kim jong il 224 88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Whether one sees the deal reached in Beijing to pay off the North Korean regime to dismantle its nuclear program as a victory of international diplomacy over warmongering or as yet another shameful climb-down in the face of a cruel dictator's threats, it has to be clear that such a solution won't cut it with Iran. The US administration that gave its blessing to the agreement with Pyongyang isn't going to let the mullahs off so easily. Here are ten reasons why.
1. Kim Jong-il, the genocidal North Korean leader, has one motive, survival as absolute monarch of the benighted kingdom. Behind the shopping list of aid North Korea is about to receive stands the assurance that the US and its allies won't work to topple the regime.
The Iranian leadership, however, is interested in more than staying in power. They see their mission as spreading the Islamic revolution to the rest of the Middle East and from there, worldwide. They won't be so easily bought off. Which leads us to reason number two.
2. Even if Iran was to give up its nuclear program, it wouldn't cease to be a thorn in the Bush administration's backside. Unlike North Korea, which is mainly concerned with itself, Teheran is actively undermining American efforts throughout the region, supplying Shi'ite forces fighting the US Army in Iraq, financing and directing Hizbullah's efforts to overthrown the Saniora government in Lebanon, and playing an increasing role in the Gaza Strip, aiding Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hence to reason three.
3. The United States is already at war with Iran, even if only by proxy. The Shi'ites fighters in Iraq are controlled, barely at arms length, by the Revolutionary Guard, and American forces have targeted Iranian operatives in Iraq. A war with North Korea was the last thing the US wanted, but a war with Iran they already have.
4. Iran might seem a much more powerful nation, but actually North Korea is a much harder nut to crack. For a start, intelligence on Iran's nuclear capabilities might be patchy, but when it comes to the Yongbyon project, it's almost nonexistent. The nuclear test four months ago caught the West completely by surprise. The fact is that even if a military attack was in the cards, the targets were unknown.
5. Iran's oil wealth notwithstanding, it is much more vulnerable to serious economic sanctions than North Korea. The total control Kim Jong-il has over his subjects has already allowed him to sacrifice an estimated 10 percent of North Korea's population to mass murder and systematic starvation. The Teheran regime is no where near as powerful; food shortages in the cities of Iran could well spark revolution.
6. While Iran enjoys varying levels of support from America's international rivals, it has nothing like the kind of ally North Korea has in its Chinese neighbor. Attacking North Korea could produce a US-China confrontation, providing another reason for finding a diplomatic solution.
7. By managing a nuclear test, the North Koreans had already scored the jackpot. Once it crossed the atomic threshold, Pyongyang was able to demand and receive preferential treatment. Teheran hasn't tested a device of its own and, after having failed to deny North Korea this milestone and being forced to buy it off, the US will step up its efforts to make sure Iran doesn't get there.
8. Iran is taking an active part in the international anti-US and anti-Israel movement, joining forces with radical socialists and racist Holocausts deniers around the world. The US can't be seen handing the Ahmadinejad-Chavez alliance a victory.
9. Ahmadinejad himself bears a great deal of the responsibility for turning Iran into such a major target. His insistent taunts and threats created a challenge that cannot be ignored. Kim Jong-Il might be a murderous paranoid dictator, wallowing in luxury while his people starve, but he hasn't gone out of his way to humiliate the world's greatest power. It's much easier to write a check and pretend he doesn't exist.
10. Another reason that Ahmadinejad and his cronies won't get the same treatment is that while the Pyongyang gang prefers to visit genocide on its own people, the mullahs have sworn to wipe out another country.