Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In the news

source www.guardian.co.uk

It is strange how the FB feedback about the Pope's resignations (mostly links  to various articles announcing the fact) was immensely higher than the reaction on North Korea nuclear test. The Pope has resigned. North Korea is becoming a nuclear force. Precisely.

Some facts:

-Strangely, there is no talk about the difference in risks between having a Plutonium nuclear weapon and a Uranium one. It is much harder to hide Plutonium producing capabilities than to hide Uranium producing capabilities. It is awkward to say that one is better than the other, but this is what it comes to when we are looking at North Korea developing nuclear power clandestinely. Even if N Korea disclosed that they have conducted a nuclear test, we still need to know what material and technology they are using. The material, hopefully, will be discovered in a few days, before the wind spreads the evidence: some of the isotopes resulted are in the form of (noble) gasses, some of which have 3.5 days half life. This is not elevator weather talk. Stay put.

-More and more voices that are against US foreign policies seem to side with N Korea 'right' to become a nuclear power. I don't understand their reasoning, but I hope that they will reach a more profound thinking and they will be able to distinguish between the two, so that the first doesn't automatically imply the second.

-UNSC is following US preferences - not true; It did not happened in the Cold War when Russia veto-ed everything, it doesn't happen now. The P5 reach, if anything, little consensus, as they interest in various countries vary (look at Syria - just one of the many.) The fact is that US would had ('harshly' - military or 'lightly' - sanctions) intervened in more cases that the SC approved so far. Though the level of negotiation improved, we are still discussing different approaches of dealing with (1)sovereignty vs right and/or obligation to intervene and (2) economic and strategic/political interests - these two hardly intersect in the P5, and when they do (Libya) is because they all have agreed (based on 1 and 2), not that they all have followed US' lead. People that still believe that we are living in a US hegemony world are reading old media.

-People are talking about agreement through dialogue as if that was not tried. Deterrence through sanctions proves that it's not working (although we have to think where would have N Korea been had there were no sanctions so far: some seem to believe only one possibility, that the test is N Korea's response to the sanctions, and that the sanctions only made it worse. There can be the other side: North Korea achieved what it wanted in the first place, regardless, and the fact that they have to be secretive about it slowed down with a few years achieving their goal), but the sanctions came as a result of failed negotiations (before and during sanctions.) Obviously, in an ideal world, dialogue is the best way to go. Thanks for pointing that out. I believe that nobody thought to call N Korea's phone# by now.

-What happen in Iran is minimally possible to happening in N Korea, which is more secretive and harder to hit through a cyber attacks on its facilities.

-N Korea has the 7th most powerful army in the world. That must account for something.

-At this point, the only sanctions on N Korea could come from China - China is the most important supplier/friend of N Korea. China asked for 'calm' responses. Whatever it means by that, we can be skeptical that China will take a radical approach, meaning cutting the cord altogether. It did not do it in '06, it did not do it in '09.

- In the beginning of nuclear development, there was 1 nuclear test a week, summing over 40,000 test in total. N Korea is the only country that conducted nuclear testing in the 21st century.

-North Korea is the country with most surveillance in the world. Still, they managed to secretly operate nuclear facilities. For me, that is just scary.