October 09, 2006

A Testing Test

Considering the fact that the North Korean nuclear test has been condemned by everyone, from Thailand to Pakistan (!), Washington’s reaction has been very curious. The US has labeled it “provocative,” and has made the routine call for UN Security Council action. At another level, though, the US reaction has been predictable. The nuclear test is simply both good and bad for the US Administration’s interests.

With the US government focused on consolidating its geopolitical interests in the Middle East through a military attack on Iran, the North Korean test could not have come at a worse time. If an attack on Iran was difficult to justify before, both to the domestic US audience and to the world at large, it is that much more difficult to justify now.

There has been some talk in the last couple of weeks about a possible “October surprise” to boost the Republican Party’s dismal situation prior to the November elections. One possible “surprise” that was suggested was an attack on Iran, completely out of the blue and with no prior hint that an attack was actually coming (which is the way Israel always does these things, by the way). Prior to the Korean nuclear test, the scenario seemed credible, as it could feasibly improve the GOP’s position. An attack on Iran seems out of the question now, as it would simply be greeted with shock, both within the US and everywhere else (except in Israel).

In terms of US domestic politics, the test was potentially both helpful and harmful to GOP interests. It was helpful because, contrary to facts and logic, the Republicans are seen as the security party. In that sense, many Americans seem to live in a Western movie, with Republican white hats relentlessly pursuing the outlaws. It goes without saying that a tough sheriff would never even think of negotiating with or, God forbid, “appeasing” the black hats.

To the saner portion of the US population, though, the nuclear test would be more proof, if any more proof were needed, of the catastrophic and criminal failure of US foreign policy.


"Kory Johnson" said...

You hit it right on the nail. The U.S. has no room to talk about North Korea and its nuclear testing. They (the U.S.) has tested many of their deadly bombs on other countries, like World War II when they bombed Japan.

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Gracchi said...

You are right about the Republicans and the security faction that they would hope to get out and how it undermines what their policy has been focused upon. But can I add that one consequence has been for the rest of the world and the White House's standing there- it has for once allowed the Americans to play as the relative good guys in a scenario- nobody in the UK, China, South Korea or anywhere else wants Kim with nukes- so at least its done that.