Seven days ago, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) a.k.a. North Korea fired seven missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and the impact of those tests are still sending tremors around the world; causing modern-day doomsday theorists to paint an apocalyptic portrait for many who believe the world is going nowhere fast. In times like these, my mother would sigh and say “Jesus is coming soon, these are the signs”. Finally, the United States is realizing that its image as the world’s superpower is not just eroding fast but actually non-existent. For an impoverished, undemocratic, communist and manic leadership-prone nation like North Korea to test the world’s temperatures when a military fever boils over in the Middle East where the US tries to exert its dominance (excuse me, oil exploration projects….hello?); it just goes to show that the world is indeed changing fast and that the imperial image and strategic position of the United Stakes is at stake. Reading Mike Oluwagbemi’s piece, The World is flat; was intellectual fodder for people who refuse to fess up to the reality of today’s global political dynamics. After President Bush II decided to go it alone and invade Iraq; many thought that America was simply making it clear to a docile world that it would not take rubbish from any quarters but the tragedy that has unfolded in the last three years has shown the vulnerability of the world’s superpower and inflicted untold harm on the psyche of America’s prowess on the international stage and its people’s confidence in the reasoning of those at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
There is no doubt in mind that North Korea is a threat to regional, if not global stability and I expect some form of response from the United Nations security council to curtail the escalating scenario. The next step would be for the six-party talks to continue without the North Koreans expecting the US to dialogue with them one-on-one. Let’s be realistic about American negotiations with the North Koreans. As long as the current administration is in place, I am convinced that there will be no direct talks between both countries. The Bush Administration lacks the humility to concede to such an obvious and logical suggestion. Even if the administration decides to set aside its pride and kiss the Gluteus Maximus (don’t expect me to use a more interesting word here!) of North Korea, it is way too late to do so as President Bush in his first term made it clear that there will be no such communication with the Koreans at that level except the North Koreans do what the American government demands of them. Reneging on such a statement would be an act of desperation on the part of the Bush administration and cause the great kingdom of the United States of America to lose face. America cannot afford to do this if it wants to keep what little bit of respect the world may have for it. Image is everything. If White House spokesman Tony Snow and the Bush team fail to recognize this simple statement, they should not be in the White House period.
America has lost its prized ability of balancing diplomacy with military toughness with the Iraq debacle being a prominent example. Slowly and surely, the walls of isolationism have been brought down but it seems that the US is stuck in some sort of rut where it cannot engage the rest of the world in a mature and mutually beneficial manner. Europe has got it. Asia has got it. Latin America is slowly getting it but big brother America is simply for lack of a better word…stuck. In a world where interdependency and globalization are becoming everyday themes, the Bush Administration has deceptively led on the American populace into thinking that life goes on without the rest of the world when China can easily cripple the stock market if billions of dollars are withdrawn at the whims of the communist party leadership in that country. The administration’s warped idea of foreign policy includes jumping into bed with strange fellows. After Iraq was invaded, the US labeled Pakistan a strategic partner in the war on terror and has provided unusually large foreign aid to this country. Pakistan? A country that has a strong fundamentalist culture, undemocratic governmental structure, flagrant disregard for women’s rights and possibly a hideout haven for Osama Bin Laden; a strategic partner? With the Iraqi war, America has thrown out its principles and given room to blinded self-interest that does not augur for its democracy; the type that it tries to shove down the throats of every other nation. This vulnerability is a valid ticket for miscreants in Pyongyang to cause trouble in the Korean Peninsular.
With India and Pakistan holding their own nuclear arsenals as strategic bargaining tools against the United States, Iran and only God knows what other country are developing their own nuclear architecture; it is only fair that Mike suggests in his piece that all nations should have the right to build and develop nuclear arms. The logic is valid but the consequences of such suggestions would be catastrophic if implemented. Indeed, the rhetoric used by the United States when it comes to the issue of non-proliferation is to say the least irrational, unfair and unenforceable. Imagine the United States condemning the Korean missile launches as an affront to peace in the region, while keeping mum when India tested missiles in the same time frame; insisting that both scenarios could not be compared since India informed the United States about its plan in advance! Gosh, when did all nations have to report to the ‘village headmaster’ before doing things on their own land? It is a shame that the Bush Administration has forgotten the meaning of the word ‘sovereignty’ and decided to control the policies of nations far away from its borders.
Indeed, the world is flat and the piles of power: monetary, military and industry; are shifting to other nations to the detriment of the United States. I have been accused of carrying my thought process to a futuristic and sometimes, provoking level; but North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and its ability to fire those missiles without fear of retribution from world powers would create a new world order that changes the dynamics of political dominance and influence in the coming 50 years. Here goes my crazy theory. As the United Nations has proven ineffective as a keeper of the peace worldwide and effective as the playground for powerful nations to bully smaller ones; using resolution after resolution, the Non-Aligned Movement nations are finding the possession of nuclear arms; as an awesome leverage in an unfair global environment. We might reach a point where nuclear capability will become the pride of continents where sub regional powers accumulate these deadly weapons to gain a stronger position in global politics. Nigeria or South Africa could champion the move in Africa, Brazil will clench Latin and Central America (hopefully before the CIA sabotages the whole thing!) and Australia ……well, now is that a country or a continent?! Anyways, you get the picture. The inability of the United States to play fair in global politics ever since it was forced to abandon isolationism at the beginning of World War II; has built up logical (although invalid and inhumane) grounds for the rest of the world to feel possessing weapons that could annihilate humanity are sources of national pride, rather than a call for constructive dialogue than ends the selfish and sometimes racist tendencies of the world’s superpowers. Yes, I said it! When a black nation (forget Egypt, it should be in the Middle East anyway) becomes a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, please gladly unlock the gates of criticism.
When all these nations finally have all the weapons to cleanse earth of humanity, what have we all achieved? Nothing and I mean absolutely nothing. The wise solution as I have suggested is to keep everyone talking
and give capable nations a platform where their interests become the interests of the world and thus, giving room for harmony and peaceful coexistence to be manifest in a world that seems to hate just that. The United States has a part to play in restructuring the entire United Nations and it must employ the friendship of a more cynical China which enjoys vetoing every bill of significance so as to assert its image of being a world power in its own right. Remember, it is all about image. Proliferation is definitely not the answer to US double standards. Negotiation and fair play are the only substitutes to avoiding a man-made Apocalypse.