world go boom

north korea has tested a nuclear weapon. although no one really seems to be able to confirm whether the underground test happened or not. various geological surveys around the world recorded a seismic event, but they couldn't confirm if it was a nuclear explosion. the russians, however, have said that their monitoring services had detected a nuclear explosion. the test apparently took place 10:36 a.m. local time (9:36 p.m. et sunday) near the city of kilju, according to south korean defense sources cited by south korea's yonhap news agency.

now what does this mean for the region? well, it means immediate condemnation by the rest of the world, even by china, north korea's closest ally, and calls for harsh sanctions, thereby further isolating an already cut-off country. a country which, apparently, has enough plutonium for as little as four and as many as a dozen nuclear bombs.

if what north korea has done is real, this will mean an escalation of tension and arms in the region. technically, south korea is still at war with the north, and japan has always been wary of the north. what you may see is another arms race, with south korea and japan trying to build up their conventional arms, not to mention china getting all concerned now that their nuclear superiority in the region will be compromised. and when china gets agitated, taiwan gets even more so, considering the amount of tensions they've had over the last few decades. and implicated in all of this, is the united states, who not only is tied to protect taiwan from china, but is the one who had isolated the north korean government in the first place. this is how wars start.

if you'll recall, while the international community was trying to negotiate with north korea, the united states government, more specifically the bush administration, called north korea one of its axis of evil in bush's january 29 2002 state of the union address. the other two parts of the axis according to bush were iraq and iran. you may recall the 2002-2005 period when the bush administration shunned all things international, opting for a more lone cowboy-style diplomacy which has now apparently backfired on them.

case in point, you have iraq. we're beyond quagmire there. it is a scandal now. you have iran, with president
mahmoud ahmadinejad choosing to go nuclear, and now you have north korea, which now has nuclear weapons. that's three for three for the bush administration. yeah, sure, the north korean president is sort of nuts and demanding, but isolating him and the country, and not talking to them in those early years was a huge mistake.

the bush administration has increased the threat of islamic fundamentalism and jihad around the world through its phony iraq war, and now, with its hard-lined policies, has allowed north korea to get to the point where they are nuclear, and iran will be so soon. would this all have happened eventually? would north korea eventually have gone nuclear? maybe. maybe not. but the bush administrations' one note foreign policy has now destabilized the world even further. each of the axis of evil is growing out of control, like a bad tumor. the problems seem to also feed each other: the conflict between iran and the u.s. feeds north korea, north korea's brinkmanship feeds iran, because if they can get away with it, why can't iran? And iraq, with the u.s. policy of pre-emptive strikes, feeds everything.

is this all completely bush's fault? no, of ourse not, because some of this was brewing long before bush was president. but he and his administration have more than their fair share to blame. some people still like to point out how stupid bush is. well, president bush is not stupid. as jon stewart once noted in reference to bush: "i don't believe this president is stupid. stupid is like, 'oh my god, i just ate soap.'" no, george bush is not stupid, because that would be easy. george bush is the ultimate divider; he's ill informed, he's driven by personal vendettas and greed, and he is proving to be reckless, with those in his administration totally incompetent when it comes to dealing with the cultural and political sensitivity of other countries. all of this is much more worse than just a stupid man.

with these upcoming congressional elections in the united states, and the 2008 presidential elections in the near future, the american people are going to have to take a good, hard look at what kind of leaders they want running their country at home and around the world.

in the second debate with president carter, ronald reagan posed this question to the american people in his closing statement: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" well, since the republicans have been constantly ramping up the fear card, i think this question should be repeatedly posed in the upcoming elections with a modification: are you safer now than you were four years ago?