The underground nuclear test announced by North Korea appears to come as something of a surprise to the Obama administration. Yet the Obama administration has acted with nothing but complacency about the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran. In a May 20 Wall Street Journal column, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton predicted:
The curtain is about to rise again on the long-running nuclear tragicomedy, “North Korea Outwits the United States.” Despite Kim Jong Il’s explicit threats of another nuclear test, U.S. Special Envoy Stephen Bosworth said last week that the Obama administration is “relatively relaxed” and that “there is not a sense of crisis.” They’re certainly smiling in Pyongyang.
Ambassador Bolton found that Bosworth and his colleagues were providing the North Koreans with nothing but encouragement:
Despite Pyongyang’s aggression, Mr. Bosworth has reiterated that the U.S. is “committed to dialogue” and is “obviously interested in returning to a negotiating table as soon as we can.” This is precisely what the North wants: America in a conciliatory mode, eager to bargain, just as Mr. Bush was after the 2006 test.
I think it’s safe to say they’re smiling in Tehran (or should I say “the Islamic Republic of Iran”?) too.