building of U.S. aggression,” adding that President Bush plans on overthrowing its government. Of course, North Korea sang a different tune back in July of 2000, because there were delays of the construction of two Western-developed light-water nuclear reactors for the country. These reactors were part of a U.S. deal made in exchange for North Korea to freeze and disassemble its nuclear weapons programs. North Korea threaten it would start up this lovely nuclear program if the U.S. did not compensate the country for loss of electricity. Certainly, these are not reasonable actions to take when things do not work out, whatever the reasons. Other sensible, non-threatening steps could have been taken back in 2000 but this just goes to show you the mind-set of the people we are dealing with.

With countries like North Korea, or dealing with their leaders such as Jong, appeasement does not work. Bowing down to people like this usually comes back and bites America and the world in the end. The solution? Freezing some money and bank accounts, along with placing additional embargos might work but that alone will probably not be enough.

Another option is a military one. Attacking the Communist country’s weapons facilities now before they have a chance of actually build a long-range nuclear missile seems logical, if they have not done so already. Seems like a reasonable course of action but may not be the best one. Unless powerhouses like Russia and China want to tag along, which would send a very strong message to North Korea, even a threat of such a war might be enough though.

Another course of action is to go to the U.N., but this organization does not have a good track record on dealing with violent leaders or terror organizations. Their failure to enforce their own resolutions against former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein or preventing Hezbollah resulted in the growing in numbers of members, weapons and bases for the two parties. Because of this, two major wars resulted. (Which are two topics for another day.) If the U.N. had the backbone to actually follow the letter of the international laws placed against dangerous dictators and terrorists groups, then that is probably the best option to take.

However, since it is not, something must be done and appeasement is not the answer. Even if another deal is worked out, North Korea cannot be allowed to remove IAEA monitoring seals and cameras from its nuclear facilities and force out the watchdog agency's inspectors, as they did in December of 2002. Kim Jong-Il actions are threatening the world and it must stop immediately. If sound, rational actions are not taken soon over this crisis, it is not unreasonable to assume that North Korea may very well start a nuclear war.