[Homestead] Back in the Real World

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Sun Sep 19 14:09:38 EDT 2004

And away from the Great Pretender and his Great Pretender opponent, both 
completely occupied with absolute trivia.



  N. Korea and Iran: The terrorist threat that lies ahead


* *
<> See the Sol Sanders Archive

*By Sol Sanders*


Sol W. Sanders


September 17, 2004

One of those mysterious North Korean explosions and the intractability 
of Iran dramatize, if more evidence were needed, just how dangerous the 
world [again!] has become in the post-Soviet era. The events of 9/11 
only served to focus the nature of that new jungle out there. Grappling 
with it is as complex as only a worldwide phenomenon could be. But the 
threats posed by North Korea and Iran do segment and dramatize it.

Pyongyang’s explanation of a “planned hydroelectric construction 
explosion” is not only ridiculous, but further evidence of the rickety 
nature of the regime. Big “events” are always trumpeted as obeisance to 
The Dear Leader. Certainly not a hydroelectric project in an area 
notorious for its aridity but known to have underground weapons 
installations. It does demonstrate the dichotomy of Communist regimes – 
relatively efficient weapons production accompanied by starvation, in 
living memory in a “revisionist” China and continuing today in 
ultra-Stalinist North Korea. [Note even the less than prosperous 
post-USSR Russia and Ukraine are grain exporters; the extent of the 
perennially failing Soviet crop used to be a measurement hotly debated 
among the Kremlinologists.]

Tehran’s conflicting statements and the International Atomic Energy 
Agency’s equivocation about its snooping is only matched by the wishful 
thinking [again!] among the US’ allies in Western Europe – now Britain 
as well as Germany, and, of course, France. They are holding out for 
diplomacy [appeasement?] to halt what has to be the mullahs’hellbent 
effort at producing nuclear weapons. There is no logic, as they 
maintain, in an impoverished society with some of the world’s largest 
petroleum reserves seeking “a full nuclear fuel cycle” for electricity– 
even for obscurantist Islamicists drowning in their 7th Century tribalism.

It is no accident, as the Communists used to say, joint development of 
missiles – and perhaps nuclear technology – bind the two pariah states. 
They have not only abetted each other. But their external support for 
diverse but equally deadly terror organizations notoriously continues. 
North Korea has graduated from aiding student revolutionaries in Mexico 
City, airport massacres in Israel, public assassination in Burma, and 
kidnapping in Japan, to peddling high tech weapons for its survival.

The Iranian mullahs are still in the same old business: arming 
terrorists working out of Syria [again!], to Iraq, Lebanon, and 
Pakistan. But their ambitions are now grander. With nuclear arms, a 
large population base, nascent industrialization, and a strategic 
position, they see themselves as the dominant Mideast power. These 
dreams are not new. But in the Shah’s time [with the exception of a 
little problem of OPEC and higher oil prices for the US and the West] 
nostalgia for past Persian glory was within the bounds of a U.S. 
alliance -- and a modernization toward more universal values.

It’s there all the efforts for compromise founder. Compromise is the 
product of diplomacy – and a shared reasoning. But in neither instance 
is there much hope of that.

Its proponents argue were the U.S. to negotiate on a one-on-one basis 
with Pyongyang, it would produce disarmament agreement which would 
remove the threat of a nuclear clad North Korea, and, worse, its selling 
such weapons, possibly even non-state terrorists like Al Qaida. Yet that 
logic dictates North Korea would have to transform itself, at least as 
far as Communist China has, into a more viable society with access to 
and dependence on foreign investment, trade and technology transfers. 
There is no evidence North Korea’s leadership does not see such 
developments as the regime’s death warrant. It seeks nuclear weapons to 
maintain the dictatorship of a military elite. The Bush Administration’s 
strategy, limping perhaps through the untrustworthiness of its allies 
[again!], is to seek the help of North Korea’s neighbors. They all have 
an interest in a North Korea without nuclear weapons, at least in 
theory. The threat of an economic blockade is the alternative to a 
compromise which would include economic aid for the regime. The problem 
is our allies – South Korea, and to some extent, Japan – are unwilling 
to consider applying those sanctions. China, the principle player, while 
mouthing platitudes, continues to be the main prop of the regime. 
Moscow’s Putin, ever ambivalent, blames U.S. rhetoric for the impasse.

The mullahs present an even more horrendous predicament. They see 
themselves as instruments of a higher power for world domination, 
justifying all prevarication and obfuscation with infidels. At their 
furtherest reaches, they pursue a fanaticism in which their followers’ 
death is only the entrance to paradise. But the Europeans base their 
hopes for the kind of change which came in Central and Eastern Europe 
under the Communists on a policy of “engagement” with these same 
mullahs. Meanwhile, the threatening clock ticks louder, not only for 
Iran’s Mideast neighbors, but for Europe as the range of their missiles 

Iraq, with all its problems, is only the opening act of the drama now 
ahead of us.

/Sol W. Sanders, (solsanders at comcast.net 
<mailto:solsanders at comcast.net>), is an Asian specialist with more than 
25 years in the region, and a former correspondent for *Business Week, 
U.S. News & World Report* and *United Press International.* He writes 
weekly for *World Tribune.com*./

September 2, 2004

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