The remnant of the Axis of Evil delights in torturing our President . Not just with words -- but with carefully timed "3 a.m." nuclear detonations and launches of inter-continental missiles capable of delivering WMDs. The North Koreans did so on Memorial Day, as well as in April as their riposte to Obama's Apology Trip to Europe. Tehran launched its own provocation last week.
Listen to the North Koreans
Listen to the official North Korean news agency:
"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea successfully conduced one or more underground nuclear tests on May 25 as part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defense in every way as requested by its scientists and technicians," adding that "the test was safely conducted on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology control."
President Obama responded with robust words: "North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community." Other world leaders spoke similarly, especially neighboring South Korea and Japan. The U.N. Security Council is rushing into emergency session.
The trouble is that we have heard this feckless song before, as described in our April 17 American Thinker article (Obama Flunks the 3 A.M. Test). While Obama was urging nuclear disarmament in Prague, Pyongyang launched an inter-continental multi-stage rocket in defiance of an explicit Security council resolution. Obama's April words also sounded like John Wayne: "Violations must be punished. Words must mean something."
What did Obama's words lead to? The Security Council issued a non-binding statement of condemnation. North Korea responded by withdrawing from the interminable futile Six-Party talks, expelling IAEA inspectors, and restarting nuclear facilitates it had previously agreed to disable in return for substantial already delivered concessions. The Obama Administration capped this charade of how "Violations must be punished" with this meek plea from Stephen Bosworth, our chief envoy to Pyongyang: "Regardless of the short-term problem, everyone has a long-term interest in getting back to the negotiations in the 6-party process as expeditiously as possible." Returning to negotiations without making North Korea pay a price would only confirm that Pyongyang has once again outsmarted Washington
Pyongyang and Tehran Choose Their Moments to Torment Obama
The nuclear detonation (along with the arrest of two American journalists) embodied North Korea's response to the Obama-Bosworth whimper. Americans may be mesmerized by Obama's speeches, but Tehran -- like Pyongyang -- discerns the difference between words and actions.
Choosing a symbolic moment to show contempt for Obama, Iran acted immediately after Obama's White House appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Apparently nudged by his guest, Obama said that he would pursue negotiations with Iran only until year-end. The President explained:
"Iran (sic) obtaining a nuclear weapon would not only be a threat to Israel but would be profoundly destabilizing to the international community and would set off a nuclear arms race that would be extraordinarily dangerous for all concerned including Iran."
Tehran responded the next day, firing a Sajil-2 missile with a range of 1200 miles -- far enough to trike Israel as well as U.S. facilities in the Middle East and Europe. The Sajil-2 constitutes a significant Iranian technological advancement in use of solid fuel, meaning it can be loaded more quickly and more effectively concealed than predecessors. Iranian President Ahmadinejad chose words carefully for the U.S. and its allies who have been urging Iran not to acquire nuclear weapons.
Ahmadinejad Compares Us To Dogs
"We send them a message. Today the Islamic Republic of Iran is running the show. We say to the superpowers, 'Who of you dare to threaten the Iranian nation? Raise your hand!' But they all stand there with hands behind their backs."
In case these words were too subtle for the White House, Ahmadinejad added explication for countries urging restraint on Iran:
"Like dogs, if you retreat they attack. If you attack, they retreat."
In the culture of the Middle East, there is no greater insult than this crude canine metaphor. And as to the sanctions which have been levered against Iran, and the more dire ones which are endlessly threatened but never imposed, Ahmadinejad exclaimed: "You can adopt 100 sets of sanctions, but nothing will change."
The Administration's response, delivered in Sec. Clinton's words to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, must have incited rejoicing among the mullahs:
"Our goal is to persuade the Iranian regime that they will actually be less secure if they proceed with their nuclear weapons program."
Too bad we don't know what the mullahs do when they celebrate the naïveté of their adversaries, for we might have learned something important. Hillary and I are graduates of the same law school (15 years apart, you can guess who is more full of years); she must have been dreaming up It Takes a Village when the history of legal realism was taught.
Has John Wayne Moved To Tel Aviv?
The dots connecting nuclear detonations and missile launches by rogue nations are easy to connect. Pyongyang and Tehran have co-operated on nuclear development and both assisted in the Syrian nuclear program which - fortunately -- was bombed out of existence by Israel last year (has John Wayne moved to Tel Aviv?). Bankrupt North Korea, which lets its own civilians starve to death while feeding its army with food donated by its myopic adversaries, would not hesitate to sell nukes to terrorists.
To be fair, the disastrous unrequited appeasement of Pyongyang began under the Clinton Administration and continued with Bush's removal of Iran from the list of terror-sponsoring states. Pyongyang broke every promise it made; its defiance has escalated as it observes the toothlessness of Obama's policy toward Iran's nuclear program.
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it would be "calamitous for the region and the world" if Iran had a nuclear weapon. Con Coughlin, a British expert on Iran, says that Obama's "lackadaisical approach to the most pressing security issue of the modern age is that, come the end of the year, Iran's development of a nuclear weapon will be a fait accompli."
It should not be forgotten that Iran's rulers -- during the misrule of Jimmy Carter, another capitulationist President -- took hostage American diplomats, an offense which even Hitler and Stalin eschewed. Or that Iran, according to a 2007 E.U. report, executed 118 prisoners within six weeks, including four by stoning.
Springtime for Despots
The remnant of the Axis of Evil is demonstrating contemptuously its capability to inflict nuclear havoc. As some of us have tried to warn, Obama's charming words of "engagement" have as yet done nothing to stop escalation of the Iranian countdown and North Korean lawlessness. Could it be that "engagement" incites contempt and defiance? Perhaps Obama should thank his predecessor for eliminating Saddam Hussein, the third pillar of the Axis of Evil. Saddam fired scores of SCUDs at Saudi Arabia and Israel. Had he survived, wouldn't he have joined Pyongyang and Tehran in this Springtime for Despots by firing inter-continental missiles to torture our President ? And this is torture with a purpose: Pyongang and Tehran are proving -- to use Admiral Mullen's word -- that Obama's policies are "calamitous" for international security.