|UND professor speaks of North Korea's nuclear goal|
The North Koreans may not be threatening to launch anything at anyone right now. However, Albert Berger, historian and nuclear weapons strategy scholar, says the latest member of the global “nuclear club” has stirred a hornet’s nest of political and military threats that pose serious challenges to U.S. defense policy. But, Berger, who studies, teaches, and writes about the history of nuclear weapons, says that, although North Korea's latest nuclear weapons development is worrisome, Washington has at least one, more pressing atomic threat: Iran.
“Iran with nuclear weapons seems to scare people more than North Korea with nuclear weapons,” said Berger, who was quoted during North Korea’s failed ballistic missile tests earlier this year and during the destruction by the U.S. Department of Defense of many North Dakota-based nuclear missile silos.
“Both Iran and North Korea are perceived by Americans as irrational,” Berger said. “However, I'd say that Iran seems irrational in an expansionist, destructive-to-its-neighbors mode. And while there’s always the potential for that with North Korea, it’s always been more reserved.”
Berger sees some method in North Korea's apparent madness: “My suspicion, without any real evidence, is that North Korea doesn't want nuclear weapons to use them, they want them to sell, which could be more dangerous than if they wanted them to use.” Moreover, Berger says, the United States must recognize the inherent problem in thinking that the original nuclear club must maintain a monopoly over the technology.
“Why is it," he said, "that we get bothered by someone else having the atomic bomb while at the same time we refuse to admit that others are bothered by the fact that we have the atomic bomb?”
For the entire interview, visit Faculty Q&A at www.und.edu