North Korea is just the latest episode
We often hear that there is a crazy guy in North Korea. After further thought, maybe he is not that crazy after all. He is just putting his cards on the table before the new president next January.
So the first unexpected foreign-policy crisis of 2016 is upon us with news that North Korea may have detonated a hydrogen bomb in a successful test.
But really, this isn’t a 2016 crisis. It’s actually a 2015 crisis. It should be on the list of the many, many negative consequences that have already begun to flow from President Obama’s nuclear-weapons deal with Iran
How so? Say you’re Kim Jong-un. You see Iran, the nation with which you have been secretly collaborating on nuclear matters for a decade, is going to get its hands on $100-plus billion from the United States and the West for agreeing to slow-walk its way to nukes.
Now, you already have nukes, so you can’t get baksheesh for not making them.
But you’ve seen that the West is willing to strike a deal with a nation it loathes (or ought to loathe) for agreeing to some form of self-restraint.
The only way you can broach the subject is to do something unrestrained -- and see if America is willing to buy you off.
We are starting year 8 of Obama, and the world has figured it out:
1) Our allies are not sure that we will be there or recognize the superpower known as the U.S. Just check out the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. On one side, we have a concerned ally, on the other, an emboldened adversary.
2) Our enemies, from Iran to North Korea to Cuba, cannot believe how easy life is under Obama. Iran has just gotten a deal from the West that will move it closer to a nuclear bomb. North Korea decided to push its weight around hoping to get its own deal – i.e., a lot of cash. Cuba's anti-American government has just been literally saved by a deal with the U.S. without making a single concession.
It was a great year in 2015 to be an anti-American dictator. Why shouldn't they expect 2016 to be the same?
Again, the young guy in North Korea is not crazy. He is just positioning himself in a new geopolitical reality that does not feature a powerful or an assertive U.S.