Trust, that is.
So, the North Koreans fired off a big rocket?
Well, what else is new?
What else is new, my friends, is that the world is one step closer, a small step, perhaps, but still one step closer to the greatest catastrophe ever.
Let us put the events of last week in perspective:
To end the war against Japan, the U.S. detonated two nukes, over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tens of thousands of human beings perished and wise men and women said that this should not be allowed to happen again. The horrible weapon should be abolished. At the same time the Russians decided they, too, had to have “the ultimate weapon.” The same decision was also made in London and Paris, with known results; for a while even Sweden was close to creating its own nuclear weapons program. Later on Israel, China, India and Pakistan (and for a while South Africa) joined the club. Japan keeps a position of total readiness and — this is where we are now — North Korea has a small number of nukes, but limited means of delivery. Iran, very close to Israel, is well on its way. How well, we shall see soon, I'm afraid….
Nuclear weapons, it must be said, have served the world well. After 1945 they have not been used. Indeed, it is very likely, that had “the ultimate weapon” not existed there would have been a great war between what we call the West and the Communist block. A war like that might not have destroyed humanity or civilization as we know it, but it would have come close and we would still suffer from the consequences. So: Three cheers for the BOMB!
But things change.
Some nations can be trusted, others can't. Among the ones that can not be trusted we find North Korea and Iran, the first governed by insanity (is there any other word?) the other by religious fanaticism (is there any other word?). In both cases, we shall soon experience decisive moments.
North Korea will try, as it has repeatedly, black mail. Give us money and food (for we starve!) or else! That something can go badly wrong is clear.
As for Iran, President Obama, has offered a solution. You stop developing nukes, we abstain from developing a “fence” in Poland and the Czech Republic. But if negotiations fail? And what about Israel, whose leaders are quite understandably n o t interested in their country's destruction.
And further down the road ... it is today quite easy to make nuclear explosives. One day, maybe soon, al-Qaida will be able to make, or buy, a couple of charges. They need not be delivered by rockets. They can be smuggled into the U.S. on a ship, loaded on a small plane piloted by a suicide bomber, or driven across from Canada or Mexico in a car. If its detonated in any big city, the destruction will be immense; the risk for repetition will force the government —regardless of who is president — to take drastic and unpopular measures.
In my pessimistic judgment, what the North Koreans launched the other day tells us is that worse days lie ahead….