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North Korea: Will there be war?

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I agree that UN sanctions clearly have no effect on North Korea (and more broadly, I think the UN is a wholly useless organization :P), but... what's the alternative? Going to war? In this post-Iraq world? Unless something big happens to change our situation vis-a-vis North Korea, that's far from possible. I don't think even firing a missile at Hawaii will be enough to make that happen... after all, they've been firing missiles at Japan for years, and the world has never been concerned enough to make them stop.

Also... as much as it squicks me to defend the UN... I think the six-party talks have *sort of* accomplished something. They've succeeded in forcing North Korea to see the world on our terms. Think about it-- North Korea is a "rogue state," one that theoretically does whatever the hell it wants and makes threats against the rest of the world. Why do they even bother with diplomacy? Why do they keep voluntarily participating in the six-party talks, when they probably could have had nukes by now without them? I think the answer is that they see some benefit in diplomacy which they know they can't get in any other way-- which means, therefore, that developing a nuclear arsenal is NOT their top priority. Nukes are only their second-choice strategy, their Plan B in case their Plan A (diplomacy) doesn't work out. That's why every year, they stage a big fuss about how they're pulling out of the six-party talks and they're restarting their weapons programs and all that, and then, four months later, they come back to the table again for another try. It keeps them under control much more than they would be otherwise.

I can understand why diplomacy is seen as the best option. Imagine what North Korea would be like if they thought nukes were their only option.


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