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To achieve its objectives — getting Washington’s undivided attention, diplomatic recognition and aid — all North Korea really has to do is hide a few nukes and leave Americans to wonder what they’ve got, and whether they are offering it to customers like Al Qaeda or Hamas. Call it the virtual nuclear deterrent.

To Mr. Bush’s mind, this is why it makes sense to take on Iraq first — before it gets what North Korea already has. Yet if confronting Iraq is the first step in Mr. Bush’s war on rogue states with nuclear ambitions, North Korea is the first in his war against nuclear blackmail. And those are very different campaigns.

Sanger, David E. “The World; Next Question: How to Stop Nuclear Blackmail.”  The New York Times, March 9, 2003.

In the above quoted piece from 2003, journalist David E. Sanger will go on to note, ” . . . the United States right now has an opportunity to reorder the world so that it will never again face these kinds of threats.”

That was then.

This is now:

Russia wants the United States to cancel all sanctions and pay compensation for the damage they have caused if Moscow is to resume an agreement on the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium, according to a draft law submitted by President Vladimir Putin on Monday, Reuters report.

UA Today.  “Plutonium blackmail: Putin demands US pay compensation for his own countersanctions.”  October 3, 2016.

My oh my . . . .

Next: Volker is Kurt Volker, a former ambassador to NATO —

Volker said the suspension of uranium cleanup is meant to sound like a threat against the United States, and meant to get Washington to react.

“The best answer from Washington would be: ‘if you are not going to destroy it, I certainly hope you can control it. Because there are plenty of people in your neighbourhood who would like to use it against you, and plenty of corrupt officials who would be all too happy to sell it to them. We are happy to help you get rid of it — but that is a mutual interest, not a favour you are doing for us. If you don’t want our help, we wish you good luck,” Volker said.

Geropoulos, Kostis.  “Washington, Moscow swap shots, Putin gets first licks.”  New Europe, October 4, 2016.

This from North Korea in defense of its recent nuclear tests has got to come straight from the Department for the Support of the Paranoid Delusional Narcissistic Reflection of Motivation:

Even China, which is North Korea’s main ally, slammed the nuclear tests.

But in response the ruling party’s newspaper Rodong Sinmun said: “Gone are the days never to return when the US could make a unilateral nuclear blackmail against the DPRK.

Sky News.  “North Korea Won’t Submit to ‘Nuclear Blackmail'”.  September 10, 2016.

Thinking ahead:

The PRC is narrowing the conventional military disparity with the US and it seems most likely sooner or later, maybe around 2025, the US is going to have to bring nukes into the equation to make sure it can win a war with China.

That’s what we had to do with the Soviet Union—that’s why we’ve still got those nukes at Incirlik in Turkey—and I don’t see any reason why this wouldn’t happen in Asia.

Lee, Peter.  “Nuclear Blackmail and America’s Fantasy War with China.”  Counterpunch, August 19, 2016.

Additional Reference

Lee, Peter.  “RAND’s ‘Unthinkable’ war with China.”  Asia Times News & Features, August 12, 2016.

Iranian officials have claimed that they are preparing to fully restart their nuclear program should the deal fall apart due to inadequate sanctions relief. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Ali Akbar Salehi announced in July that Iran was preparing to reverse its concession if the West violated the nuclear deal. A spokesman later clarified that Iran could reinstall all of its disabled centrifuges in just 45 days. “Tehran feels it can get even more merely by hinting it might walk away,” Ben Taleblu and Toumaj wrote.

The Tower.  “Experts: Iran Maneuvering to Extract More Economic Concessions from West.”  September 30, 2016.