Whether Iran was directly involved in North Korea’s nuclear test, or not, the North Korean blast has plenty to do with Iran. If President Obama does not find a way to stop North Korea cold, then the message to Iran is another big green light to race ahead with the amassing of its own nuclear arsenal. And not just a message to Iran — a message to anyone who might want the bomb.
If this is left to today’s “international community,” we are headed for a world of mushroom clouds. “Action,” as conducted by the “international community,” consists of such stuff as yet another emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council (scheduled for Monday afternoon, chaired by Russia). These are the folks who could not even bring themselves to issue a resolution condemning North Korea’s sanctions-busting ballistic missile test last month.
As for Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, as of this writing he has no statement available on the UN web site about today’s North Korean blast. Perhaps he’s been too busy conferring in Copenhagen about climate-change cash-scams in which the UN can collect its share of the swag? To infer his likely response, one must go to an old statement in which he “regrets” North Korea’s sanctions-busting long-range missile test in April, describing it as ”not conducive to efforts to promote dialogue, regional peace and stability.” (On the UN web site, that statement is right now dated “May 4, 2009″ — it was actually delivered April 5th; the UN has its dates mixed up, but given the failure of the UN to do anything effective in any case, hey, who cares?).
As for “action” by the U.S. … well, following North Korea’s first nuclear test, in 2006, the Bush administration took “action” of a sort. Bush responded by handing envoy Chris Hill a blank check to conduct two years of Six-Party talks in which America delivered to Kim Jong Il a jackpot of concessions and cash — removing North Korea from the U.S. watchlist of terror-sponsoring states, and enlisting the U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury to help transfer to Kim Jong Il, per North Korea’s demand, $25 million in allegedly tainted cash that had been frozen at Banco Delta Asia in Macau. Bush sent Kim a gusher of aid, in the form of free fuel plus massive relief shipped in via UN programs; the Bush administration paid at least $2.5 million for the Potemkin demolition of a cooling tower at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear complex, catered to North Korean diplomats at meetings in New York, Vienna and beyond, and politely covered up for many months the evidence that Syria had been building a secret nuclear reactor — with North Korean complicity, and while Bush envoy Chris Hill (now Obama’s ambassador to Iraq) was assuring the American public of the success of his Feb. 15, 2007 nuclear disarmament deal with North Korea.
The result of all that “action” is now upon us, with North Korea’s claim, and the seismic signs, of a second nuclear test blast. Perhaps it is too benign, actually, to describe this as merely a “test” of Obama as well. It is a direct challenge, an in-your-face extortionist threat, a lethal dare by North Korea, and it has direct implications –whether there is any explicit connection or not — for inspiring lots more of the same from Iran, and beyond. Forget “action,” as currently defined by the UN and Washington. It’s way past time to actually do something that stops this.