Today's Blogs

Nuclear Fallout

Bloggers ponder the consequences of North Korea’s nuclear test and discuss the most recent anti-Chavez protest.

Nuclear fallout: North Korea announced Sunday night that it had detonated a nuke, making it the eighth country to conduct such a test. President George Bush called for an “immediate response” and is pushing South Korea, China, and Russia to consider sanctions. Bloggers wonder if it’s too late.

Conservative John Derbyshire at the National Review’s the Corner appeals for an updated foreign-policy doctrine to address the rise of fast nuclear proliferation: “The George W. Bush doctrine died in the alleys and groves of Iraq, and nobody else is likely to volunteer for the job of world nuke cop.” Former National Security Adviser Donald Gregg, joining the Washington Post’s PostGlobal blog as a guest analyst, claims the Bush administration has a limited view of diplomacy: “They seem not to see diplomacy as a tool to be used with antagonistic countries or parties, that might bring about an improvement in the behaviour of such entities, and a resolution to the issues that trouble us. Thus we do not talk to Iran, Syria, Hizballah or North Korea. We only talk to our friends – a huge mistake.”

Glenn Reynolds at the conservative InstaPundit suspects that the nuclear test might be a fake out: “North Korea usually does something attention-getting when Iran needs a distraction. So keep an eye on the mullahs, too.”

South Korea announced in a statement that it plans to consult with the international community over how to respond. American expat Robert Koehler at Marmot’s Hole notes that the statement is “quite frank about what South Korean policy vis-a-vis the North (i.e., ‘Bend over and provide the North with the KY Jelly’) has been up till now.”

Some bloggers think the nuke was a dud. Jeffrey at Arms Control Wonk figures that the weapon only had about a kiloton of force, max: “A plutonium device should produce a yield in the range of the 20 kilotons, like the one we dropped on Nagasaki. No one has ever dudded their first test of a simple fission device. North Korean nuclear scientists are now officially the worst ever.”

Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters wonders why Russia’s estimate of the bomb’s blast (5,000 to 15,000 tons) is so much more generous than South Korea’s (550 tons): “If we take them at their word, then we’d have to insist that Russia join in sanctions immediately, which they have so far refused to do. They may want to make the argument that Kim has enough of a nuclear deterrent that we should leave him alone, but that won’t fly either.”

Liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias doubts a collapsed North Korea is what the world—and especially its neighbors—really want: “The issue for US policymakers then becomes whether there’s anything we might be able to offer in terms of assistance that would make Seoul and Beijing more comfortable with ending their efforts to prop up North Korea’s government.” Conservative Austin Bay cites several articles reporting that Sino-Korean border tensions are getting ugly: “The Chinese are worried about a potential influx of North Korean refugees. They are also vexed with counterfeit US currency coming from North Korea and (quote) ’…vast quantities of fake Viagra from North Korea.’ Fake cash and fake drugs — the exports of a failed state seeking nuclear weapons.”

The Carpetbagger Report pre-emptively rebuts accusations that North Korea’s nukes are former President Bill Clinton’s fault: “When Bush took office, Colin Powell endorsed a continuation of the Clinton administration policy, but was quickly overruled (and rebuked) by the White House. Bush ended negotiations, scraped the Agreed Framework, called Kim Jung Il names, and gave up on having any kind of coherent policy whatsoever.”

Read more on North Korea’s nuclear test.

Chavez’s rival: Thousands of Venezuelans staged a rally Sunday in support of Manuel Rosales, a presidential candidate and Social Democrat who has condemned Chavez’s “checkbook diplomacy.” Bloggers admire the effort but don’t think Rosales should quit his day job.

Darrell at Morning Coffee suspects that “Chavez will blame the rally on Bush. The depressing aspect is that, at this point, I don’t know that Hugo will allow himself to be voted out of power.” AcademicElephant at Elephants in Academia doubts Chavez will go down, but doesn’t think he’ll win by a landslide, either: “And should Mr. Rosales achieve the apparently-impossible and actually win, Mr. Chavez might find there’s a job opening in Havana…”

Michael J.W. Stickings at the Reaction points out that Rosales is hardly the anti-Chavez: “His ideology seems to mirror the leftism that has recently risen to power in Latin America – in Bolivia, for example. Whatever the merits of such leftism, Rosales is, as the BBC puts it, the ‘only option’ for anti-Chavez forces in Venezuela. For that alone he deserves some appreciation.”

Aleksander Boyd at the dissenting Venezuelan blog VCrisis provides plenty of photos and hopes “to debunk the bullshit coming from the Chavez regime and set the record straight.”

Read more on the Rosales rally.