South Korea has yet to officially lay blame, but the probable culprit for the unprovoked attack — the most serious act of aggression against it in years — is, of course, its hostile neighbor North Korea. But if South Korean President Myung-bak Lee forgoes any military response, it's largely out of concern that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il could lob nukes south across the infamous Demilitarized Zone.
So South Korea just may let North Korea act with near impunity — all because of the risk of Pyongyang exercising the nuclear option. (Seoul will likely reduce ties, trade and aid to Pyongyang, at a minimum.)
This migraine-inducing dilemma for South Korea (and its American ally) in dealing with a nuclear-armed North Korea throws into sharp relief the challenges the world will face when Iran — a bigger country with much greater resources and ambitions than North Korea — gets the bomb in the next few years.
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