President Barack Obama delivered a stern, tersely-worded warning to both North Korea and Iran on Monday, saying, "By now it should be clear, your provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not achieved the security you seek, they have undermined it. Instead of the dignity you desire, you are more isolated." As those two nations are still refusing to back down from actions the world sees as menacing, Obama addressed North Korea and Iran from the South Korean capital only about 30 miles away. As he spoke, his South Korean hosts warned they might shoot down parts of a North Korean rocket if they fell over South Korean territory.
Concerns about both countries long-range missile capabilities and tests overshadowed an international nuclear security summit, which has more than 50 nations in attendance. The White House said Obama has urged Chinese President Hu Jintao to use his country's influence over North Korea to push the isolated country to meet its international obligations. Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said Hu indicated that China was taking North Korea's planned rocket launch seriously and letting its concerns be known to the North's leaders. The United States maintains that the launch, which will happen next month in Pyongyang, would amount to a test of North Korea's long-range rocketry.
In his remarks Monday, Obama declared flatly that the U.S. have more nuclear weapons than it needs and can cut its arsenal without weakening its security or that of its allies. Is this a reality that will become realized? Or, with America the front country in most of these new wars, will other countries tune President Obama out?