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Scary Morning In America.

"Boom."

The North Koreans appear to have detonated a nuclear weapon.
TOKYO, Oct. 9 -- North Korea declared on Monday that it had conducted its first nuclear test, asserting a claim to be the world's newest nuclear power and drawing strong international condemnation.

The South Korean government informed officials in Washington that an explosion occurred at 10:36 a.m. local time. Minutes later, North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency announced the test, calling it "a historical event that has brought our military and our people huge joy."

Chinese officials released a statement simultaneously recognizing and condemning the test. U.S., South Korean and Japanese authorities said they were still reviewing intelligence data but had no reason to immediately doubt the veracity of the Pyongyang government's claim.
Americablog, a Left-leaning political blog, is on the North Korean story.

Meanwhile, our intermittent-ally-of-convenience Pervez Musharraf, President-because-he-says-he-is of Pakistan, is under increasing pressure. Pakistan isn't testing weapons, their weapons are tested. Tested, perfected, and loaded onto tested and perfected missiles.

Will Musharraf fall? he was recently forced to sign an accord with the Taliban and their Al Qaeda friends ceding a portion of his country to the terrorists. And those terrorists are determined to have the agreement their way:
The bombing near President Pervez Musharraf's official residence in Rawalpindi, coupled with “two rockets rigged with mobile phones and primed to fire toward Pakistan's parliament” in Islamabad have sparked speculation about the stability of the Musharraf regime. As Syed Saleem Shahzad postulates, someone has issued “two quick warning signals to Islamabad.” The targets are not the only concern. The parties who detonated the bomb and planted the rockets were able to penetrate Musharraf's inner security zone.

Syed Saleem Shahzad states that the Taliban are the perpetrators, possibly in conjunction with the ISI. The Musharraf regime is being warned about violating the Waziristan Accord by failing to release al-Qaeda prisoners and arresting other suspects. This is also a warning from the pro-Taliban elements of the ISI (or Inter Services Agency, Pakistan's intelligence agency), both active and retired, as they fear Musharraf act against them based on pressures from the West. Hamid Gul, the former director of the ISI, recently warned Musharraf that he risked opening "Pandora's box" by taking action against him and the ISI. Gul is the architect of Pakistan's 'strategic depth' strategy that led to the rise of the Taliban.
Remember when we first learned of the Waziristan deal? Remember how conservatives tried to spin it as no big deal? As maybe even a plus? Donklephant updates us.

And then, there's Iraq. The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services, John Warner, appears to be defecting from the Denialists and joining the Worried Wing, and James Baker, former Secretary of Everything and Bush pere fixer is working on a new approach to Iraq. Joe Gandelman has that.

So, where are we this morning?

Well, the Axis of Evil, Iraq, Iran and North Korea, is looking more evil than ever:

Iraq is on the brink of all-out civil war and we are contemplating the desperate measure of dividing the country into what would inevitably be a fundamentalist, Sharia-imposing, Iran-allied Shiite state, a radical Sunni state and a Kurdish state whose existence could drive NATO member Turkey to war.

Iran is apparently stalling the UN as they move ahead with uranium enrichment and presumably their own bomb.

And North Korea it seems is now a nuclear power.

And we've effectively lost the war in Afghanistan by virtue of the weakness of our chief ally in the region, an ally which might fall at any moment and deliver nuclear weapons into very radical hands. Is that just me worrying about Afghanistan? No, it's also the highest-ranking allied officer in the country.

And we've been unable to stop genocide in Sudan. And our friend, Israel, is seen as weaker and more divided as a consequence of its war with Hezbollah (although Hezbollah took a major beating, too.) And Hamas reaffirms that it will never agree to recognize Israel. And the Syrians are in bed with Iran. And even Venezuela thinks it can spit in our face.

So, as you can see, things are going very well for us and our foreign policy team of Bush, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld. They are all strong, manly men (even Condi) and thank God they're here to protect us from the Democrats.

The one thing I think we can all agree on: it's all the fault of Bill Clinton.

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“Scary Morning In America.”

  1. Anonymous Lit3Bolt Says:

    While this is alarming and China's reaction will be interesting to watch, and Japan will probably just go ahead and rearm sooner rather than later, I can't help but think this was originally Karl Rove's October surprise for the year. There was a post on the Moderate Voice about that, I believe. Even if it is, though, this test could simply crystilize in people's minds the ineptitude which allowed Lil'Kim to get away with this behavior. It's ironic because the Republicans once could have rightly spun this to be Clinton's fault (which as some truth to it) but they have gone to that well far too many times in the recent past to make it really stick.

  2. Blogger Objectivist Says:

    And yet, I work with people who have voted for W, and when I ask them today, had they known then, everything they do now, would they have changed their vote, they still say “No!” I sincerely don’t understand this phenomenon. And they’re smart people, most with graduate degrees all working in IT. I really don’t get it, how could someone still justify the same choice (being in a work environment, I can’t quite ask this)?..
    Objectivist

  3. Blogger Chris Says:

    But Objectivist asks the wrong question of the Republicans. The question should have been, "why should you vote for the Democrat?" The central weakness of the Democrats is that for all Bush's mistakes, the Democrats are demonstrably worse. A party that is dominated by its anti-war faction in a time of agressive Islamic Fascist threat in one theater, and Mr. Ronery and his atomic ambitions in another, is not a party that will be trusted by people with the defense of the nation. Oh sure, you might take the house, but don't expect Hillary Clinton to beat Rudy Giuliani.

