The latest crisis on the Korean peninsula will have implications that go way beyond Asia. The reaction by the United States to the North Korean aggression will have an impact on the Middle East. Iran is closely watching the United States’ next move with North Korea. If Obama perceived as weak, Iran will be emboldened.
Both North Korea and Iran are tyrannical regimes who have been playing games with Western negotiators for over a decade. The week before it attacked a South Korean Island, the North Koreans boastfully displayed a 2,000 uranium-enrichment centrifuges and the initial construction of a 100-megawatt light-water reactor to visiting American scientists. That was display was meant to a show of power and a thumbing of the nose at the United States.
Thumbing its nose is something North Korea and Iran pride themselves in. Just like the toddler screaming for a toy in the department story, these two rogue nations are testing the limits of the US’s tolerance, attempting to gauge how far they can go. With each move and counter-move on the chess board of the Korean peninsula, Tehran is carefully monitoring every nuance of Washington’s response to Pyongyang’s actions.
The Iranians must have been smiling when the US reacted to Pyongyang’s boast about its expanded nuclear program, with an appeasing “This is not a crisis,” from special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth. Especially when you realize that the expanded nuclear development came only eight months after a North Korean submarine sank a South Korean Navy boat.
It needs be remembered that despite heavy sanctions, the number and scale of North Korean provocations has only increased of late. North Korea tests nuclear devices and ballistic missiles, and last March one of its submarines sank a South Korean naval ship killing 46 people.
Four more South Koreans were killed in the North Korean mortar attack last week.
The US response to the mortar attack a Joint-Military exercise without live ammunition, seems tepid. It has also been criticized by China North Korea’s only ally and the country who President Obama is counting on to get Pyongyang to toe the line.”We oppose any party to take any military acts in our exclusive economic zone without permission,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement, Xinhua reported.
North Korea responded by deploying SA-2 surface-to-air missiles near its Yellow Sea border with South Korea presumably targeting some of the Airplanes involved in the exercise. Face it, if Kim can thumb his nose at Obama, so can Ahmadinejad. And Ahmadinejad is watching North Korea very carefully he is probably giggling like a little girl at Obama’s moves. The most threatening of which was condemning last weeks action as an “outrageous, provocative attack”
North Korea’s action is meant to get the United States to give the regime lots of gifts to fall back into place. Its worked many times before. Its time for the US to stand firm and give North Korea nothing. Any gifts to North Korea will be seen as an act of appeasement, especially in Iran.
Here’s the scary part, for most of his bravado, Kim is not crazy, just evil. Kim just wants to solidify his family’s power over the north. On the other hand Ahmadinejad believes that he has been chosen by Allah to hasten the return of the 12th Imam, the Muslim messiah. The way to achieve this goal for the Iranian president is the occurrence of a nuclear Holocaust. And this is why it is so vital for Ahmadinejad that Iran acquires a nuclear weapon. Nuclear weapons in Iranian hands would make this an exceedingly more insecure world than do such weapons in North Korean possession.
Winning the face-off against North Korea is important to the future of the United States interest not just in the Korean peninsula but in the Middle East. A weak US-led end to the latest case of North Korean would send an important signal to Iran that their aggression will be handled similarly.