Right Hooks

How Iran Inspired North Korea

Kim Jong-un puts nuclear reactor back online.

Jordan Candler · Feb. 10, 2016

In January, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un rattled nerves when he ordered the military to test what experts later determined was probably a hydrogen bomb. But having faced no counter measures other than a fresh onslaught of warnings, the Communist regime over the weekend provoked world leaders with another test — this time sending its second known “satellite” (read: nuclear warhead transporter) into space. Now comes word from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that a North Korean nuclear reactor is back online — something the country pledged to do in 2013.

Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, “North Korea has followed through on its announcement by expanding its Yongbyon enrichment facility and restarting the plutonium production reactor.” He says the regime “has been operating the reactor long enough so that it could begin to recover plutonium from the reactor’s spent fuel within a matter of weeks to months.” One bomb is bad enough. But Korea has an impressive arsenal already — and evidently it’s looking for more. The Associated Press reports that “U.S.-based experts have estimated that North Korea may have about 10 bombs, but that could grow to between 20 and 100 by 2020.” And experts believe these rockets are capable of striking the United States right now.

Investor’s Business Daily recounts these words penned by Barack Obama in 2007: “We must develop a strong international coalition to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. … Our first measure must be sustained, direct, and aggressive diplomacy — the kind that the Bush administration has been unable and unwilling to use.” Perhaps that’s because the Bush administration understood that you can’t negotiate with maniacal regimes. Nine years later, even The Washington Post editorial board is forced to reproach the Obama approach: “North Korea’s rocket launch shows that Mr. Obama’s ‘strategic patience’ has failed.” The Post recommends “a return to the only non-military strategy that brought results: sanctions that strike at the regime’s inner circle.” But recall that Obama lifted sanctions on Iran in the phony nuclear deal, giving billions to its economy. And there are signs that Iran’s secret work at its Parchin Military Complex is still ongoing. Whether it’s Iran of North Korea, turns out diplomacy isn’t a slam dunk. Just ask Dennis Rodman.

Click here to show comments

Subscribe! It's Right. It's Free.