Archive for the ‘nuclear weapons’ Category

North Korea’s failed missile test sparks worldwide condemnation

April 5, 2009

Against the resolutions of the United Nations (UN,) the North Korean government went ahead of the launching of a missile test that fizzled out in the Pacific Ocean. According to Pyongyang, the missile was supposed to be a satellite, but the outside world believed it was an experiment of a weapon technology that can threaten US territories like Alaska and Hawaii.

The United States Command which observed the launch from the Pacific said the “satellite” was a failure, but the rogue government of Kim Jong II was celebratory—insisting that the launch went well.

“Given the volatility in the region, as well as a stalemate in interaction among the concerned parties, such a launch is not conducive to efforts to promote dialogue, regional peace and stability,”— Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General Ban. Telegraph.co.uk (04/05/09, Foster, P)

The criticism and disappointment of Ban with North Korea is shared by US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who asserted North Korea’s action was “completely unacceptable.” Gordon said Pyongyang’s communist regime, a threat to world peace and security, must stop the testing and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Japan’s ambassador to the U.N., Yukio Takasu condemned the launch “a clear crime” versus U.N. Security Council demands that posed a grave threat to Japan.

The rocket launch was a violation of international agreements. The United Nations in New York went for an emergency meeting to thresh out ways (other than condemnation) to respond to the provocative action. However, it is doubtful if the world’s body of nations has the effective teeth to discipline a dangerous nation like North Korea. Since December last year, diplomatic talks on nuclear control with North Korea, Japan, China, South Korea, Russia and the US (Six Party talks) have been not pushed through. (Photo Credit: Eric Lafforgue x 2 )=0=

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Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rebuffs Obama’s peace message

March 22, 2009

In a video message on March 20, 2009, Pres. Barack Obama tried to reach out to Iran, reminding the hard-line Islamic country to show its greatness not by way of arms, but through peaceful means.

His offer to normalize relations with the mullah-dominated country is a campaign promise he had to fulfill—a radical digression from Pres. George W. Bush’s policy of non-negotiation towards a regime known to be part of the “axis of evil” that threatens to wipe out Israel.

Obama’s peaceful diplomacy is what most of the Western world wanted. Yet, this presidential gesture delivered in time for the Persian new year of Nowruz is looked upon as a form of “surrender” which the “hard” Muslims expect from the “soft” Americans. Iran thinks the United States, saddled by economic problems, is wearied by terrorism and preoccupied by the Iraqi and Afghan wars; it doesn’t have the enough strength to fight. That’s why Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quick to rebuff the US president.

“He (Obama) insulted the Islamic Republic of Iran from the first day. If you are right that change has come, where is that change? What is the sign of that change? Make it clear for us what has changed…Have you released Iranian assets? Have you lifted oppressive sanctions? Have you given up mudslinging and making accusations against the great Iranian nation and its officials? Have you given up your unconditional support for the Zionist regime? Even the language remains unchanged.” —-Yahoo News/ AP (03/21/09, Dareini, A)

Iran finds a new sense of self-importance learning of Obama’s conciliatory stance to patch up the strained relations between the two countries. Denying terrorism and the Iran’s race to produce nuclear arms, Khamenei lashed on Obama by mentioning a litany of Iran’s grievances against the United States.

Amid calls of “Death to America” from his audience, the cleric-leader dwelt on long standing hostilities since diplomatic ties were severed after the fall of the pro-US Shah government about 30 years ago.

Many have some inkling on know how the Iranians are taking Obama’s peace overtures. Iranians opposed to the cleric-controlled government may support him. But others may look at his peace suggestion as a sign of weakness. Like other warlike Muslims in other parts of the world, Iranians don’t respect a man who looks like a wimp even if he is the president of the United States. (Photo Credit: Polyphake; Photon Trap)=0=

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Iran’s Ahmadinejad & the Impotence of the United Nations

September 24, 2008

Side by side with the financial crisis rocking America, the threat of terrorism showed its ugly head when Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made a controversial speech in the United Nations (UN) in New York City today September 23, 2008, highlighting the impotence and hypocrisy of current world politics. His allusion to a pessimistic outlook of America is as though the United States is alone in its march towards a rough ride into the future.

Faced with a global economy, exploding population, dwindling resources, differing value judgments and relativist view of truth, America shares its problems with everybody. This is what is happening in the current economic crisis. The financial flu sweeping the United States is threatening to be a world pandemic of economic and political woes whose end result for the world is scary to imagine.

Wishing bad things to happen for America isn’t good to the peace and stability of its global neighbors. Just as the full-blown effects of the present US economic downturn are starting to be felt, the world waits on the edge; nobody knows how it will end. But even without this, Iran has been suffering under the current Islamic regime of Ahmadinejad. Outside the UN headquarters, he is met by protests and jeers by those who disagree with him.

The United Nations (UN) has been inutile in convincing Iran to stop its nuclear program. Effective in fighting certain world problems, UN is “forced” to give air time to Ahmadinejad whose horrific support for terrorism and promotion to destroy Israel sends goose bumps to decent people worldide. Most observers doubt Ahmadinejad’s hyperbolic rhetorics and many don’t believe his vitriol and clever pretentions. With a sluggish UN, few nations however speak up and stand against his way.

For not suspending its uranium enrichment, three rounds of UN sanctions hasn’t deterred Iran from continuing its nuclear activities. It’s this type of UN sanctions that Sadam Hussein endured until after 16 unheeded resolutions which led to the Iraq war that was supported albeit lamely by the UN.

