Another Tick towards Doomsday

Terry Schwadron
3 min readJun 24, 2024

Terry H. Schwadron

June 24, 2024

There’s no special training or sensitivity needed to recognize that an announced defensive pact between Russia and North Korea is a bad, dangerous development for this country and for the world.

Spurred by a source for lots more missiles and weaponry to throw against Ukraine, Russia’s President Vladimir V. Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un signed a world-aligning agreement that calls for them to assist each other in the event of “aggression” against either country. It formalizes links that we would rather not imagine, since we are wary of developments involving Russia and North Korea independently.

News of this alliance arrives amid an array of dangerous developments around the world that deepen divisions and threaten wider military clashes.

Weapons experts report a major expansion underway in Iran’s most heavily protected nuclear facility that could triple the site’s production of enriched uranium, giving Iran new options for quickly assembling a nuclear arsenal. Inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed to The Washington Post new preparations inside two underground plants that will make a nuclear-equipped Iran more of a reality.

China is pushing for influence across mineral-rich areas of Africa, as well as heightening threatening clashes in the South China Sea and around Taiwan.

In Europe, leaders are under pressure from right-wing rebellions among voters that threaten stability and continued participation in the various alliances that underscore military balance.

And in the Middle East, the breakup of a wartime coalition for the Israeli government makes all-out war with Hezbollah militias in Lebanon more of a daily reality, and heightens the chances of deepening conflict between Israeli leaders and allies, including the United States, over a future for the region.

Dangers for the World

The trouble with each of the conflicts under way is that they show no restraint on remaining localized.

If Russia is successful in invading Ukraine, there is no reason to believe that aggression will end there; that is the basis on which the U.S. and NATO allies believe they need to underwrite fighting by Ukrainians now. In the Middle East, the conflict with Gaza and over West Bank settlements is spreading to with the well-funded Iranian Hezbollah forces in Lebanon — and inevitably with Iran itself.

The clashes with Hezbollah involving continuing missile strikes that have driven 100,000 Israelis from homes in Northern Israel are particularly dangerous and just as insistent on the elimination of Israel. Unlike Gaza, Lebanon is that a separate state that is supposed to be part of the solution, yet the prospects for a full regional war aligned with, but separate from Palestinian interests, are heightened.

It is interesting that worldwide sympathy for Gazans and Palestinians has not distinguished the virulent anti-Semitism behind the Hezbollah effort as separate from complaints involving “occupation” by Israeli forces. It is a clear anti-Israel strategy from militias operating in a recognized, independent nation.

Having confirmation that Iran has the capacity to turn its stockpile of lightly enriched uranium into an estimated 300 weapons within weeks just as its Hezbollah allies conduct what looks to be an extended, wearing attack on Israel.

Dangers for America

Any of the global conflicts spell trouble for a United States that is cramping on its own political divisions about its perceived role in the world as a leader for democracy. The harsh divide reflected in our politics is a values argument over isolation from the world’s conflicts against leadership in keeping international coalitions intact.

As always, the military clashes line up with economic rivalries as well,

Certainly taken together, the global alignments have the power to enmesh the United States in expensive support over extended time and the possibility of drawing American troops into war.

What a time for Donald Trump and Joe Biden to be debating the continuance of NATO and other alliances. It is a time for careful analysis, diplomacy, and understanding of exactly how world forces are aligning rather than for sloganeering and shorthand strategies.

The Russia-North Korea alliance spells nothing but deepening trouble for our own foreign policies.