Belmont Club

Finally, One World

Anne Gearan and Chico Harlan at the Washington Post state the obvious: “U.S. struggling to contain nuclear threats from North Korea, Iran”. They might have added Pakistan to the list.

The ‘Axis of Evil’, which the ‘reality-based’ community confidently  supposed did not exist, is now aiming their missiles at the West Coast.  That Axis of Evil  — or whatever you want to call it — has been in gestation for a long time, in the form of shared WMD component development between North Korea, Iran and Pakistan.

Denial is not only a river in Egypt, it was for the longest time an article of liberal faith. There were no WMDs in Iraq.  There were no nuke programs in Syria even after Israel bombed the reactor there. A leaked NIE believed Iran had stopped work on a nuclear weapon. North Korea was presumed to be contained. A new, diplomatically oriented administration would replace the caveman-like approach of its predecessor and presumably defang radical Islam, including Pakistan, of which the President boasted a special acquaintance.

President Obama actually campaigned on a promise to oppose “unproven missile defense systems” and to work toward eliminating nuclear weapons in the world. Now he is relying upon the former to compensate for his singular failure at the latter. Even more pathetic are efforts by Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s administration. It has now resorted to begging. “Foreign Minister Bob Carr will try to persuade his Chinese counterpart, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, to tighten the enforcement of UN-backed sanctions aimed at forcing the hermit state to abandon its goal of becoming a fully-fledged nuclear power.”

What an about face. What a reversal in fortune.  An attitude of glum resignation has now replaced the previous cheerful denial. Anti-ballistic missiles are being emplaced on Guam. Canada’s Globe and Mail knows that it is time to plan on the basis of a rogue state nuclear arsenal aimed at North America.

Sooner rather than later, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is going to reconsider the Canadian decision to stay out of Ballistic Missile Defence … Coupled with the improvements that Iran is making to its own ballistic missile capacity, the threat to North America is now clear and present. The United States has moved aircraft and warships to the area and announced that it will increase its ground-based interceptors in California and Alaska.

Harper’s reluctance is understandable. Nuclear weapons were a bother.  The arrangement, strange as it may seem, was for America to do the dirty work, leaving others  free to concentrate on making Sonys, BMWs and Blackberrys.  In return, for decades after the Second World War the industrial nations imposed a “disincentive to join” on applicants to the nuclear weapons club. Though the technical barriers to building a nuclear weapon fell over time, the political costs rose, so that many countries concluded the cost in sanctions and diplomacy was never worth the benefit.

Countries like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, most of Western Europe, South Africa and many others simply never built a bomb. Why bear the burden when the hegemon could? Like some real-life Grand Inquisitor America would take on itself the sins of the world so that the rest could live in fantasy.

“It’s Always America’s Fault©” was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

But at the end of the bipolar world failed states discovered they could make more money from extortion than by working. The international No Hopers discovered the process of “voting for a living” — the ‘pay us not to riot’ idea — could be extended to warfare. Complete economic basket cases like Palestine, North Korea and Pakistan found there was no business like the No Business. They would say ‘no’ to every opportunity to do anything so they could continue to collect ‘benefits’.

Today it is not the countries with powerful nuclear industries that are seeking the bomb. It is the countries that can barely feed themselves. Egypt, for example, is thinking about it even though as Spengler predicted, Egypt is about to starve.

As I predicted last September and on several subsequent occasions, the Obama administration’s silver bullet–a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund in exchange for tax hikes and budget cuts–never will be fired. Kirkpatrick:

United States officials warn of disaster unless Egypt soon carries out a package of tax increases and subsidy cuts tied to a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. That would persuade other lenders that Egypt was creditworthy enough to obtain billions more in additional loans needed to meet its yawning deficit. But fearful of a public reaction at a time when the streets are already near boiling, the government of President Mohamed Morsi has so far resisted an I.M.F. deal, insisting that Egypt can wait.

Egypt is not going into an economic and social tailspin because the government of Hosni Mubarak fell in 2011; the government of Hosni Mubarak fell because Egypt already was headed into an economic and social tailspin. We stand not before a glorious era of Muslim democracy, comparable to the revival of Eastern Europe after the fall of Communism, but a prolonged period of chaos. We cannot prevent this; at best we can limit the damage.

But give a man a fish and he lives for a day. Give him a nuke and he can order dinner indefinitely. It is because Egypt is starving that will acquire the bomb. It’s not like they could afford it. Consider: if you had $500 and no skills would you invest in a suit for a job interview absent qualifications for anything or would you invest in a gun and stick up the convenience store?

Once this fact is grasped the failure of the Obama administration’s sanction and diplomacy policies can be readily understood. The more sanctions are applied, the hungrier North Korea gets; the hungrier it gets the more they need the Bomb. Regrettably there is no way to undo the perverse incentives in the short term. The more aid is given to North Korea — or Pakistan or Palestine — the better extortion is seen to work.

It is the characteristic of completely dysfunctional states that the poorer they are, the fancier their guns. In all the news photos of conflicts in Africa and the Middle East it obvious there is not a dime for shoes; not a dollar for medicine; not a drop of clean water. But millions of dollars for guns. The only difference between the Koni gang and North Korea’s Kim is the difference between an AK-47 and a fission atom bomb.

The deployment of THAAD to Guam is the equivalent of a lock on the door. A security system in a once safe neighborhood.  It will never return the world to the previous state of innocence. Indeed, it indicates that we now all Africans in a sense. Like the residents of Timbuktu or Goma, the citizens of Paris, London, Vancouver and Tokyo listen in anxiety for the sound of approaching footsteps. Or to be more precise approaching container ships with bombs in them or streaks in the sky. The barbarians are at the gates and they will not be persuaded away.

Of course the West could always sally forth and arrest them. But the West doesn’t do that any more. For them, “It’s Always America’s Problem©”

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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