Exclusive: Dictators Hold All The Cards in a Deadly Game

A while back I suggested once America’s enemies started to doubt US resolve they would start actively challenging the United States. This is called the Jimmy Carter problem.
It looks like some of our adversaries got the memo. Last week saw more than a few challenges to American leadership.
An official government statement of how North Korea plans to respond to upcoming U.S.-South Korea Naval Exercise declared
“the more desperately the U.S. imperialists brandish their nukes and the more zealously their lackeys follow them, the more rapidly the [North's] nuclear deterrence will be bolstered up along the orbit of self-defense and the more remote the prospect for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula will be become.”
The U.S. looks weak and needs to take a tougher stand on North Korea, argues Heritage expert Bruce Klingner, “It is imperative that the U.S. and its allies take all appropriate steps to prepare for potential new and expanded North Korean military provocations and attacks. James Clapper, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and nominee for Director of National Intelligence, warned recently of the start of a ‘dangerous new period’ in which the North seeks to mount ‘direct attacks’ on the South. He testified that the threat from North Korean military forces ‘cannot be taken lightly.”
That includes North Korea’s expanding missile threat. The failure of international diplomacy and U.N. resolutions to halt North Korea’s ongoing pursuit of a missile-deliverable nuclear weapons shows the need for a viable missile defense system for the U.S. and its allies. North Korea currently has 600 SCUD missiles that can target South Korea, 300 No Dong missiles that can reach all of Japan, and the Musudan intermediate-range missile that threatens U.S. bases in Okinawa and Guam. Pyongyang also continues to develop the Taepo Dong inter-continental ballistic missile that the U.S. intelligence community estimated in 2001 could threaten all of the continental United States with a nuclear warhead within 10 years.
Meanwhile, Iran is kicking up dust as well. The IRNA news agency quoted Amhadinejad, “The latest anti-Iran sanctions of the UN Security Council (UNSC) will have no effect on Iran's nuclear programme.” Heritage expert Jim Phillips reports,  “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a vague threat against U.N. members that try to enforce the June 9 U.N. Security Council resolution that authorized inspections on Iranian ships and aircraft suspected of carrying prohibited materials for Iran’s nuclear or ballistic missile programs: ‘You should know whoever takes a decision against the Iranian nation, such as the so-called inspection of the Iranian ships or so-and-so toward its aircraft, will immediately receive Iran’s reaction,’ he warned in a speech broadcast live on radio.
Chavez has alsobeen busy. Venezuela’s authoritarian populist president Hugo Chavez is threatening to cut off oil sales to the U.S.  The latest dispute follows Colombia’s presentation of evidence regarding the presence of an estimated 1,500 FARC fighters on Venezuelan soil with the complicit support of Chávez and his government. Heritage regional expert Ray Walser, reports Chávez declared,
“If there was any armed aggression against Venezuela from Colombian territory or from anywhere else, promoted by the Yankee empire, we would suspend oil shipments to the U.S. even if we have to eat stones here!” Although the Obama Administration employed some of its toughest language to date in taking on Chavez, his tone suggests it may be a little too little too late.
The fact that these three countries are barking back so bad is bad news for the United States. For the week the administration gets a “B” for “better to get tougher with the bad guys”.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., is a leading expert in defense affairs, intelligence, military operations and strategy, and homeland security at the Heritage Foundation.

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