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View more articles by Dennis P. Halpin
Dennis P. Halpin
Dennis P. Halpin, a former Foreign Service Officer and senior Congressional staff, is a consultant on Asian issues.
Like the unwelcomed skunk at the garden party, Kim Jong Un just blasted his way into the post-Paris American national security debate by carrying out a fourth nuclear test. Whether or not the test proves to be hydrogen, as Kim claims, or only hydrogen-lite, as most experts contend based upon analysis of the preliminary seismic results, Kim Jong Un has made his point. Kim is no shrinking violet to be ignored despite such pressing issues as ISIS, Syria, Afghanistan and the South China Sea. And as Pyongyang inches ever closer from being only an A-bomb to an H-bomb power, the State Department official stance that “we will not accept (North Korea) as a nuclear state” appears to be increasingly feeble and wishful thinking.
Kim, unlike the Iranian leaders whom the average American cannot name, is well-known, partly due to the killing of his uncle two years ago and partly due to the notorious Sony film The Interview, which led to the infamous hacking incident. The Young General, whom South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper noted “sported new plastic-framed glasses and his signature shaved-sides haircut” during his recent New Year’s address to the nation, is a caricature of the typical James Bond international villain. (The fact that his much-oppressed fellow countrymen reportedly had to memorize word-for-word the text of his almost thirty-minute New Year’s speech, which again threatened war, only adds to the allure of his dark side.)