Friday, April 5, 2013

North Korea tensions: Is Obama to blame?

It's been a busy week for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Over just a few days, he has unilaterally nullified the 1953 armistice with South Korea; vowed to restart his uranium enriching and plutonium programs; and issued "final approval" for "merciless" nuclear strikes against the United States.

He taunted South Korea's new leader, and shut down the Kaesong industrial estate, which served as unusual example of cooperation between the two Koreas. Most recently, he transported a missile to the east coast — either in an attempt to lob a warhead in America's general direction (he lacks the capability to actually hit the continent), or more probably, to test it, perhaps on the April 15 birthday of deceased founding father Kim Il Sung. "Is there a more bizarre and frightening figure in the world today than North Korea's young, impetuous and untested leader?" writes GlobalPost senior foreign affairs columnist Nicholas Burns.

For its part, the Obama administration helped amp up the belligerance, flying nuclear-capable B-52s and F-22 stealth bombers over the peninsula in late March, and sailing destroyers to the region in an apparent attempt to remind Kim Jong Un that he's messing with a bad-ass super power.