Last week, North Korea "celebrated" US Independence Day by firing an intercontinental missile in the direction of the United States. The test was mostly marked by its failure, and the missile fell haplessly into the sea.
Other tests of medium-range missiles have succeeded. Dictator Kim Jung Il approved these rocket launches despite pleas from US President Bush not to do so, and after the international community warned him not to do so.
He thumbed his nose at the "cultured world, and added insult to injury by apparently declaring nuclear war against the United States and its ally, Japan.
And how has the cultured world responded? In South Korea, the rich, capitalist neighbor, the elected leadership has chosen to bury its head in the sand. Most people in the free, prosperous south couldn't care less about what goes on in the poor, neglected north. Nothing could be further from the minds of young people out for a good time in Seoul than fighting a war with communist Pyongyang.
North Korean nukes? Long-range missiles? Doesn't bother them. Just don't disturb their cell phone video games.
According to polls, a significant percentage of South Koreans are proud of the military accomplishments of their northern cousins. It's unbelievable, but their hostility to the United States (whose military protects their country) far surpasses that towards the communist dictatorship to the north. South Korean universities are routinely host to anti-Bush demonstrations, rather than anti-Kim Jung Il protests.
Chinese, Russian compliance
But Seoul's conciliatory line with regard to North Koreas missile program appears aggressive when compared to that of China and Russia. In theory and practice, these two giants support North Korea's madness. They even block sanctions in the UN Security Council.
They say they want a "diplomatic solution" – just like they want a "diplomatic solution" to the kidnapping of Cpl. Gilad Shalit and a "diplomatic solution" to Iran's march towards nuclear arms. In should be noted that Russia's search for solutions in Chechniya are a bit less than diplomatic.
Bush too weak to help
What can we expect from the Bush administration? The president is so bogged down in Iraq, and his approval ratings are so low that he lacks the strength and the ability for military action anywhere else in the world.
Bush is tired, as are those around him. In reaction to the missile test, the American administration is now offering Pyongyang direct talks. This is total capitulation.
North Korea is one of the poorest, most neglected countries in the world. It is ruled by a fanatic Stalinist regime who starves his people and invests what little resources he's got to building nuclear might. The dictator inherited his position from his father; without question, ship is passed from father to son, a man who was absolutely insane.
Pyongyang has no strategic standing, no natural resources and it can threaten to hurt the west or its neighbors with an economic boycott. But the West continues to walk on eggshells so as not to upset North Korea.
What about Iran?
Now, we move from the Far East to the quite-a-lot-closer east. Iran's leaders watch the world's weak hand and lack of answers vis-à-vis North Korea and ask themselves: If the world is so weak towards North Korea, they will necessarily be even weaker in the face of our nuclear plans.
They logically conclude that they can allow themselves to continue their nuclear drive: They've got oil, they've in a crucial geo-political location, and they have influence over the entire Muslim world. If "they" wont' do anything about North Korea, "they" wouldn't dare to seriously challenge Iran.
And they're right. The United States' self-appointed role as the world's democracy police is coming to an end. Around the world, strong leaders who were willing to risk expelling evil are disappearing. The time for pistol-bearers is rapidly approaching.
West must take action
The democratic world must respond to North Korea's missile test with a targeted assassination of the despot in Pyongyang. Such a move would free Asia from the threat of nuclear conflict and the wretched, starving people of North Korea from a particularly brutal dictatorship.
This has not happened. And with no appropriate response, this test is just inviting the next one: Iran's nuclear test.