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Question #6

In light of North Koreas nuclear test and its announcement that sanctions would be considered a declaration of war, which course of action should the international community adopt in order to solve the crisis and regain its level of deterrence facing rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea? Contributions by Gerlad Steinberg, Jonathan Tobin, Isi Leibler and Michael Freund Jonathan Tobin: The problem with dealing with North Korea's nuclear program is that there is no easy answer. Diplomacy and engagement have failed and, given the maniacal nature of the regime, never had a chance anyway. Bribery failed since the North Koreans pocketed the tribute they garnered in the deal brokered by Jimmy Carter and promoted by Bill Clinton and then did what they wanted anyway. Unfortunately, given the militarized state of the Korean peninsula, the fact that the North Koreans already possess some nukes and the real fear that they would use them against their neighbors, this means there isn't any real military option either. Thus, all the world can do is work to further isolate this last stronghold of Stalinism. While this will likely not force them to give in, it will, if backed by a broad international coalition including China, make the Kim Jong-Il dictatorship pay a heavy price for their irresponsibility. Their threat of war over sanctions is chilling but it should not deter the United States from proceeding since the one thing that Pyongyang seems to really fear is a threat to the survival of their regime. Should the United States falter in its resolve here or given in to those urging further appeasement, the message sent to Iran will be clear: have no fear of the Americans or the international community. Given the stakes involved in preventing a nuclear Iran, which is not an outcome that should be contemplated. View From America: The two sides of American conservatism Gerald Steinberg: After many years of neglect, it is difficult to re-establish deterrence, particularly against radical regimes willing to gamble for high stakes, and with little understanding of the consequences. Serious sanctions are the necessary first step - if the major powers in the world can finally get together to impose a land, air and sea blockade to prevent the acquisition of technology and materials that could be used to advanced build weapons, this would send a powerful signal. Pyongyang is very isolated already, and imposing a blockade is relatively straightforward. For Iran, the costs will be significant. Teheran can retaliate by withholding oil from the market (although they will also pay a high price for this). But if the US, Europe, China, Russia and Japan can cooperate, sanctions on both Iran and North Korea can play an important role. Cooperation between the major powers is also vital to restore a credible threat to use force if sanctions fail to end the nuclear programs of either state. North Korea's leaders are still vulnerable to military action by a coalition of the major powers, (particularly if their 'nuclear test' was a failure or a fake). And Iran's fanatical leadership must also be shown that by threatening other countries (such as Israel) with destruction, they also become legitimate targets. US participation is important, while the other powers will have to get over their obsolete fixation with 'American hegemony', and pull their weight. Demise of the non-proliferation treaty? Isi Leibler: The world today faces the greatest threat to its survival. If the international community once again fails to achieve a consensus on how to deal with the North Koreans and the United States does not act unilaterally, the Iranians will inevitably also acquire a nuclear bomb. Under such circumstances humanity will be endangered and facing a potential future Armageddon. Even if we could rely on self-preservation to deter nuclear confrontations, the outlook would remain bleak because aside from the unpredictability of rogue states, should suicidal terrorists or religious maniacs ever acquire such weapons of mass destruction, deterrence would become utterly irrelevant. The time for determined and tough action by the international community to confront rogue states is now. Despite threats, concerted action can still save the day However once the genie is out of the bottle and they actually possess a stockpile of nuclear bombs the price to bring them to heel would be infinitely greater and it might then even be too late. 'Bravo Papa!': The pope, the Prophet Muhammad and the Jews Michael Freund: In light of North Korea's nuclear test earlier this week, and Iran's determination to obtain weapons of mass destruction, it is time for Israel and the West to face a cold, hard and unpleasant fact: only military action can stop these rogue regimes from achieving their goals. All the talk and diplomacy in the world is not going to deter Teheran and Pyongyang from pressing ahead with their unsavory ambitions, and we need to stop trying to convince ourselves that it will. Both countries have been given numerous chances - far too many, in fact - to comply over the years with the demands of the international community, and yet they continue to remain obstinate and uncooperative. And both regimes have demonstrated a propensity towards sponsoring terror, spreading weapons technology and doing everything they can to undermine Israel and the US. There is simply no choice but to stop Iran and North Korea before it is too late. Allowing them to join the "nuclear club" will inevitably prove far more dangerous, and more lethal, than taking the steps needed now to hinder them. Resorting to military action may sound frightening - and indeed it is - but the alternative will only prove far worse. Right On: A miracle of biblical proportions
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