Due to its implications and dangers, it would be difficult for anyone not to be concerned with the recent nuclear threats by the North Korean government and the tensions that have arisen between North Korea and America as a result. As one of the states once described by George Bush as the “axis of evil”, North Korea has for some time now insured its place as one of the biggest enemies to a super-power that has, in the past, enacted unilateral military action against its adversaries. But no matter how much one vilifies the actions of North Korea, looking at the situation from a third party view, America, itself, still doesn’t come out as the paragon of virtue in the whole kafuffle.
A well-known legal maxim which bars relief for anyone guilty of improper conduct in a matter urges one who comes to equity to come with clean hands. It operates to prevent any affirmative recovery for a party with unclean-hands, no matter how unfairly the party's adversary appears. Granted, North Korea has come across as the main aggressor in this particular round of hostilities, but the truth is, as a nation that used its military might to illegally invade a sovereign nation within the last several years, it is hardly the time for America to try and pass itself off as the arbitrageur of righteousness. And even though the prospect of Kim Jong Un’s threats of missile testing and development of more nuclear technology comes with ominous implications, the perceived double standards of America, a nuclear power itself, telling another sovereignty to give up its nuclear technology leaves a lot to be desired.
America's turgid jingoism, enormous exhibitions of patriotic vehemence and arrogance within the last decade very much exceeds the notion of moral equivalency and their call for North Korea to abide by International standards would be almost as hypocritical as Adolph Hitler calling for world peace. If the U.S ever represented the pursuance of freedom and protection of rights, then why did they ever keep secret prisons and torture cells, why do they, to this day, hold detainees without due process in Guantanamo Bay and why did they invade another sovereign country without a cogent, authentic reason other than on the impulse of a diplomatically spastic and a verbally dyslexic pea-brained former president? Had it been another country who had behaved in the manner America has in the last couple of years, America would have been the first and loudest to cry bloody murder. There is no doubt that America has somewhat redeemed itself in the eyes of the other 99% of the world since the exit of George. W. Bush from power and the election of an objective, fair minded Barack Obama, but the annoyance of America’s hypocrisy when it comes to their directive and bully tactics to other nations to give up nuclear weapons still soils its international image.
As the main nation to have used atomic weapons against an enemy during a war, America knows all too well the ease in which a nuclear power can destroy its enemy. But even though the world has been able to come to terms with the Hiroshima disaster, America must be aware that their most recent misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan has set a sorry example and arguably become the very engine to propel the development of nuclear weapons. During his tenure, when President Bush disregarded the UN and went to war in Iraq, he effectively opened the door to other war loving, international law hating leaders. But for the hostility and threats of isolation displayed by the American government against its enemies, it is likely that governments such as that of North Korea may not have been so steadfast in acquiring nuclear might. Any country believing that it would be exposed to American aggression similar to the groundless one conducted in Iraq in the last Gulf war might probably be ready to withstand international condemnation in order to develop nuclear weapons, if only to protect themselves from America. With the situation as it is now, it is quite unlikely that anyone on the receiving end of American wrath will unilaterally disarm and abandon its nuclear weapons technology. Especially given the example set where, even though Col. Muammar Qaddafi gave up Libya's nuclear weapons development project, it didn’t stop him from being ousted from power and killed like a dog, with American help.
As a punishment for North Korean insolence, the United Nations are calling for sanctions. But as history shows, sanctions do not necessarily work on authoritarian regimes willing to allow massive human suffering. The consequence of sanctions affects the most vulnerable and helpless; it is highly unlikely that the threat of sanctions will deter the North Koreans from its nuclear path or achieve regime change.
In an ideal world, the United States should have the capability to prevent the kind of conflict we are witnessing between North Korea and the western world. America controls the whole planet through trade, aid, military capacity and with its vast influence; it should also have the ability to guide the world to peace. But the super power has a reputation for pursuing its interest in a manner that disregards anyone it perceives to be an international threat to U.S. geopolitical and economic interest. Had it chosen to approach the issue of nuclear possession from an even platform where the terms of possession is equal for all countries, then their argument would have been more convincing. But as it is now, what incentive does North Korea have in joining talks to give up its nuclear weapons when their perceived enemies possess nuclear weapons? What is good for the goose should be good for the gander and until the entire world became weapons-free, no country has the moral right to point an accusing finger at another, especially if they possess nuclear weapons themselves.
It’s all well and good for the international community to denounce North Korea’s recent nuclear ambitions, but as long as there is a general support for the kind of American weapons development and testing we have witnessed within the last 100 years, then this is double-standards. Let’s not forget this isn’t year zero; many nations, including America, Britain, France, India and Pakistan amongst others have had huge piles of nerve gas and other chemical weapons for years. Until the whole world calls for the destruction of all nuclear weapons in every country and speaks up against the type of injustice we have witnessed America unleash on other countries, then none of these nations have a right to tell North Korea what it should and should not do. This effort to limit nuclear weapons technology to the current nuclear powers can only influence the kind of confrontation we are witnessing. If America or any of the western nations are interested in fostering peace and forming an understanding with countries like North Korea, one of their main prerogatives should be to de-arm the nuclear weapons they themselves have then try to develop some kind of dialogue.
The possession of nuclear arms by any country threatens everyone on the planet and the only defence against them is a realistic worldwide non-nuclear strategy that would involve a progressive disarming of all nuclear powers. The world needs cooperation, discourse and arbitration in order to destroy all nuclear weapons. But as long as select nations are allowed to keep their stockpiles of nuclear weapons, then this recent hue and cry against North Korea is akin to stopping the gander from acquiring what it sees the goose has. And although Kim Jong Un may be suffering from a twisted form of youthful exuberance, he will unlikely be willing to abandon his nuclear ambitions just because America and the western community said so.
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