So what is the difference between nuclear North Korea and nuclear Iran?

We're making a huge amount of noise at the U.N. designed to keep Iran from getting the nuclear bomb. Yet at the same time there was relative public silence about the NoKos and their nutjob "Dear Leader" when we have been fairly certain he already had nukes.

If the test of a NoKo nuke is confirmed, we will be absolutely certain, in actuality a fairly small jump.

Nonetheless, it's worth asking: Why the heavy breathing about Iran and a deep sigh of resignation about the NoKos?

It's the old Cold War concept: deterrence.

North Korea now has deterrence. It's what Iran wants and it is precisely what we are hoping we can prevent Iran from obtaining.

Nobody is going to invade North Korea now because nobody — not George Bush, not the leaders of Japan or China — is willing to give up 30 to 50,000 soldiers all at once to one NoKo bomb brought close to the fighting on a donkey cart.

I say 50,000. It could be more.

Deterrence is part of the reason both the NoKos and the Iranians want the bomb.

The NoKos also want oil and food, and having the bomb gives them something to bargain with, or something to threaten with.

The Iranians have oil and food. So what else do they want?

We're afraid they want to threaten their neighbors and, even worse, maybe threaten us by flirting with the idea of giving Hezbollah-style terrorists the bomb, or dirty bomb ingredients. Not to mention the Iranians' threat to wipe Israel off the map.

The fact is the NoKos have the bomb. The horse is out of the barn. Nothing to do now but try imposing sanctions and offering big piles of goodies — like oil and food — to keep the dear leader happy and his finger away from the button.

The Iranians are still in the development stage for a bomb. We're trying to keep them from becoming NoKos.

By the way, Jimmy Carter led negotiations with the NoKos that were supposed to keep them from getting the bomb. That didn't work, did it?

With the Iranians it will probably be better to send someone to negotiate who has a credible history of using force to back up talks. That would not be Jimmy Carter or anyone like him.

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