When Obama, doing his Friendship Tour schtick in Prague on Sunday, told his audience of moonstruck Bohemians about his vision of "a world free of nuclear weapons ", Mr and Mrs Idle, watching the news, expelled small quantities of whisky (he) and sauvignon (she) at the screen."What about the bleeding Pakistanis?" blurted idle.
"And those lunatic North Koreans?" said Mrs Idle, with contumely.
What we meant, of course, was that we disapproved of those two sovereign nations having nukes. Almost as much as we disapprove of the the Iranians having them, or the French. We thought it unlikely that they wished to give them up. The reverse seemed to be true.
In principle, we are encouraged to disapprove of nukes in their entirety, but there's no getting away from the fact that, if Iwo Jima was anything to go by, The Bomb in fact saved many more Japanese lives than it took, so keen were the yellow peril on fighting to the last man. Furthermore, mutually assured destruction resulted in the best possible end to the Cold War, with hundreds of millions of soviet citizens achieving freedom due to exhausted communist policies, rather than yet another global dust-up. Pax Americana - pax of any kind - was delivered because of the sanction at its disposal.
I wonder if Obama has given this much thought. Sure, he needed to apply a bit of flannel to all those Europeans who resent having the Americans' nuclear shield technology sitting in their farmland, but it strikes me as an odd response to Kim Junior's firing of a test rocket into the sea, even if it did only just clear the Kosong Beach Club. Others will say that he remained admirably calm, that he did not escalate the situation in the way that Dubya woulda, etc. But I couldn't help but think that, if there is one way of demonstrating that you can't get the nuclear weapon toothpaste back into the tube, it is certifiable fruitcakes like Kim, Leader of the Norks, having the opportunity to thumb his nose at the NATO summit in the way that he did. The timing was surely no coincidence.
Pakistani 'democracy' (that strange arrangement where power is shared, on a revolving basis, between Army Generals and surviving Bhutto clan members) is surely on the Oblivion Express, with a one-way ticket; the tribal areas, a euphemism for stone-age sharia governance, grow larger by the day, whilst Zardari's area of influence scarcely extends beyond the swimming pool and tennis court in the Presidential compound in Islamabad. I expect complete breakdown within a couple of years, which will lead to disengagement from Afghanistan. The result will be a vast area, running from the outskirts of Basra to the Punjab, in which individual freedoms cease to exist. Or at least what we feeble, decadent Westerners understand to be freedoms. You know, like women being able to drive cars, or feel the breeze on their limbs on a warm spring afternoon.
Let's humour Obama for a moment. America will not disarm until ALL the other nuclear states disarm (and we'll have to take it on trust that there isn't a hollowed-out hill in the Hindu Kush, concealing a Bond villain and his shiny rocket with its warheads attached). And what will this take? Gifting American liberal democracy to these states? Evidently they would prefer not, if you don't mind. Loads of money? Well, we are trying that trick, and it isn't working. Plan C - anyone know what that is? Thought not.
The nukes are here to stay; disarmament was only ever possible when it was just NATO v Russkies. Who can blame the the horrible Pakistanis and Iranians for wanting the bomb, when they so clearly despise us? And why would they ever use it as a bargaining chip - what could the West, or anyone, give them which would be worth them giving up their bomb?
The reason that Obama was cool about the Norks was that, being non-Islamic and a satellite of the Chinese, they are of no account. The problem, as we know, is the poisonous version of Islam practiced by Iran and Pakistan and Sudan and x and y and z. They mean to outnumber us, and in due course they will. It's a waiting game for them.