Sunday, October 08, 2006

Living with the Nuclear Renegade

Looks like finally ‘the ill’ Kim has crossed the Rubicon of the nuclear test. Confirmations are still yet to come and all we know it could be a big lie. But seems that S. Korean news agency has confirmed the test. All the world’s warnings did not produce anything. It is unlikely to produce anything much in future too. Will China come on the board in order to achieve total isolation of N. Korea? It is not clear. China’s worry of exodus of N. Korean refugees is still unanswered regardless of N. Korea with nuclear weapons or not. China proceeds in the full knowledge that N. Korea would not use that weapon to destabilize China.

If newly minted PM Abe’s Japan decides to go nuclear that will be the real worry for China. So the question is for the sake of Japan not getting any excuses will China finally become serious with N. Korea? Or does China feel that it’s economic might is enough to stop Japan going nuclear even though it lives under the shadows of nuclear N. Korea? Clearly that is not sustainable and at some point Japan will chart an independent course regardless of damages due to loss of Chinese market. There do not seem any clear signs where one can identify any such resolution with China.

And what about America? Taking aggressive line against N. Korea will not help much Pres. Bush in the November 2006 elections. So he may not want to spend too much of his energies on this issue. Further, he does not have much deterrence and credibility to address this issue in a diplomatic manner. As is clear for long time, only when America has alternative leadership, has been able to make visible progress in War on Terrorism and has been able to extricate herself from the quagmire called Iraq; America has a chance to make any progress diplomatically. Otherwise military action is the only option available to this administration and Iraq has shown clearly pitfalls of such a strategy. Neither this administration has any aptitude nor America has enough strength (unless it is goes on a replenishing program) to start a new military front. In the end for America, there is no other option than to bare with nuclear N. Korea (and emboldened Iran) for few more years.

Umesh Patil
San Jose, CA 95111
October 08, 2006.

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