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About That "Fire Shower of Nuclear Retaliation"

For President Obama to go to the UN is not going to stop this. Neither is any amount of purely diplomatic haggling -- witness the failed talks and deals cited above.

The product of the latest UN resolution sanctioning North Korea, passed in April, just after Kim's second nuclear test, is that American warships are now trailing around after a North Korean cargo ship --but not allowed by the UN to board and inspect its freight, unless North Korea gives its OK. Now THAT is the definition of "silliness" -- and America looks weaker and more foolish with every day that this farce continues.

Meanwhile, for all you North Korea news junkies, note that on June 24th North Korea's KCNA (Korean Central News Agency) included this choice tidbit in its daily roundup: "Iranian Embassy Officials to Help Korean Farmers." That would be the Iranian ambassador to North Korea. While his bosses back in Tehran have been busy crushing Iran's democratic protests, Ambassador Morteza Moradian has been enjoying such good relations between Tehran and Pyongyang that he has been frolicking around North Korean cooperative farms, admiring monuments to North Korea's founding tyrant, Kim Jong Il's father, Kim Il Sung.

Take that as the tip of an Iranian-North Korean iceberg which has a lot of potential to glow in the dark.

What neither North Korea nor Iran has felt from the U.S. is any demonstration of will to get rid of either regime. At this point, we know plenty about the trangressions, aggressive ambitions, and growing dangers of North Korea and its pals. What's missing -- apart from the brave strike by Israel on the Syrian reactor two years ago -- is the will to do anything about it. All courses are fraught with risk. But the worst possible course is to bluster, and talk, and wheedle, and confirm to Pyongyang, Tehran and the rest of world's web of rogue and nuclear-aspiring states that America, faced with a game of chicken, will stand down.

Recall that cooling tower at North Korea's Yongbyon reactor complex, which the North Koreans blew up with great fanfare last year, while the Bush administration paid the out-sized bill of millions for the farcical demolition. I wonder -- might America be safer today if Bush had chosen to impress North Korea with a different sort of display for the occasion -- and dispatched that cooling tower with a strike from a cruise missile?