North Korea recently showed off a vast new uranium enrichment facility to an American scientist, rekindling fears that the country is making a push to expand its nuclear arsenal. The plant was built with stunning speed — it wasn't there when international inspectors were kicked out in 2009 — suggesting that some other country is secretly helping North Korea evade sanctions designed to contain its nuclear program. The news came amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula — on Tuesday a North Korean artillery attack on South Korean soil killed at least two people. Will North Korea's defiance spell doom for President Obama's push for global nuclear disarmament? (Watch a CNN report about the attack)
It is time for a new strategy: It is clear that efforts to deprive North Korea of nuclear technology are "failing miserably," says Julian Borger at Britain's Guardian. The country has proved yet again that it is "extremely adept at the game of nuclear bluff," which it used in 1994, 2002, and 2006 to win economic concessions. If Obama wants to keep his disarmament agenda alive, he has to abandon the "policy of imposing sanctions and refusing to resume talks" until North Korea backs down, and try something new.
"North Korea's uranium plant sends a chilling message to Washington"
Stop waiting around for China: Sanctions could work with China on board, says Bill Powell at Time. It is "by far North Korea's largest trading partner" — but Beijing has made it clear through its inaction that it isn't "overly concerned with North Korea being a nuclear power." Without China's help, the U.S. will never have enough "diplomatic sticks" to bring Pyongyang in line, so Washington should focus on finding and stopping whoever is selling such sophisticated nuclear technology to North Korea.
"North Korea's new nuclear capacity: A failure of U.S. policy?"
Accept it and move on: "North Korea is a nuclear power," and "the U.S. should get used to it," says Doug Bandow at The Korea Times. Pyongyang was probably never sincere about nuclear talks, and now that it has joined the nuclear club it won't "voluntarily surrender that status." So instead of attempting to restart negotiations, the U.S. "should turn its attention elsewhere," and let North Korea's neighbors figure out what they have to do to foster a "peaceful and stable North Korea."
"Dealing with a nuclear North Korea"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- What is driving the increasingly weird behavior of the polar jet stream?
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- Christians have no moral rationale for spanking their children
- Should you hope to die at 75? Absolutely not.
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 18 Rosh Hashanah recipes for a sweet new year
- Why America should team up with Bashar al-Assad's regime
Subscribe to the Week