May 27 2009
North Korea has just raised the stakes again today, junking the Korean War Armistice and declaring itself at war with the West:
North Korea threatened a military response to South Korean participation in a U.S.-led program to seize weapons of mass destruction, and said it will no longer abide by theÂ 1953 armisticeÂ that ended the Korean War.
â€œThe Korean Peopleâ€™s Army will not be bound to the Armistice Agreement any longer,â€ the official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement today. Any attempt to inspect North Korean vessels will be countered with â€œprompt and strong military strikes.â€ South Koreaâ€™s military said it will â€œdeal sternly with any provocationâ€ from the North.
I have no doubt suspicious ships are steaming to ports in the Middle East as we speak, to test the Obama administration and the West. And because it seems Kim Il Jong is deliberately heading for a military showdown, now is not the time to be nit-picking the Obama administration – it needs our full support so that North Korea gets the message we are united and will take whatever action is necessary to halt any nuclear weapons of mass destruction from getting into more of the wrong (and suicidal) hands.
North Korea has been a problem across three administrations now, from Clinton to Bush to Obama. This has not been a left or right problem. Each time we have attempted to work a solution without going to war. Each time North Korea has thumbed its nose at the international community.
If there ever was a repeat of the days of Hitler and his threat to humanity, NK is the closest example we have seen since the early decades of the last century. There is broad and legitimate concern:
Russia is taking security measures as a precaution against the possibility tension over North Korea could escalate into nuclear war, news agencies quoted officials as saying on Wednesday.
Interfax quoted an unnamed security source as saying a stand-off triggered by Pyongyang’s nuclear test on Monday could affect the security of Russia’s far eastern regions, which border North Korea.
North Korea has in the past pushed the limits and then backed down. But the challenge to its ability to ship any material it wants without question or challenge is a new wrinkle we cannot bow down to. We need to stop deadly shipments if they are attempted. The problem is nuclear weapons technology and elements are not large enough to detect with certainty. And if NK wants to stage a confrontation, they could send ships out with all sorts of bogus indications of nuclear material just to draw the world into a confrontation.
I would not be surprised if we have to stop ships which looked to be suspicious, only to find they were decoys. This will call NK’s bluff – if they are bluffing. We need to support the current administration against this threat. It is in all of our best interests to make show a unified and determined front so as to make it clear to NK what price it will pay.
To do otherwise would be a serious gamble, one which is just not worth the political gamesmanship.