Wednesday, May 27, 2009

North Korean nukes: big whoop!

All kinds of people are terribly concerned that North Korea apparently conducted an underground test of a possible nuclear weapon, along with some missile tests in the last couple of weeks. The ability of various pundits to conjure frightful dangers to America from the antics of pipsqueak nations is fascinating (and a little frightful in itself) and would probably make a good subject for a book. North Korea is exhibiting learned behavior -- that it gets the attention of the rest of the world only when it does something outrageous. Are we -- or South Korea, with an economy many times as large and a capable military -- supposed to tremble in fear when the Hermit Kingdom tests a weapon in a way that probably exhibits that despite its ambitions and posturing it probably doesn't have a workable nuke yet?

There's no sense needlessly provoking the little dictator, but paying so much attention to him gives Kim Jong-Il (who may be courting the military in an internal dispute over succession, given his apparent stroke last summer) the kind of attention he craves. Leave him to China.

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