It is probable now that the West will let North Korea and Iran manufacture and possess nuclear weapons. The danger isn't that they will use them - it's that these weapons will be quietly distributed to Hezbollah and al Qaeda. Here's the always eloquent Thomas Sowell:
Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.
This is not just another in the long history of military threats. The Soviet Union, despite its massive nuclear arsenal, could be deterred by our own nuclear arsenal. But suicide bombers cannot be deterred.
Fanatics filled with hate cannot be either deterred or bought off, whether Hezbollah, Hamas or the government of Iran.
The endlessly futile efforts to bring peace to the Middle East with concessions fundamentally misconceive what forces are at work.
Hate and humiliation are key forces that cannot be bought off by "trading land for peace," by a "Palestinian homeland" or by other such concessions that might have worked in other times and places.
Humiliation and hate go together. Why humiliation? Because a once-proud, dynamic culture in the forefront of world civilizations, and still carrying a message of their own superiority to "infidels" today, is painfully visible to the whole world as a poverty-stricken and backward region, lagging far behind in virtually every field of human endeavor.
What kind of people provide a market for videotaped beheadings of innocent hostages? What kind of people would throw an old man in a wheelchair off a cruise liner into the sea, simply because he was Jewish? What kind of people would fly planes into buildings to vent their hate at the cost of their own lives?
Even ruthless conquerors of the past, from Genghis Khan to Adolf Hitler, wanted some tangible gains for themselves or their nations -- land, wealth, dominion. What Middle East fanatics want is the destruction and humiliation of the west.
Their treatment of hostages, some of whom have been humanitarians serving the people of the Middle East, shows that what the terrorists want is to inflict the maximum pain and psychic anguish on their victims before killing them.
After we, or our children and grandchildren, find ourselves living at the mercy of people with no mercy, what will future generations think of us, that we let this happen because we wanted to placate "world opinion" by not acting "unilaterally"?
Sadly there is no appetite to take on either North Korea or Iran. I bet there is also no appetite to declare to the Iran and North Korea a standing promise that any nuclear attack on the United States will result in massive retaliation on BOTH countries - which might make them much more responsible for their bombs.
Will the Europeans be unhappy? I'd bet not - they are probably thinking:
"The Islamists will only hit Israel and the United States - what's the harm in that?"