The Associated Press reports that the White House is warning that the test of a nuclear weapon by the North Korean government would be "extremely provocative."
Clearly a test is gonna happen, then, may have even happened by the time you read this.
Mind you, all this is occurring two days after Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's controversial visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. In the Shinto religion, the souls of Japan's war dead are enshrined there -- and this includes some World War II war criminals, including some of the highest "Class A" kind. More on this another time. I don't like Japanese war criminals either, but El Jefe tends to be a contrary, nationalistic old cuss, who sticks-up for the home-folks, so if he were Japanese in the way that he is American, he'd probably visit Yasukuni too. Glad I'm not, and don't have to make that call.
Anyway, Korea, China and other nations in Asia take great public offense to these visits, and I think the evidence that a test is coming, at this time, is significant. The Japanese, as the former colonial power in Korea from 1904 to 1945, are at best not popular, and more honestly, deeply hated in Korea. Since Japan is the party most threatened by a North Korea nuclear test, much of Asia -- preferring to wax indignant, or affect to, about the crimes of the past, rather than the real dangers of the present -- will probably be at best ambivalent to the greatly increased threat presented by Dear Leader Kim's uber-wacko regime.
Don't forget we have 22 August coming up, the date the Iranians are supposed to make their official reply to the UN's nuclear proposals -- the day, as many on the web have pointed out, and, as Bernard Lewis wrote in the Wall Street Journal, that:
. . .by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.
So, the thing that El Jefe is wondering about -- is Mad Jad gonna test a bomb, also on August 22 ? I'm wondering if: (1) Dear Wacko Kim has lent good friend Mad Jad a bomb to test to "jump start" Iran's appearance on the nuclear stage, in conjunction with his own; or (2) if North Korea has been helping, and thus, speeding up Iranian nuclear efforts ? I think you can take possibility no. 2 for granted, but we should consider possibility no. 1 as well.
El Jefe is a big believer in the existence of a worldwide overt and covert anti-American alliance. This effort includes obvious players like Iran; the anti-US rebels in Iraq; Dear Nutjob Kim in Korea; Wacko Chavez in Caracas; the Castro brothers; Hezbollah, etc. Why wouldn't they cooperate ? Their interests coincide. I think there are also less obvious, silent players, including western Europeans, who do not wish to live in a world dominated by US cowboy capitalism and military imperialism. I wonder if there are even some people here, making their not-so-quiet stand against US monopoly capitalism and imperialism ? In any case, the existence of this front, and the deliberate or practical cooperation of these players (all for their own purposes), in keeping the pressure on Uncle Sam on many fronts is one big reason why the US is having such rough sailing at present.
In any case, the next week or so could be interesting.