Monday, July 27, 2009


A defiant North Korea (army parade above) yesterday launched 2 more two short range missiles off its east coast yesterday, according to news reports, hours after the UN Security Council condemned the apparently successful test of a nuclear weapon as powerful as the one that destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945. The 15-member UN Security Council began behind-the-scenes negotiations designed to strengthen sanctions against Pyongyang, after an emergency meeting. Diplomats scrambled to forge a united front against a test seen as a provocative and dangerous step towards North Korea gaining a full nuclear capability. Tensions on the Korean peninsula rose further as Pyongyang accused the US of “hostile intent” and the South Korean news agency YONHAP said the North had fired 2 missiles. Disgraceful developments – but secretly I bet all our Western politicians are delighted – nothing like an imaginary foreign crisis to deflect attention from economic disaster and political corruption at home, is there ?


But there’s lots of ways of handling rogue states with nukes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flies to the US for talks with President Obama (pictured above, looking suitably Messianic as usual) next week, having already been warned not to “surprise” Washington with an Israeli military operation against Iran. On the eve of talks which are seen as crucial to defining the future of the Middle East peace process, the US President was reported to have dispatched an unnamed envoy to warn the Israeli leader of US concern in case Israel should act unilaterally against Iran. I hope that doesn’t signify a certain naivety over foreign affairs on the part of President Obama – after all, nobody will be surprised if, or rather when, Israel takes out Iran’s nuclear capability.


It’s hard to believe, but it’s exactly 40 (FORTY !) years since John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their “Bed-ins for Peace” (above) in Amsterdam and Montreal. Doesn’t time fly as you hurtle through middle-age ? Even more ironic is the harrowing thought that despite all the hype and publicity at the time, which I remember well, violence and war don’t appear to have reduced one bit, even to the extent that Lennon himself fell victim to it. As work compiling this current affairs blog constantly reminds me, idealism seems to get you nowhere except penniless and eventually even arrested - and it seems that if you stick out your neck too far, idealism gets you dead.