Whatever one's opinion of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, let's agree about one thing- he understands the lessons of the Iraq war extremely well.
Saddam Hussein allowed weapons inspectors into his country and pleaded with Uncle Sam that he didn't have WMD. As a result his country now lies in ruins. Kim Jong-il has played a different game: refusing access to any weapons inspectors and going full steam ahead on his WMD programme.
The result- plenty of international condemnation- but as yet no bombs on Pyongyang. Nor, after this morning's news- of a successful nuclear test- are there likely to be.
Kim Jong-il has clearly been following the very sound advice of the paleo-conservative U.S. politician Pat Buchanan: "If you want the respect of Uncle Sam, get the bomb."
A prominent neo-conservative writer, not known for concurring with the views expressed on this blog writes:
"A military strike on North Korea is out of the question, precisely because this is a nuclear-armed state with - presumably - contingency plans to retaliate against South Korea and possibly Japan."
I rest my case.