It would appear that North Korea isn’t bluffing, and that they have indeed tested a nuclear bomb. This is sad news for the world, that yet another regime has a nuke, not to mention yet another autocratic, care-nothing-for-its-population regime. So, what are the options?
I think the current viable option, at least for the people who’s opinions matter, is continuing the multi-lateral talks that have been going on and off for some time now. NK wanted bi-lateral talks with us, but it seemed that Bush did something right for once, and insisted on including everybody.
The second, and an option possibly being planned, from what I’ve been reading, is some kind of military action. Not a full blown invasion such as in Iraq, but some kind of semi-blockade. Ships from NK would be checked to make sure they aren’t carrying nukes. That would make sense, and would probably garner a lot of support from the international community if NK keeps blowing people off. Also, if things get bad, we could go for the full military invasion, but I don’t think anyone should expect the US to provide all the troops. We’re already spread far too thin, and the Republicans don’t have a hope in hell of getting the Presidency in 2008 if they institute a draft. So, while we could provide SOME troops for such an action, I think a wide multi-lateral force would have to go in effect for it to be viable. I expect we might get more support for it, if things come to that, since we’d be going into a country we KNOW has WMDs.
Then there are sanctions, which I can see being imposed. Well, these will probably do absolute crap, anyway. We might be able to shut down the government, but that’s about it. The people are already starving, anyway, so it’s not like we can threaten the starvation of the population, since it’s already happening.
The fact that NK’s closest ally, China, is expressing reservations about all of this, says a lot. I think China is today’s Soviet Union. I think it wants to be the big Communist leader, with its little brother North Korea following along, rather than it growing taller than big China. China might be Communist (or…one-party capitalist), but they’re not stupid. The last thing is needs is someone else becoming a threat to its power. It already is surrounded by people it doesn’t necessarily like, all who either are nuclear, or have friends that are. Russia, India, Pakistan, Japan, and it goes on. It doesn’t need someone else with that power, particularly when its leader would probably like nothing more than to supplant China as the Communist leader.
That’s my take on it.