The 4.2 magnitude blast on Oct. 9 came in blatant defiance of world opinion and broke North Korea's promise (made several years ago) not to develop nuclear technology.
The result is a scary new world that has sent diplomats into scramble mode. It took several days for the United Nations Security Council to impose more sanctions that included a ban on "luxury goods," as if limiting sales of Louis Vuitton handbags in Pyongyang will change North Korea's present course!
The great fear is that other nations, Iran being first in line, will develop the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. Reports speculate that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey may also push ahead with plans to develop a nuclear bomb. One former U.S. Defense Department official says, "The North Korean test blew a hole in the nonproliferation regime of Northeast Asia. I think this is bad news for the country, bad news for the region, bad news for the world" (Time, Oct. 23, 2006, p. 32).
Of immediate concern is whether North Korea's bomb would provoke South Korea and Japan to go nuclear. For decades both nations have enjoyed safety, peace and economic security under the protective umbrella of American military force.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice traveled to Japan and South Korea, reaffirming the strategic relationship and promise of American protection. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said that Japan "is absolutely not considering a need to be armed by nuclear weapons."
This stance may change if the growing nationalistic feelings within Japan continue to rise. Newly installed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe heads a new breed of leaders not shackled by feelings of war guilt.
In fact, the day Mr. Aso made this statement, Prime Minister Abe testified to a parliamentary committee that Japan should begin debating going nuclear: "The reality is that it is only Japan that has not discussed possessing nuclear weapons, and all other countries have been discussing it." Other high-ranking Japanese officials have called for an open debate on the issue.
Will America promote a nuclear Japan? World reaction will be interesting to watch. For the most part, Japan has adhered to the nonmilitarized portions of its postwar constitution. But it is a dynamic economy, a model Asian democracy and one of America's closest and most dependable allies. This last fact will be key to world reaction should Japan announce its intention to develop a nuclear bomb.
What is the role of China, the rising economic giant, in this Asian mix? China's long-term ambitions are well served by North Korea playing the bad boy role. China has been content for North Korea to be part of President Bush's "axis of evil." This creates a convenient buffer between China and the American client states of South Korea and Japan. Both countries have American troops stationed within their borders and represent a significant obstacle to China's ambition to dominate Asia.
China does not fear a nuclear North Korea; its nukes are pointed east, not west. But a nuclear Japan would alter the equation. China seems to have a longer memory of Japan's war atrocities than Western nations do, and the prospect of Japan holding nuclear weapons strikes a chilling chord of fear within the Chinese soul. If Japan threatened to join the nuclear club if China didn't pull the plug on its support for North Korean nukes, China might well pull the plug. This may be the only way to reverse North Korea's current path.
China's desire to remove American influence from Asia is a long-held strategic goal. It moves relentlessly forward through many methods to dominate Asia, remove American influence and restore its ancient belief that it is the primary power at the center of the earth.
China has deliberately allowed North Korea to develop the bomb despite requests from America to prevent it from happening. China supplies North Korea with many of the components for its missile program and weapons of mass destruction (Constantine C. Menges, China: The Gathering Threat, 2005, p. 386).
Russia's renewed power
The key to the immediate crisis is the U.S. nuclear umbrella and the perception of American power to hold together the present world order. If American influence and power retreats, the resultant vacuum would encourage further nuclear proliferation and threaten international security. Many nations already see American military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq as a window of opportunity to flex their muscles and political will. This is what North Korea has done in recent weeks.
Russia is doing the same in blockading air, rail, sea and postal services to the Republic of Georgia (a U.S. ally) over a series of espionage allegations. While seemingly insignificant, it illustrates Russian boldness in the face of American preoccupation in Iraq. Russia feels it can move at will to secure its own interests, even when they conflict with those of the United States. The net effect is a weakening of American power.
Add to this the prospect of President George Bush becoming hamstrung by Democrats, should they win control of one or both houses of Congress. They could block the president's foreign policy goals through their budgetary control. Seeing this, other nations would have a green light to push their agendas in critical regions of the world.
Are we seeing a decline in American power? What is the solution? Is it more "guns" or more "butter?" Will changing the political leadership alter the fortunes of the nation? Sadly, the answer is no. The problems are spiritual in nature, requiring a radical departure from the nation's current moral course. Regardless of the outcome of the November elections, this trend of shifting world power will continue. The result will be a far different world from the one you and I have come to know.
North Korea's nuclear bomb blast means the world situation is heating up and we are living in momentous times. Other nations see gray hairs upon the American empire and are relentlessly moving to change the course of modern history.
Bible prophecy shows a coming time of trial for America, Great Britain and other English-speaking nations who have received great material blessings. The national sin of ingratitude has led our peoples to forget that the God of Abraham has provided us the physical blessings we have. America has a veneer of spirituality, but God's Word tells us that is not enough to merit continued protection and blessing.
For too long America has held the view that its exceptional position in the world is the result of its democratic form of capitalism alone. For too long America has worn its brand of spirituality like a protective blanket of security, yet it leads the world in exporting immorality via various media forms. For too long America has forgotten that God is the source of its national blessings. He will soon call it to account for its sins.
The words of Jeremiah, God's prophet to Judah in its final days, apply to the scene before us today. "'Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,' says the Lord GOD of hosts" (Jeremiah 2:19).
Like Judah, America trusts in a hollow spiritual veneer that ignores God's law, which is the basis of true spirituality. Failing to embrace it will surely bring on God's judgment. Jeremiah stood in front of the Jerusalem temple, the symbol of Judah's religious life, and warned the people not to trust in tradition of the past for their immediate physical safety.
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying, "The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these." For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.
"'Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, "We are delivered to do all these abominations"? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,' says the LORD" (Jeremiah 7:3-11).
God foretold the collapse of their world order unless they repented and changed. "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place—on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it will burn and not be quenched'" (Jeremiah 7:20).
America, Great Britain and other Western nations are walking the same path as ancient Israel and Judah did. We are watching the beginning phases of a sea change on the world scene. It may not happen next month or next year, but it is taking place according to ancient prophecies revealed in your Bible.
Our free booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy will explain this subject in greater depth. Read it to understand what lies ahead and to gain greater insight into these momentous events of today's world. WNP