Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Loose Cannons Can't Be Aimed

It was fun for the Russians and Chinese to watch us squirm as we struggled to keep North Korea from getting nuclear weapons to threaten us or Japan (South Korea long faced the destruction of Seoul by conventional arms so nukes aren't anything but a new way to bounce the rubble, really. That's why South Korea isn't as alarmed as we and Japan are about North Korean nuclear missiles). For decades Russia and China found their loose cannon, the Pillsbury Nuke Boy, a pleasant little distraction good for some laughs at our expense.

But no more. The Chinese are already worried--about refugees if nothing else and if the doddering rulers in Peking aren't daft, a nuclear Japan and Taiwan following a nuclear North Korea.

And now the Russians have expressed some horror, warning the North Koreans not to go nuclear. The Russians suddenly realize that a nuclear North Korea threatens them:

Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director at the USA-Canada think tank, said that Losyukov's message indicated that Russia was cutting back on longtime diplomatic support for North Korea.

"Russia's position has shifted and that could help push North Korea into a deal. They will see that no one is fighting for them," he said.

Another analyst, Anatoly Dyakov, head of the Centre for Study of Disarmament, Energy, and Ecology, said that Russia was right to toughen its stance.

"If Korea continues its nuclear programme, that will push the region out of control. Japan will be next, then Taiwan, and so on. Russia and China are worried."

It's not fun anymore when extra nukes might be pointed their way.

With their new worries, Russia and China probably view a collapse engineered by our pressure as no longer the worst thing that can happen on the Korean peninsula. Who says we aren't making progress?