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APRIL 27, 2012 4:58PM

Why No North Korean Nuclear Test is Decent News: Iran

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Wode shoude Lee Taitai wo renwei Bo Xilai shi xiaode Lin Biao.

The no news out of North Korea as to a nuclear test, to date, is decent news. They may still do that, and then for the reasons explained below, we might have to destroy that regime, a very serious, if workable military scenario.

Even the satellite test was a serious thing to do, because beyond whatever it was or what happened to that, it came as a direct and in your face challenge to an agreement just signed to not do that. Some always advocate always savage reprisals for such things, since others may be watching, if, people also know that the North Koreans are a truly weird case in the international system.

The reason that we might have to take out the North Korean regime should it test a nuclear weapon is simple: the demonstration effect of such a test on Iran.

If you add on top of that the clear breakout in North Korean nuclear weapons being signalled with a test would have the impact of destabilizing the balance of power in East Asia, since everyone then wants nuclear weapons, even Myanmar and Vietnam, and missiles, there exists a strong case for immediate and decisive action in that contingency, i.e. regime change, should the North Koreans proceed with a test.

The reason a test is important is that in order to be 100 per cent sure that a nuclear design works, even with a borrowed design, you need to make sure that it works as it has been properly assembled and especially machined, which is a production issue beyond the intial design issue. This is especially the case the more sophisticated the design, per say boosting nuclear weapons with Tritium-Deutrerium or Lithium 6.

On the other hand, if they are totally committed to going to war, or of using their nuclear "deterrent" as a "coercer," and their language suggests that they conceive of nuclear weapons in that fashion, they could take that risk of not testing in order to build out their arsennal any way.

Moreover, it is somewhat difficult to see how we can ever sign an agreement with them again, which does have rather serious implications: nuclear breakout as to arsennal size and capability.

The reason not destroying that regime right now even without a nuclear test has potentially serious implications, beyond that with Iran to be discussed below, by tearing up the agreement in such a public fashion, surely the North Koreans can't think that they can very easily come back from that step.

What credibility would that have now, unless some generals were thrown under a Chinese bus so to speak?

The North Koreans may well be somewhat psychotic, but dumb as to understanding the world, if from a weird to us point of view, they are not. Thus, since they know that to blow off the agreement in this fashion makes future negotiations hard to see being taken seriously, then that in itself is a sign of breaking out, even without a test, or so one could argue, and will argue.

As to why an actual nuclear test must mean war for sure, that is because independent of the impact of a test on East Asian politics, and note the Indian and Pakistani missile tests being a part of that indirectly, if North Korea can make a deal with the President of the United States to not fire missiles nor test nuclear weapons, and then break it, not once, but twice, and gratuitously, before the ink is dry, and in broad daylight, Iran would surely interpret that as weakness on our part, even given that it is universally perceived that a war in Korea would be very expensive in lives and money, so would everyone else consider that as a possibility, Israel included.

Personally, given the use of certain somewhat inhumane measures on the DMZ, in terms of buring and or suffocating via conventional area weapons of near nuclear effect a large number of North Koreans because of the artillery, one can see certain theories of how that war could go well, under the right circumstances, although that is not the consensus opinion, and so that may save our bacon as how people interpret these events, especially in the short run.

As to where we stand now, President Obama gave them a reasonable offer, and the North Koreans publicly spit on it, and him, while we are dealing with trying to make Iran change course, something of grave import for the security of the world's oil supply.

It would seem therefore that the People's Republic of China needs to pay more attention to its Korean client than it does to the Bo Xilai affair, as that is nothing in comparison, either to the potential gravity of the situation in Korea, nor even in the Chinese past. At most, the case of Bo Xilai is a mini-Lin Biao, and that faded from Chinese memory too, and any progress of course in Korea is more important than  a dead businessman, if of course he was very brave to be in China doing what he was doing too in terms of interacting with very powerful Chinese leaders.

That's always risky in life, to interact in a foreign country with politically powerful people, because you might be interpreted as a de facto intelligence agent without cover of diplomatic immunity, and then summarily executed, just in case. Who cares now, if his family deserves some payment, and of course if he served his country, such things can be acknowledged to the extent that they are thought expedient, which it is of course sometimes not found to be the case to do so. That's why it's dangerous to hang around with politically powerful people, like electrical transformers can be dangerous to be around too.

As to the situation with the North Korean non-test, since an Israeli strike on Iran potentially would have grave consequences for American interests, meaning that in all probability we would become engaged, it is in our interest to run the equivalent risk with North Korea as to a Great Power War in terms of demonstrating resolve.

