The World Is Flat

by Michael Oluwagbemi II

“Never before has information been so important, to governments and businesses alike. And please don’t imagine that some of you gathered here today may be less concerned than others. Globalization means that the “butterfly effect” is everywhere at work.”

French President, Jacques Chirac

In recent weeks, the grandstanding between North Korea, the Pariah Asian nation, and the United States have been reaching a new crescendo. Of course for starters, it must be mentioned that technically North Korea and USA are still in a state of war dating back to the 1950 since only an Armistice and a demilitarized zone (DMZ) separates two nations that are at polar ends of world ideological divide from another fracas along the 38th parallel. Unlike its more prosperous sister Nation, South Korea, North Korea is a land of scarcity, hunger and one man dictatorship. What emboldens this tiny and almost insignificant nation to stand up to almighty America even to the extent of testing missiles and threatening nuclear attack?

The answer of course can be found in the predicament the United States finds herself today. It shows to a large extent the limited sustainability of the use of force to resolve international disputes and the consequence of squandering international goodwill and credibility in the aftermath of the Iraqi war and the WMD claim that turned up nothing more than a bearded self destructive ex-dictator in a foxhole. The all powerful US of A have basically lost the confidence of friends and foe alike and you can hardly lead effectively in the absence of trust and this credibility gap is exactly what North Korea is exploiting. Knowing fully well that she got Seoul the capital of an American ally and Japan within her missile range, the Korean rulers have basically called the bluff of American policy makers and have proceeded to try at the quickest possible time to obtain nuclear weapon and weapon delivery technology even against all international agreements they have signed both on unilateral, bilateral and multilateral basis. These actions have made the western press depict the Republic of Kim Jong-il as a country of irrationalities, where mad men hold sway; but recent events have since been proving this notion very wrong. The rulers of DPRK (ironically called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) are not irrational and they are exploring all available options to prove it.

There is no doubt that North Korea is not the only country currently exploring America’s weakness, the mad mullahs of Iran are doing exactly the same thing and it must be said that they have both been remarkably successful at least so far. In the face of all of this, it is interesting that the US administration DC have suddenly abandoned its gon-go neo-conservative policy that is a remarkable three hundred and sixty degrees from its regime change policy during the Iraq fiasco just three years ago. Has the Iraq war taught King George II some lesson? As he grown in the Presidency or the war has grown him? Is a more potential nuclear arsenal threat to Japan/South Korea on one hand and Israel on the other hand a deterrent to an administration hitherto know for its cowboy style foreign policy? Was attacking Iraq an act of beating the weakest bully in the school yard to scare off the stronger ones?

Of course, the president’s team has been insisting on six party talk format in negotiating with North Korea but this in itself is laughable given the speed at which the President waved aside the same group of six when it moved predictably into Baghdad. What happened to the coalition of the willing? However, using the six party talks as an excuse not to nip the nuclear threat in the bud might be a mistake after all. The question remains: is the six nation party talks a goal or a means? Why should resolving the crisis be held hostage to the modality of the discussion that leads up unto it? While I recognize the desire of the United States to involve all stakeholders in the talk so that she will not be held hostage to the desire of this recalcitrant nation, it must be added it is rather too late. DPRK already recognizes that every other nation on the negotiating table is a waste of diplomatic energy…what is the use of talking to anyone but the lone super-power? That is what you get for going it alone before!

There is no doubt that an alternative exists to the six nation talk that was supposed to involve Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, USA, and DPRK. In one fell swoop the USA can achieve its goals of not being held hostage by Korea without insisting on the six nation talks that irritates DPRK. The first step of course is to unite the international community especially Russia and China- who happen to relish opposing US policies on the international level without recourse to proper international decorum and the moral responsibility that their veto confers on them in the United Nations. They have behaved in the same self defeating way when it came to Iraq, Iran, and now North Korea. The best way to unite these nations and cut them to size is to undercut their regional power. The easiest way to do so is to nuclearize or attempt to nuclearize South Korea and Japan. Supply South Korea and Japan nuclear weapons with its full accessory the way Russia is supplying Iran and China is condoning North Korea; and both nations that desperately have an interest in seeing its competitors not join the nuclear club might start cooperating in earnest. This policy should also encourage India and Israel to openly test weapons in the direction of China and Russia respectively to effectively reposition America’s influence in that region: all programs fully complemented with the faith, capital and technology of America’s industrial power house. It is time to get tough- it is useless trusting pseudo democracies like Russia and China with nuclear weapons while Israel, India, South Korea, and Japan who operate a more open and democratic society are denied the same luxury.

In any case however, this crisis brings us to the question the fairness of nuclear proliferation laws and veto rule at the UN. If UN preaches democracy why can’t it be democratic? Why should one veto equals 100 votes?Why can’t we all have nuclear weapons? Are Americans innately more intelligent than the rest of the world that they are the most rational to possess certain lethal weapons? India tested missiles on same day and it was referred to as just a test, what a double standard when everyone was going haywire on North Korea. Doesn’t it in itself reveals the under belly of the world economic order? If we must totally amicable resolve the situation, we either completely arm every country in the world with nuclear weapons or cease from encouraging some like India, Pakistan and Israel from possessing weapons more like we are discouraging Korea.

More interesting however is that we seem to be worried with the wrong war. Large scale WMD warfare in my opinion belongs to the last century. The next frontier in warfare is crude lethal weaponry deployed by stateless organizations and the miniaturization of weapons of destruction. This also includes a large scale IT war that will seek to attack the Information Technology Infrastructure of the world (read, the Internet) on which world economy depends. The world has changed and warfare too has changed with it.The scale at which a small disturbance at one corner will affect the other is astounding and paying attention to little dictators in Pyongyang and arrant bully at DC still obsessed with star war sized weapons throws us back to an era when the worl

d was spherical. The world is flat. Flattening the weapons of offence and defense might as well begin now or we might all just end up as cobwebs.

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