A good number of world leaders are currently sweating nervously while hanging on every threat that the new North Korean Dear Leader Kim Jong-Un utters with their nerves fraying even more each time the satellites or other intelligence sources report any activities taking place anywhere near missile sites or nuclear instillations. Even China, the one who usually is called upon to calm situations emanating from North Korea, has placed additional troops on their border with North Korea and appears to be just as concerned as anybody else. Russia has made statements which could be seen as indicating that they are also in the dark as to what this new, young and untested North Korean leader is likely to do. The concerns are spread throughout the whole gambit of possibilities. Will he launch a middle-range missile or two or many more? Will he launch the reported untested long-range missile? Will the missiles be armed with active warheads? Would he honestly choose to place a nuclear weapon atop one of the missiles and if so where the nuclear warhead would be aimed? Everything is very much unknown largely due to no clear intelligence on North Korea and absolutely no history or even inklings of information about the new leader of North Korea. The entire world is in the dark forced to take guesses and attempt to be ready for any and every possibility. And as unclear everything is concerning this confrontation that has thus far been simply words and false moves without any actual belligerent acts, the world does have the one calming hope that all of this will result in simply meeting some demands for easing sanctions and some other mostly political compromises and food aid or other trade items as this has been the scenario in the past when his predecessors, his father and grandfather, had taken similar actions of saber rattling and boisterous threats. The level of trepidation which seems to have gripped our leaders where they have taken precautionary measures but at the same time are tip-toeing so carefully around the problem refusing to stand up against the threats coming from North Korea as if they are quiet enough things will calm down on their own. Such a timid approach only emboldens Kim Jong-Un and allows him to appear far more powerful than he actually is which is exactly what he desires. Where part of this strutting and bellowing out threats is done for intimidation and effect in order to have his demands met once they are stated, the other part is for propaganda on the home front where Kim Jong-Un will have reports for the foreseeable future regaling how the world was hanging on his every word and willing to grant him whatever he demanded and their sacrifices have not been in vain as North Korea is so powerful they can virtually stop the world from spinning. Maybe things would end quicker and Kim Jong-Un could be denied the endless ranting under the spotlight if he was confronted and somebody demanded him to simply state what this was all about and after he makes some demands instruct Kim Jong-Un that he will accept exactly what the rest of the world is willing to give him until he compromises and allows some freedoms and begins to serve his people instead of his ego. But the world does not seem to work like that which is why people like Kim Jong-Un and his fathers before him can get away with such antics.
Now look down the road about three or four years, or maybe by the end of this year depending on which report is correct on the Iranian nuclear weapons program and imagine how the world will react to the Iranian President, whomever wins the election this June to replace Ahmadinejad, along with whatever supporting role the Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei decides to play making demands of the world. Imagine, if you can, Iran and the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps) along with their terrorist branches the world over, like Hezballah, threatening to detonate nuclear devices in multiple capital cities around the globe if their demands are not met. How would the world react if Iran decided to annex Iraq claiming they were simply reforming their rightful lands as the inheritors of the lands that belonged to Persia? They could then annex Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan all with the same claim. At what point would the world leaders decide it was too much and take a hard stand? Would it take having them attack a NATO country such as Turkey? Would the Europeans even flinch if they attacked Greece or would the Europeans see that as good a way as any to rid themselves of a problem? What if Iraq, Syria and Lebanon simply announced that they desired to form a confederation under Iranian rule with their retaining some amount of autonomy but falling under the protection of the Iranian nuclear umbrella? If the world is apoplectically paralyzed by North Korea when they presumably do not possess ballistic missiles capable of striking anywhere on the globe, what would be the reaction to Iran who by then will almost certainly possess such missiles? Would the United States go to war over Israel or would Israel become literally the Czechoslovakia of World War III? How about over Kuwait or Saudi Arabia? Would the world rise up to protect any of the Sunni Islamic countries if they began to fall under Shiite Iranian hegemony? After Iran crept across North Africa, would we then rise if they laid claim to Andalusia which is what the Islamic powers called Spain when they held much of it until 1492 when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella marshaled the Spanish people and threw off the Islamic rulers. What if there were to be a modern battle of Tours in southern France. Iran is not a poor and economically desperate nation despite the effects that the sanctions have had on them. The Iranians are still managing to trade some of their oil and other goods and as the Western nations fall deeper into their own economic troubles we might very well see a resurgent Iran with many Asian and other nations discarding the sanctions and resuming trade with what would appear to be an Iran with a brighter future than the debt ridden Western nations. We need to remember that North Korea has a controlling power on its northern border and China would not allow the situation over North Korea threaten to bring a nuclear exchange to her southeastern border. Russia also would have something to say about such a possibility. North Korea also is far smaller and does not possess the natural resources that Iran does. Iran with nuclear weapons is a completely different and extremely dangerous threat which really cannot be compared to North Korea. If the nations of the world are unable to squelch the protestations and threats of Kim Jong-Un out of North Korea, then we will be in even worse position should Iran start to make similar noises backed by nuclear weapons. That is something to consider but not too close to bedtime if one wishes to sleep free of nightmares.
Beyond the Cusp