Saturday, August 19, 2006

A North Korea Nuclear Test? Must Be Getting Desperate.

News reports say US sources say North Korea is doing things that look like preparations for a nuclear test. It could yet be another feint, to gauge the response and gain some information in preparation for their next move. But always plan for the worse, they say. Besides, it ‘s more fun that way.


So, if North Korea really does up the stakes, and the US calls its bluff, then it has no choice but to show its hand, like it did with the missiles. And the US probably does not have the inclination or the domestic political capital to back down in the face of a North Korean threat. The natural consequence of a nuclear test is that the US and Japan will work to further tighten the screws, and China and South Korea will have less room to ease any North Korean pain.


And what will North Korea have gained from it? It will know that at least it can successfully detonate a nuclear explosive device. And the experience should be of some help in efforts to miniaturize it to fit it on top of a Taepodong. But that will take time. And you can be sure that after the test, any missiles taken out in the open for launching preparations will be prime targets for preemptive strikes. And strategic ambiguity, which North Korea had used so well, will be lost forever.


So, at first glance, there isn’t much to for North Korea to gain by plain this hand to its bitter end. and North Korea should be too seasoned a gambler to play a clearly losing hand. But, then, desperation often clouds judgment. And it won’t take too long to know.


But that’s just my thumb talkin’. What do you think?


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