October 10, 2006 | 04:43 PM
North Korea's nuclear test, China is the key.
So North Korea has cocked it's little finger at the West. Western nuclear diplomacy has failed. They forgot that the most difficult nation to deal with is a nation with little to lose. The world over every one has panicked. It is less the threat of immediate nuclear war. It is that the Nuclear Club is loosing it's grip over who, or who cannot have nuclear weapons. What are their options now ?
First, no one really believes that N Korea has a bomb they can deliver, or are about to deliver in the near future. The fear is that now more and more nations will feel free to explore the possiblities of joing the elitist Nuclear Club. Of course the nuclear club is something I do not understand. Why should ANYONE have nuclear weapons capablity. Who can garuntee that the ones that do have it, are likely to be more responsible about their use ? The US has bombed countries with amazing impunity SINCE the Second World War. In the name of fighting Communism first, and now in the cause of fighting Terrorism.
The fear that is very valid is that North Korea will sell it's capability and technology to the Middle East. But I am not sure what technologies North Korea has 'post the nuclear test' that it would not have already traded with countries like Iran and Syria ?
An economic blockade of N Korea is not an option. No one wants to see hardship on a people that are already barely surviving. An economic blockade on only luxury goods as the US Ambasador the the UN has suggested that only targets the elite ? Does not sound like too much of a sanction to me. No luxury goods for the next one year. Hmmmm.
Is a military strike an option ? The combined might of the US and a European force could take out Pyongyang's elite leadership, but holding an occupation force in North Korea with it's highly trained and disciplined army is going to be far more difficult than Iraq. I do not believe the US and it's allies will take that route.
And how is China going to react to a US military presence so close to it's borders ? Highly unlikely that it will tolerate it. And history has shown that the Chinese will never be part of a combined military expedition.
As with so much of what is happening in the world today, China, and it's attitude towards it's neighbour, holds the key. What do I think they will do ? They will not be part of any major economic sanctions. They will not be part of a military expedition. In fact will actively, and if necessary, miltarily oppose any western military engagement so close to their borders.
China will take course in it's own private diplomacy with North Korea, twisting the screws on Pyongang to their own political needs. After all, it is convenient to have a friendly neighbour that makes the West constantly uncomfortable,