QUAGMIRE QUALMS

BLOG 369 October 23, 2017

The world is increasingly struggling with a sense of uneasiness over emotionally confrontational situations. The civil war in Syria is far from over, suggesting that Iran and Russia may end up being the big winners. If the US withdraws from the Iranian nuclear agreement, then Israel is pushed to consider a preemptive strike to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear armed country. The options in the Middle East remain dangerous and alarming. Which way can anyone jump?

Strangely enough, North Korea’s ultimatum to America poses another muddy quagmire. On September 3, North Korea conducted an underground thermonuclear bomb that has upped the ante across the world. At the heart of the threat is the issue of the US government’s capacity to protect its citizens. The omen of a hydrogen bomb attack has now been aimed at bomb America as well as South Korea.  If the United States does not take the threat of a nuclear attack seriously, it will communicate profound weakness both to its allies as well as adversaries. Allies will no longer trust the connection. Should the US back away, it will be on the verge of being completely discredited by a third-rate third backwater country.

Part of what makes this scenario so scary, is that the North Koreans apparently have come to believe their own propaganda. Nut case leaders are one thing in comic books; they are another in real life.

The record of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama indicates a failure to take the North Korean threat seriously.  After all, what could this improvised country do? The answer today is plenty. Nuclear power makes such a difference.

While Kim Jong-un’s threats once sounded like a comedian’s monologue, the H-bomb no longer leaves the world laughing. Unless North Korean’s nuclear stockpile is obliterated, the world can expect Asia and the Middle East to follow suit in building nuclear arsenals.

America is now looking into a deepening quagmire. If the US turns its back on the North Korean taunts, the US looses big time. On the other hand, a preemptive strike has never been American foreign policy. Since diplomacy isn’t and hasn’t worked, is there another better alternative?

That’s the qualm! No happy alternatives have surfaced so far.

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Filed under middle east, United Nations, Violence

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