Is the world a less safe place following North Korea’s nuclear test?

In yesterday’s blog, Ian detected the chill wind of the Cold War blowing once more. President Bush is now warning of "repercussions" in the wake of North Korea’s nuclear detonation. We asked for your thoughts, and here are some of the comments received so far.

I read your article and it brought back the same memories of my youth. However the world is a different place now; China, South Korea and similar countries are now enjoying a standard of life that was beyond their dreams all those years ago. Dictators are not so numerous now as democracy and wealth filters its way through their systems. The world does not want to go back to the bad old days and this is why I think the problem of North Korea will contained until a peaceful solution is found. I do not feel less safe now than 48 hours ago. There is too much at stake in the world to let the situation get out of hand.
– Bob
If Bush finds himself flapping around trying to negotiate his way out of a potential nuclear strike, he’ll only have himself to blame. He labelled North Korea one of his "axis of evil" countries, then ignored it completely while going hunting for non-existent weapons in Iraq. I don’t see how he can not give in to the hawks in his administration and permit an invasion of North Korea, just like the one that’s about to be unleased upon Iran.
– Danny
There’s no way a nuclear war can break out in today’s world; the businessmen wouldn’t allow it. Instead, nuclear warheads will end up in the hands of terrorists, who’ll go on carrying out small-scale acts of violence around the planet for a good many years to come until they ultimately realise it will never change anything and give up.
– Kate
I’m more scared for my children and my grandchildren. I’ve seen all this before, and have learned that world leaders all have a voice inside their heads forever telling them to stay away from the brink of firing a nuclear weapon. My worry is that world leaders won’t be the ones wielding nuclear weapons in the future; it will be terrorists.
– Terry
I have to admit that my attitude towards politics is, in the main, apaethetic – something that I am frequently criticised for by the older generation (I’m 29) and not unnecessarily so considering I’m female and we fairer sex were only granted the ‘privilege’ a ridiculously short amount of time ago (in the big scheme of things). 
However, my apathy isn’t due to a real lack of interest or concern about the future of our country or the decisions that are being made; it’s a comforting state I slip into when, as a result of reading the papers and listening to the news I find I am completely outraged and dismayed by our so-called leadership – home grown and on foreign soil. The peace marches that took place before Bush deployed his troops into Iraq were like nothing I’d ever seen in my lifetime and frankly, it game me a sense of worldwide unity and hope that ‘people power’ could actually stand a chance, that we are able to influence the decisions made for us. How mistaken I was. 
From the smallest level of local government to the biggest global players like Bush it seems that ‘politics’ is just a grown-up word representing a vast, terrifying game of toy soldiers. Rather than actually improving the lives of the billions of people that vote, or are at least directly influenced by their leaders’ decisions, our leaders are constantly engaged in tit-for-tat games of who’s got bigger bombs than whom, who can defeat whom. It’s like a grand scale of playground antics and what seems to me a dangerous combination of power, pride and most significantly, egotism.
I’m not some tree-hugging idealist looking for a Utopia – far from it. We have just left a century riddled by wars, will this one be the same? While our ‘leaders’ sit in their own home-made bunkers it will be our sons and daughters that perish at the hands of their decisions. I personally don’t want to bring a child into this kind of world. 
– Liz
Maybe, just maybe, if the UK and America led by example and decided that no-one should have WMD’s instead of it being OK for us to have them and no-one else, other countries might listen. It’s as if, because we have nukes and they don’t, then we can stick our noses into their affairs and they can’t do anything about it.
– Peter
This week has sent shivers up and down my spine, not so much at the behaviour of North Korea but more the posturing and sabre-rattling that has been emanating from the rest of the world. Their words of war are as outdated as the weaponry North Korea is only just getting its hands on, and which it will never use, because the country is too repressed and fanatical to play international politics. If the rest of the planet understood this, we’d all find a peaceful way out of this crisis.
– David
It won’t be nuclear weapons that kill us, it’ll be global warming. That or Bush accidentally pressing the red button thinking it was his intercom.
– Alex
We have little to fear directly from North Korea’s testing of a nuclear weapon. However, N Korea is teetering on the edge of economic collapse and will in all probability wish to sell its nuclear secrets to some of the world’s nastiest regimes and terrorist organisations either directly or indirectly. This will give a short term boost to NK coffers and raise the unpleasantly prospect of NK being able to bargain with or bully the rest of the world.
– Andrew
Remember the last Korean war; North Korea was prepared to sacrifice thousands and thousands of its own population simply in order to prove a point and see how much of its southern neighbour it could occupy, despite knowing it could never win or hold onto the country without foriegn support. It hasn’t got that support anymore. It is a pariah state with no friends apart from Iran. North Korea can never win, and for that reason alone I am no more afraid of it this week than any other week. George Bush’s America, however – now that is something to be afraid of.
– Steve
If we ask North Korea to stop, let us and America set an example.
– Ronald
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36 Responses to Is the world a less safe place following North Korea’s nuclear test?

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