The Corner

Less Than Great News

From a reader:

Jonah, As a gov’t worker with the day off (up until this morning when I checked the news that is) I can say this is VERY, VERY bad news for the US.  The developments in DPRK will keep us busy for a long time to come, and has some pretty bad ramifications for the region.   1) DPRK goes nuke, then Japan could very well decide that it needs its own nuclear capability (due to their very robust nuclear power industry, they have lots and lots of usable plutonium lying around) 2) Japan follows DPRK’s lead, and ROK could decide to go nuke as well (keep in mind, they “accidentally” enriched uranium as recently as 2000) 3) If DPRK, Japan, and ROK goes nuke, Taiwan could decide to do the same since everyone else in the region is arming.  While they don’t have an enrichment capability as yet, their engineers and technical capacity are some of the best in the world.  Not hard for them.   4) If all of East Asia effectively leaves the nonproliferation regime, this sets a very bad precedent for the rest of the world.  I.e., what happens if Iran goes nuke?  Saudi, Egypt, and Turkey have every incentive to do so as well (especially if the Europeans continue to deny Turkey EU membership) 5) From there, you get third and fourth order regional proliferation, that is potentially Brazil (who has the ability to enrich uranium, and continues to deny the IAEA access to their nuclear manufacturing facility at Resende), and then other states of concern:  Indonesia, Venezuela, Burma (yes, Burma) and a few others… Not good times.  The next few years will present enormous policy challenges for the US. Keep up the good writing (and of course, please withhold my name)

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