The Wages of Appeasement: 2nd NoKo Nuke Test

Anyone who reads this New York Times article on North Korea's second nuclear test by Choe Sang-Hun will be left with the distinct impression that, 1) North Korea is spitting in Obama's and America's face, and 2) the more he spits the more we grovel.

North Korea cut off talks with the US a few months ago citing "hostility" by the Obama administration. Since then we have dispatched two different envoys to try and get the moribund nuclear talks going again. They came with soft words of reconciliation and a desire for peace.

Kim Jung Il's regime spit back in our face by arresting a couple of journalists, all but breaking off relations with South Korea, and once again accusing the US of having a hostile attitude towards the North Koreans.

The result is this second, and potentially more successful nuke test than the first which many analysts judged a nuclear fizzle:

Word of the test sent a shudder through Asian financial markets and clearly caught South Korea and the United States off guard. The news hit just as South Korea's government and people were mourning the suicide of former President Roh Moo-hyun. And hours after the test was reported, South Korean state media reported that the North had fired a short-range missile.

The nuclear test also came against a backdrop of uncertainty about North Korea's reclusive leader, Kim Jong-il, and speculation about who might succeed him. Mr. Kim suffered a stroke last August, which prompted him to step up preparations to transfer power to one of his three known sons. Analysts believe the favorite son is his youngest, Kim Jong-un, who is in his mid-20s.

Doesn't the CIA get tired of being "surprised" by important world events? I have great admiration for the men and women who serve in our intelligence community, but how is it US leaders are "caught off guard" or "surprised" when a thug regime like North Korea tests a nuclear weapon when we have the most sophisticated satellites ever invented? Yes, human intelligence (Humint) is almost impossible to come by in North Korea but one would think that conducting a nuclear test would necessarily cause some commotion at the test site.

Regardless, the test is a direct consequence of our attempt to appease Kim by, in essence, bribing him with deliveries of food, fuel, and infrastructure improvements. None of it matters because in the end, Kim has no intention of dropping his nuclear program. Why should he when there are no consequences for bad behavior  - like testing a bomb? We'll wait a couple of weeks and then dispatch another envoy who will seek to reopen "negotiations" with Kim. Perhaps the tyrant will deign to throw Obama a bone and magnanimously agree to waste more time while his scientists and engineers perfect their little toy.

The world will regret not dealing with this thug when we had the chance.