Monday, May 25, 2009

Dictators du Jour: Kim Jong Il & Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

A nice way to wake up on the Memorial Day Holiday – A North Korean nuclear bomb test,. and Iran's full tilt pursuit of a nuclear arsenal of it's own.

So, here we have two regimes, neither of which is influenced by world “opinion”, lead by fanatics who don't seem to play by the “talking will resolve everything” diplomatic playbook.

With North Korea testing both bombs and missiles, don't be surprised if the Japanese are not following suit, likewise the South Koreans. Given the Carter Obama Administration's emerging tendencies toward appeasement of Iran, Hamas, Syria, Hezbollah, etc. at Israel's expense, it's a dangerous time to be an ally of the U.S.

There's little or no leverage over North Korea – how much more isolated can they really be? - so as long as the Chinese are willing to act as their sponsors, further sanctions are about all that's left. Sooner or later, the North Koreans will use a stated plan to disarm / stand down / etc. in return for more bribes from the West. When those run out, test another bomb, wash, rinse, repeat. Frankly, the best hope here is that Kim does something that makes the Chinese sufficiently nervous. Beijing is only a Taepdong 3 throw away from North Korea....

Iran will also be difficult to isolate, because of a) oil production, b) support of their sponsors in Moscow and Peking, and c) lack of resolve on the part of the EU, and, under Obama, the US. Essentially, Iranian nukes have already been conceded.. This will pretty much follow the North Korean play book, with Iran making provocations, claims of 'disappointment' from the West, some idle threats of sanctions, offers of bribes, and a period of calm used by Iran to rearm and escalate the next round.

The consequences in the Middle East are likely to be similar – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, ,and sooner or later Iraq are going to have to build their own bombs and delivery systems simply to avoid becoming client states under the domination of Iran.