Notes: In a surprise move, North Korea recently announced that it would resume it's nuclear program in violation of a 1994 agreement. It removed United Nations' seals on fuel rod storage facilities and disconnected observation cameras. Finally, it kicked U.N. inspectors out of North Korea.

North Korea is known to feel threatened by the United States. Under Bill Clinton, America vetted the idea of a preemptive strike in the event of an active nuclear weapons program. Then, George W. Bush began his own brand of inflammatory rhetoric by branding North Korea as a member of his "Axis of Evil" along with Iran and Iraq.

Moreover, North Korea's economy is in shambles. The country needs food and supplies and went through a horrendous famine during the 1990s leaving some of its population -- of course not the leaders -- eating tree bark.

With the Bush team wanting to focus on Iraq and not wanting to engage North Korea, the timing was perfect for North Korea to play the wild man and put pressure on America. It wants U.S.-lead economic sanctions lifted and is pressuring for that and a guarantee that the U.S. will not attack militarily. Meanwhile, South Korea and China have expressed displeasure at Bush's tough talk towards North Korea. Neither wants North Korea to have nukes, but both seek a diplomatic solution.

In the above cartoon, reclusive North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il basically says that the time is ripe to apply pressure on the U.S. by acting aggressive about North Korea's nukes. If that is the North Korean strategy it makes them more of a "Nexus of Nuisance" than an "Axis of Evil."
01.05.03