The possibililty of nuclear war is ever more real in the current stockpiles of weapons whose oversight is increasingly becoming more difficult. Serving as a political tool and a weapon of intimidation, the acquisition of nuclear arms by unstable countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea is a scary step towards the planet’s destruction. It encourages terrorists and extremists to work harder to destabilize the world and make the nuclear cloud closer to reality.

With rogue nations sitting side by side in UN in “cooperation” with those committed to make the world a peaceful place, the challenge of diplomacy is ever more complex and daunting. The world body cannot even agree on who are the terrorists. Having reckless leaders like Ahmadinejad who denies the holocaust, lacks accountability, threatens Israel, and wages proxy wars (Hezbollah and Iraq) could be the signs of what lies in the future. It’s at this late hour that world is learning. Sooner or later, it must wake up and confront the reality at hand. Photo Credits: Ben Heine; Nickolette22; MihaiRomanciuc)=0=

Amidst complacency and denial, terror persists, USA & the world still on the edge

September 10, 2008

Two days before the 7th year after 911, a bipartisan report suggests that the United States is still dangerously at risk of being attacked by weapons of mass destruction (WMB’s.) Democrats critical of Pres. George W. Bush are quick to highlight the dangers. And they don’t leave the psyche of Americans traumatized by the randomness of the attack.

The report and supporting studies describe the failure of international cooperation to prevent terrorists from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, which they call a major problem. Many countries continue to ignore a United Nations mandate to prevent the spread of weapons; the ability of many countries to monitor potential bioterrorism is “essentially nonexistent,” and dangerous chemical weapons stockpiles remain in some countries, including Russia and Libya, the report said.” AP (09/09/08, BlackledgeB; SullivanE.)

In spite of moves to make the homeland secure, the nature of terrorism makes it hard to wipe out the threats. This worry is part of the legacy of 911 when the rules of engagement of war have been defined by a small group of extremists who are bent to make America and the rest of the civilized world accede to Al Qaeda’s and other Islamic toxic ideology of hate.

Bringing America down has serious implications in emerging and poor countries like the Philippines whose economies will further suffer in the midst of a threat of war, worldwide recession, dwindling resources, and exploding population. Though Pres. Bush must be credited for foiling a number of plots and in improving security during his administration, many don’t look at it this way. It is hard to see success in prevention that has an astronomical price tag.

The cost of underwriting a protective shield for Americans and the world is causing a toll on the US economy. Only when another attack as spectacular and hideous as 911 will Americans, (especially the cynical and complacent) will realize that the world they know has been turned upside down by a few rogues who wait for the singular chance to do harm and damage. Terror resonates in 911 and the attacks in Madrid, London, Jerusalem, Riyadh, Nairobi, Bali, Manila and other cities worldwide. As security experts experts have said, it’s not a question of if that another attack will be waged, but when. (Photo Credits: AP/TayloC;bp.blogspot)=0=

Enigmatic Kim Jong-il & the future of North Korea’s nuclear arms

September 10, 2008


The news is abuzz with speculations that Kim Jong-il, the strong communist leader of North Korea, one of the most secretive and reclusive communist regimes in the world with strong military power is incapacitated.

Short, pudgy, and known for his platform shoes and liking for Hollywood movies, the bouffant-haired strongman (believe to be 67 years old,) is suspected to be ill, possibly downed by a stroke sometime in the middle of last month. Since then he has not been visible in the government functions. Some theorize his death. Others believe he has been replaced by a double.

Amidst denial from the North Korean government, this brings a new uncertainty on the future of a repressive dictatorship in an impoverished nation which brings chills to the world for its possession of nuclear weapons. Jong-il’s alleged illness since August can stall the little gains of nuclear arms control brokered by the United States in the region. (Photo Credit: Nick Papniconstainou)=0=

Update:
On September 11, 2008, North and South Korean officials affirmed that Kim Jong-il had a stroke which required brain surgical intervention. It remains to be seen if full recovery is in the offing.=0=

New Pakistani president’s war against terror & the need to secure nuclear weapons

September 7, 2008


Pakistan enters a new phase in governance with the election of Pres. Asif Ali Zadari, 53 year old widower of slain leader Benazir Bhutto who died on December 27, 2007. His landslide win on September 6, 2008 is immediately greeted by a huge suicide explosion near Peshawar, a troubled northwest part of the country killing at least 35 and wounding many more. Militants allied with the Taliban claimed responsibility for blowing up a pick-up truck that counted a teacher, a guard and seven police officers among the dead. AP (09/07/08, Khan, R.)

Called Mr. Ten Percent for alleged corruption during the Bhutto administration, Zadari who is considered as a pro-Western liberal is expected to follow Pervez Musharraf’s anti-terrorist efforts. Hard on insurgency in this violence-prone Moslem nation, Zadari’s position is in line with the American campaign against Islamic terrorism in neighboring Afghanistan. But he faces pressure to balance the local crack-down down on militants and his support for United States which recently led a controversial assault against rebels in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

I’ve been impressed by some of the things he has said about the challenges that Pakistan faces, about the centrality of fighting terrorism, about the fact that the terrorism fight is Pakistan’s fight and also his very strong words of friendship and alliance with the United States,” Condolezza Rice said. AP (09/07/09,Ahmad, M.)

Washington is closely concerned with the future of Pakistan with its arsenal of nuclear weapons. With the power to scrap the parliament and appoint army officers, Zadari heads the civilian-military committee which oversees Pakistan’s nuclear arms. It remains to be seen how much influence Zadari has over the powerful military and the citizenry. Photo Credits: S@jj@ad; Maxi_Leo)=0=