Monday, March 10, 2003

Lessons from North Korea

Warmongers and the so-called ‘liberators of the oppressed people’ will continue to look up to Bush as a Demigod sent from heaven. He is, according to them, the chosen one to dole out the manna and guide the suffering people to the Promised Land. Or rather, convert their existing deserts into that.

Pacifists on the other hand will look at him as the co-brother of Lucifer who is hell bent on unleashing fury and wrath on those who oppose his will. He is, according to them, a person who finds war, death and destruction as natural and would debate for a reason to be peaceful.

In between are the people who debate on the good, the bad and the ugly that will eventually happen. Wars have always taught humans a lesson – some subtle and some severe. And this war, which George Bush is about to unleash, will probably end up as the mother of all lessons.

Bush announced Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the ‘axis of evil’ (from America’s point of view). And in order to destroy this axis Bush set out on an agenda to have a regime change in Iraq and install a pro-democracy, pro-western leader in charge. Speculation suggests that the process of westernisation of the Middle East, starting from Iraq, should begin over the next couple of weeks.

Iran, being the neighbour of Iraq, is feeling the heat too. Internal diplomacy within the country suggests that they have no doubt that America will train their guns on them – the moment de-Baathing in Iraq is complete. This aspect is still quite open to speculation. One thing that is not open to debate is the fact that America will not take on North Korea in a similar fashion as it plans to do on Iraq. The American inner circle has confirmed this by their ‘friendly’ attitude to solve all grave issues that have arisen with North Korea in the last six months.

The secret to a good lesson is not about asking what, where, when, how, et all...but ‘why’? Why is it that North Korea, despite having a more brutal regime than that of Saddam is being let off the hook? Why is it that a pre-emptive strike is necessary ‘now’ against Iraq and not later? Why is it that North Korea, which has kicked out UN inspectors, re-started its nuclear reactors, has openly declared its’ wilful intention to produce nuclear bombs, routinely tests long range missiles, deserves a friendlier treatment in contrast to their Mid-East counterparts?

Is it oil? Yes, though it is only a part of the answer - a small but significant part nonetheless. The real reason however is that America is capable of taking on Iraq but not on North Korea. With ICBM’s that can cruise beyond 6,000 kilometres, the whole of Alaska lays bare to North Korean missiles. This gives double headache to America: one, most of the army bases in charge of watching eastern Russia are based in Alaska; two – this part of North America is rich in oil and should a couple of nuclear missiles land over there, it will be a no-man’s land for the next hundred years or so. Therefore it is a complete no-no when it comes to arm twisting the North Koreans.

Compare this with Mid-East nations, Iran and Iraq, which together with North Korea form the American Axis of Evil. Neither of them is nuclear (yet) and their biological and chemical weapons are incapable of reaching any part of USA. Utmost they could reach Israel and it is a risk that US is willing to take on behalf of Israel. That answers your question as to why Israel is not openly demanding a war on Iraq / Iran. They don’t want their brouhaha to act as the homing beacon for Iraqi missiles.

This has taught the leaders of Iran – and probably all other non-democratic nations in the world – one big lesson. Get a few nuclear bombs and a means to deliver them, you have in your hand the bargaining power against the most powerful nation in the world. That is why strategists around the world are no longer surprised by Iran’s recent announcement to restart their nuclear reactors. They have also made it clear that these reactors are not open to UN inspections. Though Iran claims their reactors are for energy purposes it is common knowledge that these reactors are incapable of producing energy that is economically viable.

Bush set off on his ‘war on terrorism’ with the intention of making the world a safer place - safe from biological, chemical and even nuclear weapons. But if recent developments are any indication, he will probably remembered in history as the person responsible for nuclear proliferation. Last year the impoverished North Korea earned over $550m in foreign currency by selling hardware and designs of its weapons. There is no reason to believe its habits will change in the near future. With Al-Qaeda being the first in line for newly produced North Korean nuclear bombs (which should roll out within next six months), it is time for America to do some serious thinking. America’s double standards in dealing with rogue nations have taught the rogue leaders one vital lesson: don’t disclose you are anti-American until you have the key in hand; a nuclear key that is.


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