    The notion, peddled by people like Peter Beinart, that only liberals can fight and win the war on terror is belied by the very nature of modern liberals. This blog post, for instance, is a catalogue of complaints, but no solutions. Much like the modern Democratic Party. Truman, Marshall, and JFK, went to the people with a muscular, unapologetially patriotic, and pro-military foreign policy that was unafraid to confront Soviet Imperialism overseas. Today's Democrats simply aren't like that, and you can't raise Truman from the dead (no, Jesus is not a Democrat, no his he a Pub....).

    You guys are so busy hating Bush you've lost sight of the real threats. Those threats confront all of us, equally. When Democrats grow up, people will listen to them again. Until then, keep screaming impeachment.

  4. Blogger Objectivist Says:

    Thanks for the post, Chris!
    I could not have illustrated the point any better. Now if only somebody would explain why they choose to keep their heads so far up their respective asses, I could find some peace.

  5. Blogger amba Says:

    Ah, yes. If only Bubba hadn't unzipped Pandora's fly . . .

  6. Anonymous Lit3Bolt Says:

    So, Chris, what are we to do? What options are available to us? What should any president do about a nuclear power once it has demonstrated its capacity?

    The answer is of course Jack Feces. There's nothing to be done. You can ballyhoo about sanctions, and you can send all the French diplomats you want to Pyongyang, and you can start blustering and rattling sabers, but OH WAIT. Where's our military? In the Middle East! Fancy that!

    No sanctions will work.
    No military option is available.
    So what's that leave...diplomacy? With a certified moonbat?

    Oh wait, I forgot the Republican solution: BLAME CLINTON/DEMOCRATS. There we go. As long as BLAME is established, then we can go forward and forget about this unpleasantness.

    I don't hate Bush, really. I hate incompetence. So should you.

  7. Blogger reader_iam Says:

    No military option is available.

    A thought experiement: Let's say we had all of our military resources, human and otherwise, available and at the ready.

    Are you saying you think that's the option we should be using with North Korea? Now or at any time over the past decade?

    Think carefully about that. Think geopolitically.

    Is that truly what you're saying?

  8. Blogger reader_iam Says:

    And don't even extrapolate from that that I'm "blaming Clinton." That's not one bit what I said.

    I'm one to tend to see "causes" in terms of decades (please note the plural) and administrations (please note the plural). And a backdrop that includes more than the U.S. and [pick a hotspot nation].

  9. Blogger M. Takhallus. Says:

    Chris:

    Don't include me in your ennervated, unmuscular Dems litany. I've been bitching for three fucking years that the Bush administration isn't taking Afghanistan or Iraq seriously, that we need a return to Powell Doctrine overwhelming force and to abandon Rumsfeld's "just enough to lose" strategy, and that we need a bigger army.

    I generally attack the Bush administration from the Right on war policy not the Left. I don't believe in starting wars we don't intend to win.

    In terms of NK we were always running a bluff. Today Kim called our bluff. Clinton paid extortion to Kim, Bush tried a bluff, neither was a perfect policy but on balance Clinton's worked better.

  10. Blogger M. Takhallus. Says:

    Objectivist:

    There are a certain number of people who are quite simply impervious to reality. Ideologues will stick with their team no matter what happens. If Martians invaded and enslaved the entire human race 30% of voters would still be telling us it was all part of George W. Bush's brilliant plan, and any failures were Clinton's fault.

  11. Blogger M. Takhallus. Says:

    There are some problems that just don't come with a "winning move." There's never been a good answer to NK. That's the truth of it. Clinton managed to stall them for 8 years, an imperfect answer obviously. Bush tried to bluff them and Kim just called. Now the emptiness of our policy is laid bare. We had nothing, and now that fact is revealed for all the world to see.

    Clinton paid Kim off, Bush tried to bluff. Both were lousy policies. Lousy was all we had. Of the two Clinton's lousy was slightly less lousy.

  12. Blogger reader_iam Says:

    Tak:

    There are some problems that just don't come with a "winning move."

    Exactly.

    I'm not sure that Clinton's was slightly less lousy, better, or worse, primarily because the genesis of the issue precedes the time frame on which it's easiest to focus (this IS NOT a swipe at you, or even directed you, or even inspired by you; it's an observation, period, of a general human tendency).

    But each "previous", if it does not set a single stage for "next" nor determine the play that unfolds, certainly feeds and feeds into what follows. Time is linear; in that sense, so are actions and reactions. To badly mix metaphors, and to speak specifically with regard to N.K., Clinton played the hand he was dealt by preceding events and choices on the stage that was current at the time. Bush, likewise.

    Also, a teeny issue: Clinton stalled AND bluffed. I mean, really. For good or (or and/or) ill.

    I think a decent argument can be made that Bush has employed a hybrid as well. For good or for ill.

    I think a decent argument can be made that one could say that going farther back in time than the Clinton administration.

    Eventually, that number comes up. It always does. It always does. I'd go so far as to say that it's inevitable. In that context, it's a pretty useless exercise to talk about it in the terms I'm seeing it generally discussed--especially because, in my view, it'll only lead to more of the same (does anyone other than I remember the rhetoric over India's gaining nuclear power, back in the day? Etc. Etc. None of us have learned much. All of us have learned little.) But that's just me. Of course I could be wrong. Truly, of course. On the other hand, I could be offering something of use for looking at history-in-the-making outside the curent bubble and mood.

    Just something to think about... .

    Note (not to Tak, but more generally): I'm speaking very specifically here about North Korea and where we are with that country.

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