Monday, October 09, 2006

As everyone knows by now, the North Koreans announced today that they had performed an underground test of a nuclear weapon. South Korea said that it had picked up a seismic movement of about 3.5 on the Richter scale in an isolated area of the North. Australia and the US have confirmed this. The question, of course, is whether the thing actually works; we will have to assume it does. The entire international community is frightened, of course; TV3's news this afternoon spent a lot of time on all the international denunciations coming in from Japan, South Korea, and others, and also on the emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

TV3 reported on the statements by Bush and Japanese prime minister Abe that all American military commitments in the area will be honored, and that the two countries, united, will introduce a very strong condemnation of the NoKo bomb. The network said absolutely nothing critical about American and its president, for once.

The impression I get over here, just from watching the news, is that Europe isn't sure what to do, and probably believes there is nothing it can do. Europe knows it hasn't got the military power to take any action, and is dependent on the US and the four powers surrounding North Korea, Japan, Russia, China, and South Korea, to do something. Would Europeans object to a war against North Korea? I bet they wouldn't, as long as somebody else did the fighting.

According to La Vangua's website, "The Spanish government, in the words of foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, condemned the 'serious provocation' of the nuclear test, and called on Pyongyang to "immediately return to diplomatic negotiations," As if the North Koreans give a shit what Moratinos says.

Meanwhile, TV3 is reporting that South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki-Moon has been elected new UN secretary general by the Security Council. I wonder if it has anything to do with the NoKo nuke test; Fox News says the move is not a surprise, though, and that Mr. Ban has spoken many times about his wish to make North Korea the focus of international diplomacy, for whatever that's good for. It's a positive sign; this will be the first secretary general to come from a country that's part of the Western alliance. Let's see if Mr. Ban can turn the UN into a useful organization instead of a sounding board for (and a channel of cash to) corrupt brutal Third World dictatorships.

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