But what will be the consequences of the ‘world community’ saying to North Korea, ‘That does it, now you’ve gone too far’?

The United Nations Security Council is preparing a new
resolution condemning North Korea’s recent steps. The aim is to halt
what it considers to be Pyongyang’s threatening and destabilizing
actions.

Oh, and how did that work when they tried it with Iran? For, like, seven or so years?

FOR TWO YEARS, Iran has dodged charges that it is
developing nuclear weapons. Western powers — not just the United States
— have pressured the country to admit inspectors and agree to past
pledges to drop weapons making.

But the results are a runaround of the most dangerous kind. Fed up
with the foot-dragging, a 35-nation United Nations inspection agency
has given the Islamic republic a firm warning: Cooperate or face
further trouble.

Neither happened. That was 2004, this was 2006:

Complete with remote-controlled sensors to measure
pressure and heat, the plans for the 400-meter tunnel appear designed
for an underground atomic test that might one day announce Tehran’s
arrival as a nuclear power, the officials said.

By the estimates of U.S. and allied intelligence analysts, that day
remains as much as a decade away — assuming that Iran applies the full
measure of its scientific and industrial resources to the project and
encounters no major technical hurdles.

That was then, this is now:

Iran has sent six warships into international waters in
a move security experts are calling a “muscle flexing” show of defiance
following missile tests last week…The deployment is “a signal of
military strength, resolve and continued defiance to U.S. and U.N.
Security Council efforts to end the impasse over Iran’s nuclear
program,” said Jim Phillips, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs
at the Heritage Institute.

Some experts have amended their evaluation of Iran’s capability to
produce a nuclear weapon to being perhaps a year away at this point.

So back to current news…

“North Korea’s objectives have changed. It now seems
hell-bent on establishing its nuclear status, having run through a
string of provocations since January that really allowed no time for
the kind of diplomatic response it aimed for in the past,” says Bruce
Klingner, senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage
Foundation in Washington. “They left no chance for the diplomatic
goodies, which suggests their interest in them is not what it used to
be.”

On Wednesday, the regime said it would no longer abide by the five-decade-old truce between the Koreas…

Which leaves the world community what options? This article lists
some, and their arguable merits. This snip alone shows the
hand-wringing:

The Security Council has “no choice” but to
incrementally ratchet up the pressure it put on North Korea in April
after a missile launch, says James Walsh, a specialist in Korean
security studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in
Cambridge.

Yet if North Korea is being driven by internal factors, that could
only make things worse, he adds: “Pressure on countries under
transition tends to unsettle them even more.”

The better response, Mr. Walsh adds, is “patient, persistent, and
quiet” diplomacy. Such diplomacy would reassure countries like Japan
and South Korea about their security, while waiting to see if Pyongyang
will return to the negotiating table “in one, or two, or six months.”

So….which is it? Ratchet up the pressure, or patiently wait and try to talk them into coming to the negotiating table? 

UN resolutions so far have utterly failed. Obama has talked a bit tough on North Korea, but his rhetoric is now being tested unlike it has to date. To keep an eye on Korea, watch China.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....