Other conflagrations

Worldview Item of the Day

It’s hard to believe sometimes, based on the incessant international reporting on the Middle East, that there are things going on in other parts of the world besides the part centered on the Tigris and Euphrates. Yet, as it turns out, the nations of the Pacific Rim are experiencing their own tensions as North Korea threatens to launch its first satellite into orbit and now Japan is threatening to shoot that launch down.

The problem with the North Korean launch is that the capacity to put satellites into orbit also represents the capacity to launch large payloads in a ballistic trajectory–think nuclear warheads. If North Korea is successful–keep in mind that the Kim Jong Il II regime already has nuclear weapons–it gains a significant bargaining chip in its ongoing game of nuclear chicken with the rest of the world.

If a rouge state possessing nuclear weapons and the capacity to deliver them far from its territory is not enough, the world’s response to North Korea represents an important test case for the ongoing conflict with Iran, which nation is rapidly trying to develop the same technologies that North Korea is threatening to test. If the rest of the world fails to adequately deal with North Korea aggression, they it essentially gives Iran the green light to pursue the same path.

The world faces a dangerous test in North Korea’s launch, one which requires the world to pay attention and stay resolute. The question remains as to whether it will do those things, even though it is sure to complain about the consequences.

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