Friday, October 13, 2006

Nuclear proliferation. Boom!Boom!

Ignoring the excitements over the head of the British Army having opinions in public - and miscreant Labour MPs posting rude videos on YouTube about David Cameron's wife - this week's real story was North Korea and its 'nuclear' test.

The ironies and lies that were told about Iraq's possession of WMD only look worse now - and the really black laugh, is that there really isn't anything the great powers can do about what Kim Jong-il appears to have done.

Korea was partitioned after the Korean War (1950-53) with the north going communist (under Chinese patronage) and the south staying pluralist (guaranteed by the US).

The cold war ensured massive distrust across the border and a long and costly arms race - of which, this appears to be the culmination.

There has been a large outbreak of what-can-we-do'ism as a result. And the unhappy answer, is probably nothing at all.

The weak state of North Korea's economy means that sanctions are probably useless, there is precious little international trade that can be stopped.

Militarily, the options are poor and also extremely inflamatory - China is a next door neighbour. And it is understandably keen to avoid violence and any subsequent mass movement of refugees across the river Yalu and into its southern provinces.

And this lack of useful options isn't terribly reassuring to other local states including South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

So, what price the start of a new regional arms race - after all, in their position, what would you do?

No comments: