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The Mess is increasing

April 30, 2014

If you want to know how a world with a nuclear Iran would look like, look no further than North Korea.
Satellite imagery suggests that North Korea is preparing a new nuclear test.
Meanwhile the North Koreans not only staged a live-artillery exercise near South Korea but they also issued new nuclear threats.
I quote from a GSN article:

Meanwhile, a powerful North Korean military body on Monday threatened to do “more than nuclear tests” in response to recent international warnings on the matter.

“The world is making all the guesses and conjectures that our new nuclear test and the rocket launch will develop into a boosted fission weapon or a new generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the North Korean National Defense Commission said in a statement quoted by the Choson Ilbo newspaper.

“If you ask us to tell the truth, we will not deny that we are capable of doing more than these speculations,” the defense commission said.

The United States and South Korea are keeping a close eye via satellites on the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, where personnel appear to be in the thick of preparations for an expected fourth underground atomic trial. U.S. President Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Friday warned that Pyongyang could expect more sanctions and an end to any hope of reviving a moribund aid-for-denuclearization process if it proceeds with the test.

In related news, the South Korean government on Monday authorized a plan to boost domestic missile defenses by upgrading existing interceptors and purchasing more-capable systems from the United States, the Korea Times reported.

Under the approved plan, the South would acquire as many as 100 Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missiles between 2016 and 2020 and would seek to buy upgrades for its 48 PAC-2 systems through a competitive bid process, the Korea Herald reported.

Obviously the North Koreans are not impressed by the response of the US and South Korea.
Although US security assurances for South Korea are more substantial than those given to Ukraine the behaviour of the Obavez administration has not particulary increased the trust in such assurances.
Neither the Japanese nor the Saudis are convinced.
Now, imagine Iran having nukes and threatening the Saudis not with nukes but with conventional conflict.
Would the US risk a nuclear war with Iran for the sake of the Saudis?
I highly doubt it.
Which brings us to Iran’s strategic goals. These goals can be summed up in two words: regional dominance. Nukes would help a great deal in achieving these goals. In essence these would allow the Iranians to control roughly 50% of the world’s oil production giving them a stranglehold on the world’s economy and an immense potential for blackmail.
The Iranian goals are beautifully described by former Israeli ambassador Yoram Ettinger in this video though I differ on the threat posed to Israel.
He also states, I think correctly, that the only way to prevent Iran is by military means.
At least the current negotiations cannot result in an acceptable outcome without a credible military threat.

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