LONDON -- The U.S. government's double standard in dealing with the intensifying nuclear crisis in North Korea further strengthens the argument that President George W. Bush's colonial designs are either exasperated by the vulnerability of his foes or deterred by their lethal preparedness.

Considering the U.S.-North Korea protracted standoff, one can only imagine how foolish deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein must now feel that he didn't pursue a more determined program of weapons of mass destruction. Even if one would accept Iran's claims that its nuclear program is constructed for peaceful purposes, one has to wonder if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is willing to reconsider the overriding intent of his nuclear ambitions.

Indeed, the United States' feeble, yet precarious handling of the Korean Peninsula crisis, instigated by North Korea's underground nuclear test Oct. 9 in Hamgyong province is a further attestation to a very important deduction: The U.S. war on Iraq was never intended to dismantle Iraq's alleged stockpiles of illicit weapons, but to control the world's most strategically and economically viable region. Despite incessant assurances by the former Iraqi government that it possessed no such weapons, allegations confirmed repeatedly by international monitors and verified on more than one occasion by the United Nations itself, war seemed the only rational response in the anxious minds of Washington's warmongers.