http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4503531.stm

At 2300 GMT on Saturday, N Korea launched a long-range missile into the sea, about 100 km from its launch point. This should come to no suprise, because the BBC article notes the US warned Tokyo that N. Korea was close to testing its first nuclear warhead. It was after all, the US intelligence that reported this missile test to Japan, "Tokyo had been informed by the US military of the North Korean test, believed to have been carried out at 0800 (2300 GMT on Saturday)."

As I noted in my previous submission to this listserv, a nuclear test by N Korea would be preceived as a threat to regional stability, even as an act of aggression against China, Japan and S Korea. The effects of this will no doubt have a ripple effect around the region, and the globe, both politically and economically.

The most diappointing aspect to this is the economic effect. Some scholars have argued that N Korea wants to have nukes as a blue chip on the international market, to boost itself into the level of nuclearly armed states. Ironically, this will most likely cause the opposte, if the ICJ sticks to the opinions it has laid forth in the Faulk non-proliferation articles. What if the Security Council embargoed N Korea? That is of course, only if the UN security council would take action and enforce the hard lotus view, that unless somehting is specifically forbidden, it is OK. That would justify not only the attack on N Korea, but also the proliferation of such weaponry by N Korea.

The global quest to rid the world of evil, while noble, is too much for even the mighty United States to handle all at once as a unilateral global police force. There is not international concensus on the Iraq war, and therefore, the political implications are far reaching and could destroy the United States if a real threat does erupt, like N Korea. If a tsunami, nuclear weapon or any other disaster did hit the US, do you honestly think any country that we have invaded, exploited, ignored, etc, would not applaud? There is no money left to do things that actually are important, like ensure stability in N Korea and east asia, or fund grants for students travelling to Thailand this summer to help rebuild preschools and the local economy (visit http://ruha.rutgers.edu).

This brings me back to the perennial question: Why are we still wasting money and time in Iraq on the duck hunt for weapons that don’t exist, when N Korea poses such a real threat? Does Bush only want oil? Democrats, and the majority of the EU, would say, YES, IT’S A WASTE OF MONEY IN IRAQ, at least under the name of stability, humanitarianism, and democracy, the three failed reasons the administration used to get us into this vastly expensive mess. If they really cared about any of that stuff, they would have invaded N Korea.

Expect a remark from Washington tomorrow morning, if not tonight. They have declined to comment for now, as they calaulate the political implications and get the speech written. They will likely not invade, to prevent a Bay of Pigs or Korean War.

Here is the last thing we heard from Washington about this: "On Thursday, a senior US intelligence official told senators in Washington that North Korea now had the capability to arm its missiles with nuclear warheads, although he was not sure how quickly it could do so."

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