By Paul Koring, Globe and Mail, November 23, 2010
(The Koring piece outlined today's Korean skirmish as a failure of non-proliferation)
For decades, the big powers have tried, and failed, to keep rogue states and regional actors from secretly building nuclear arsenals, usually under the guise of power generation.
Only five nations – Britain, China, France, the United States and Russia – the victorious Second World War allies who appointed themselves as the only legal possessors of nuclear weapons, are supposed to have them.
But the actual list is far longer; starting with India, which used Canadian-supplied technology to build its first atomic bomb, followed by Israel, Pakistan and North Korea.
“The old, nonproliferation regime just didn’t work,” said Anthony Seaboyer, head of the Proliferation and Security Research Unit at Queen’s University in Kingston.....
“How will the world be able to stop Iran if it can’t stop North Korea,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday. “North Korea is part of an axis of evil together with Iran and Syria whose close co-operation includes nuclear distribution, missile and combat capabilities.”
If it is true that North Korea has significantly updated its resources to enrich uranium, and is on its way to building even more nuclear weapons (it already has 7 or 8), and today's artillery shots are a "finger" to the world saying, "Just try to stop us!" and if the more macro issue is how the world will respond to this defiance, then the question of Iran's defiance of world opinion cannot be excluded from analysis of the Korean North-South reciprocal shellings.
Rogue states' determination to possess nuclear weapons, without any sign of a reasonably effective plan to stop them, leaves us all in a very dangerous position. (Duh!) Rogue states can and will find other "rogues" who seek to do damage, and will acquire access to those weapons at any price.
If Israel's Foreign Minister Lieberman is asking the right question, "How will the world be able to stop Iran if it can't stop North Korea?" and if he is also right in linking Iran, Syria and North Korea in a conspiracy "including nuclear distribution, missile and combat capabilities," then it is incumbent on all world leaders to provide a unified, coherent and enforceable strategy to stop that endeavour. And this effort, while far more complex and far more dangerous and also far more difficult to enact than airplane "security scanning," seems even more urgent in a global cauldron of boiling "pots" of existential proportion, than it might have in 1953 when the Korean Armistice was signed, but not a peace treaty betwen North and South Korea.
The number of members of the nuclear club has grown; it now includes India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea (Libya, and Brazil and Iraq having abandoned their programs, along with South Africa) along with the original five: Britain, China, France, the United States and Russia.
Military, and quasi-military attacks have been carried out by small cells of terrorists, funded by a variety of sources, and these cells are waiting with baited breath, to get their hands on a nuclear device. We already know that nuclear capability has been shared, under the table, and unofficially, and the level of santions, for example against Pakistan's nuclear "expert" (Dr. Khan) for such activity is merely "house arrest".
Let's hope that this latest exchange of artillery, killing at least two South Korean soldiers, following the sinking of a South Korean ship by the North, is considered another "shot across the bow" of the conscience and the conscious joint political will of the world community, as it prepares for hard-nosed negotiation in the
six party talks over North Korea, not the bilateral talks with the U.S. that Kim Jong Il and his young son, the new "leader" seem to be leveraging toward.