Washington's timid response to all this is being watched well beyond the Beltway. Intelligence sources tell me that Pyongyang already has informed Beijing that there will be further nuclear and ICBM tests in the months to come, and the nice communists running the People's Republic of China have assured their North Korean comrades that they will veto any new U.N. economic sanctions.
All of this has to please the despotic regime in Tehran. According to my old friends in the intelligence business, Iranian scientists and technicians have been present for all of the North Korean ICBM and nuclear tests. Iran is North Korea's only known customer for this technology, and there is no doubt that North Korean scientists have a proven ability to build nuclear bombs and the means of delivering them in spite of U.N. sanctions.
"What's the answer?" I asked my friend.
"Regime change in both places," he replied. And then he added ominously: "We don't have much time. If the North Koreans aren't stopped and the Iranians get 'the bomb,' there will be an explosion of others rushing to build their own bombs. Japan and South Korea are already looking at what they need. The Saudis and Turkey won't be far behind. And because they all have money and access to skilled technicians, it won't take them very long to build their own nuclear counter-deterrents."
Meanwhile, in Washington, the Obama administration is looking for ways to make sequester cuts in U.S. defense permanent. We already have reduced carrier battle group deployments and begun cutting 80,000 troops from the U.S. Army and 20,000 out of the Marines. F-35 production workers are being furloughed, and our ballistic missile defenses for the American homeland are nonexistent.
All this is enough to make a person wonder about the Obama administration's commitment to a so-called Pacific strategy and the oft-stated goal of a nuclear weapons-free world. Perhaps that's why our new secretary of state headed east to make his first overseas visit a European junket. The restaurants are better.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.