That's not to everyone's taste, but it seems fairly obvious is the logic of the situation, although so far, so good, as the North Koreans seem to have rethought that idea of a nuclear test, a wise move, given what some would advocate should follow.

In fact, given the effrontery of the North lately, with constant threats against the ROK, and implicitly us, some wouldn't wait, and would just take out the regime right now anyway, as to the demonstration with Iran, and due to the fact that it's not at all clear how anyone thinks there is a partner to negotiate with in the DPRK at this point, or ever has been, unless China wants to reign in its client before its client's tail wags the Chinese dog over a cliff.

Only Russia wins in that scenario, if two other Parties might not mind it that much either, if and only if they didn't get dragged in too, but just look liked they were coming in and found a reason not to do so, if they of course would never admit that, and it's certainly not very polite to point out, although firing a missile isn't very polite either, nor is not imposing sanctions on Tehran, given the risk of Israel going alone at some point.

But China ought to see that at this point, if it wishes to be perceived as a responsible member of the international community, important as a nuclear weapons state, beyond rather petty disputes with the Phillipines compared to their intrinsic material interest, and which can be mediated, reigning in their North Korean client is a vital Chinese national security interest, which may well mean having some North Korean generals go under a Chinese bus if it is the case that they are the problem, and have been for a long time.





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Other countries including Iran and North Korea may not feel obligated to abide by agreements if they see the US refusing to do so as well. Neither of them would have forgotten that relations with both of them were making progress in 1999 in the case of North Korea Carter negotiated a better agreement which W arbitrarily decided to throw out. Not good for trust.

And of course in Iran after 9/11 they agreed to share information about Al-Qaeda and were put on the "Axis of Evil" list anyway.

I wonder why they wouldn't trust the US; just because the US propaganda machine forgets doesn't mean people outside of the country do.
President Taylor makes some good points above. And I'm going to reiterate what I said to you before Donny...the reason you don't have a job in academia is because of the kind of reasoning you have shown above. To suggest that the US run the risk of a Great Power war, and initiate hostilities with NORK if NORK tests another nuke, is insane. Even without any wider war the death and destruction, even if it was mostly confined to NORK, which it wouldn't be, would make the US a pariah nation and the UN Security Council would fracture and the UN system would be perilously undermined. So none of your scenario is going to happen and you know it.

Furthermore, there are severe limits as to how much war the US society can take. Amerika has to husband its military resources for a confrontation with Iran. That's why the Obama administration will not countenance any kind of military involvement in Syria, no matter how much bashing of his peeples Basher does, despite what that cowboy McCain or Mz Slaughterhouse want, becuz US military capability and the society's ability to sustain it are LIMITED, and must be husbanded for any prolonged struggle with Iran. Period. huggies anyway, you warmonger!....wink
I'm not a warmonger AC. If we don't have a credible threat, and they initiate a nuclear breakout, not much credibility with Iran it seems to me.
It's a Stackelberg model if you like games, with an incumbent nuclear armed state in the Market for deterrence so to speak, and an entrant. You want to set it up as the incumbent, if you can, that when the other side looks at the choices, it doesn't enter, and you don't fight. There are however other outcomes, but that approach is fairly standard, in which the payoffs matter a lot as to how you think it will be to live with the new entrant in the market.
Have you seen the North Korean threats lately AC?
That's how I see it Mr. President, and I grant that there is massaging of information. But if they test, then they go over the nuclear breakout threshold as a marginal Assured Destruction partner with Japan and the U.S., and do hold then an edge potentially over the ROK which might well make them initiate war, and demonstrate resolve to go the distance with us. This isn't like with Israel and Iran, as we are most definitely a target of North Korea, because we have prevented them from reuniting the Peninsula on their terms since 1950, the last time.
All NORK wants is groceries for God's sakes. Peanuts and popcorn, supplied on a steady basis, and they can be bribed with that. And you would rather the US risk war by demonstrating resolve and all that Game Theory poppycock, which is NOT how the real wurld works. The real wurld works on seat of your pants compromises to avoid unnecessary risks. And you know that now, ESPECIALLY in an election year, that Obama will make all compromises needed to pacify NORK. Wanna bet some marbles or jellybeans on that?...wink
And one last point Donny, because you are provoking my ire and I like you better than anyone on this vanity site. Obama and even G W did not violate due process...they always paid full respect to the UN and the Security Council. To do otherwise would be to have gone rogue, and why? For what purpose? That would be unthinkable. Since you insist on ignoring the UN and the Security Council in all your musings in your essays I know now why your teaching contracts were not have a completely unrealistic understanding of how foreign policy is made. And you know I'm right....harrumph...but huggies anyway you loveable wascal...wink