When Kim Jong Il and his military machine set the world on its ear by testing a nuclear device, I along with many others thought that were definitely headed for dark days. I got this unfortunate news after having just finished watching “The Wire” on HBO and was still in the afterglow when my smiling face morphed into a look of abject horror. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that when the Fox News Alert blared across my flat-screen television, I reacted like the prototypical 1950’s housewife hammering frantically with a broom against a mouse scurrying across the kitchen. My wife thought I was having a stroke.

But this was nothing compared to how I felt a few days later when I heard that both China and Russia were against sanctioning North Korea for their blatant disregard for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT]. I sat in front of my computer mouth agape as I suddenly realized that it didn’t matter what the US said or did on the UN Security Council or what we wanted to see happen on the world stage, so long as China had a UNSC veto, they could derail any plan to contain North Korean, Iran, or any other expansionist/hostile nation. Never mind the neutron bomb, Chinas veto was the single most destructive weapon on the planet.

Oh how cried and moaned and kvetched about how in one seemingly innocuous headline, the United States was made to look toothless on all but the least important of geopolitical issues. I lamented that the NOKO Bomb (as all the hipsters are calling it) had made China the real superpower in the world and they seemed to be hell bent on making sure that the United States was roundly supplanted as the leader in world affairs and impotent to do much of anything in the way of stopping nuclear proliferation.

I suddenly became the child who suddenly realizes that there is no Santa Clause.

However, after all the crying, moaning and most importantly, the kvetching, I found a series of headlines that has turned a rather bleak situation into one where there is a glimmer of hope.

According to an article in The Australian, Beijing is openly considering “regime change” in Pyongyang after last week’s nuclear test by their confrontational client state.

“In today’s DPRK Government, there are two factions, sinophile and royalist,” one Chinese analyst wrote online. “The objective of the sinophiles is reform, Chinese-style, and then to bring down Kim Jong-il’s royal family. That’s why Kim is against reform. He’s not stupid.”

More than one Chinese academic agreed that China yearned for an uprising similar to the one that swept away the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989 and replaced him with communist reformers and generals. The Chinese made an intense political study of the Romanian revolution and even questioned president Ion Iliescu, who took over, about how it was done and what roles were played by the KGB and by Russia.

Mr. Kim, for his part, ordered North Korean leaders to watch videos of the swift and chaotic trial and execution of Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, the vice-prime minister, as a salutary exercise.

The balance of risk between reform and chaos dominated arguments within China’s ruling elite. The Chinese have also permitted an astonishing range of vituperative Internet comment about an ally with which Beijing maintains a treaty of friendship and co-operation. Academic Wu Jianguo published an article in a Singapore newspaper – available online in China – bluntly saying: “I suggest China should make an end of Kim’s Government.”

“The Chinese have given up on Kim Jong-il,” commented one diplomat. “The question is, what are they going to do about it?”

What will they do about it indeed. The NOKO Bomb may have inadvertently led to the demise of Jong Il dynasty in North Korea, by of all hands China. I have said in the past and it has been affirmed by many analysts that N. Korea does the dirty work for China. They are something like Chinas personal mafia, what with all the counterfeiting of US dollars, drug running by N. Korean diplomats and large scale spy training going on. I would not have thought in a million years that Hu Jintao would throw his buddy the “Dear Leader” over the falls to safe face with the world community. But if the reporting in The Australian is indeed sound, that may in fact become a welcomed reality.

It all depends on what exactly China wants for themselves or sees as their needs. They want to dominate South East Asia and the Pacific in a sort of Big Brother way like the US used to do in Latin America. They are accomplishing this obviously through military build-up but more importantly through becoming a major economic impact player.

For example, the latest doings in Chinas markets report that, “Wal-Mart Stores Inc., stymied this month in its attempt to expand in Japan, plans to double its stores in China by acquiring Trust-Mart for about $1 billion, a person familiar with the proposal said.
Trust-Mart, a closely held chain of grocery and appliance stores, is in talks with Wal-Mart and other overseas companies, said a spokesman, Huang Shiying. A Wal-Mart deal needs regulatory approval and may not be announced for weeks, the person familiar with the proposed acquisition said yesterday, declining to be identified before an announcement.

Expansion in the world’s fourth-largest economy may counteract slowing U.S. sales and bolster revenue at Wal-Mart. The retailer’s overseas ambitions were thwarted by its midyear withdrawal from Germany and South Korea, and after Japan’s Aeon won exclusive rights to acquire the supermarket company Daiei this month.” (source)
I could name at least a dozen more stories from just yesterday alone that show how the Red Dragon is extending its economic reach further and deeper in the world at an exponential rate. If they do not have designs on violently crippling the US, just nudging it out of its position of power on the global economic stage, then the last thing they want is to go to war with anyone or set up a scenario where we exert our military might in their sphere of influence. Where making money is concerned, sometimes you have to trade in your old destructive friends for the more prominent crowd.

I’m willing to go along with the idea that China might throw Mr. Il over the falls because of yet another story that happened to have brightened my day. Real Clear Politics opinion writer James Lewis writes that because Iran and North Korea have been working hand-in-hand on weapons that endanger China along with everybody else, China may move away from their unabashed love fest with that wild and crazy anti-Semite, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and back workable sanctions against Iran.

The other reason why Beijing may turn on Tehran is because of the old adage that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Lewis makes the point that China has its own radical Islamists, the restless Ughuirs. “Beijing doesn’t want a bloody Chechnyan rebellion, or its own intifada, like the one foolish France is now experiencing. It especially doesn’t want an Islamofascist Pakistan on its borders, armed with nukes and ICBMs and run by expansionist martyrs.”

I’ve been following the story of nuclear proliferation in South East Asian and Middle East since early 2005 and generally it’s not pretty. There’s a whole lot of diplomacy, broken promises and subterfuge to cover malicious intent. The most frustrating part covering this mess has been having to watch the European Union hold mad tea parties with disingenuous thugs under the umbrella of “negotiations.” It’s an exercise in masturbation at best and serious threat to world stability at worst.

However, now that I’m learning to love the fallout from the NOKO Bomb, I’ve realized that the world may have taken a sharp turn to the right. Not only does China slowly seem to be seeing the light, but those dusty old codgers from the EU may also have finally grown a set of grapefruits and opted to make an executive decision on Iran.

Reuters reports that, “The European Union, spurred by North Korea’s nuclear test, was set to back limited United Nations sanctions against Iran on Tuesday after Tehran spurned conditions for opening negotiations on its nuclear program.

The EU’s 25 foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, were to discuss incremental measures targeted first at individuals and materials involved in Iranian uranium enrichment activities, which the West suspects is aimed at making a bomb.

After four months of talks with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Iran this month rejected a U.N. demand that it suspend enrichment.

“For that reason, we will not be able to avoid the Security Council now taking up consultations with the aim of a resolution on the first step in sanctions,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters.

Ministers arriving at the meeting made clear that alarm at North Korea’s nuclear test and its implications for other countries were a key factor in the way they approached Iran, although their economic interests with Tehran are far greater.

“The most important thing is to have a united response as we showed with North Korea. We must show Iran that the international community is completely determined to remain united,” European External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said.”

As Rush Limbaugh would say, hubba hubba.

I have learned to stop kvetching and am loving the NOKO Bomb. It may have become the high water mark for steering the rest of the world in the general direction of the United States, which I should remind all of you, said we should have been dealing with these issues back in 2002. I’m just saying is all.

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