Does war beget more war? This sounds like a question that one might find on the end of year exam in a sociology class about war and society. Of course, the answer to this can never truly be known. Does war actually cause more war to occur? Probably not. However, if a war is occurring, and that war is directed by one of the world’s superpowers, the stage will be set for other countries to engage actions that would be considered precursors to war. It brings to mind the idea of when the cat is away, the mice will play.

Let us take the war in Iraq for example. It was started by the United States, a world superpower. We deemed ourselves protectors of the free world and pledged that we would rid the world of the evil regime that is led by Saddam Hussein. Now that most of our attention is focused on this, other countries have started engaging in actions that could possibly lead to war. North Korea, India, Pakistan and Turkey are good examples of this.

Troubles with North Korea began in late 2002, when Pyongyang declared it would restart a nuclear reactor capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium and kicked out U. N. nuclear monitors. One month later, North Korea withdrew from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and in February, 2003, restarted its reactor that is capable of creating plutonium within a year. As of March, 29, 2003, North Korea would not concede to international pressures for nuclear inspectors, stating in Rodong Sinmun, the ruling party’s daily commentary, that “The DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) would have already met the same miserable fate as Iraq’s had it compromised its revolutionary principle and accepted the demand… for ‘nuclear inspection’ and disarmament.”

North Korea has already been put into a group with Iran and Iraq that President Bush is calling the “axis of evil,” which is accused of acquiring weapons of mass destruction. North Korea has also stated that it must stop honoring its commitments to the 1953 Korean War armistice due to persistent war moves around the Korean Peninsula by the United States. Some of the Bush Administration has begun to voice quietly that these actions could lead to a military showdown on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea’s actions toward Japan could also lead to the destruction of the Pyongyang Declaration, and possibly war. In February, North Korea fired two short range non-ballistic missiles during a test. In response, Japan stated that they had not crossed the line, but if they ever aimed missiles at Japan, the nation would have no choice but to terminate the agreement in the Pyongyang Declaration.

In late March, India and Pakistan conducted tit-for-tat test fires of short range nuclear capable ballistic missiles. It is unclear which country launched first, however, both are saying that the launches were just routine tests. However, the tests did occur after a new round of violent attacks in Kashmir, which has been the focus of two wars and countless skirmishes between the two countries. India accused Pakistan of starting the most recent attacks in Kashmir.

Finally, Turkey sent 1000 troops across the Iraqi border into Kurdish territory in the early morning of Saturday, March 22. Many are concerned that the movement will spark fighting between the Turkish and the Kurdish troops. This movement of troops occurred just moments after Turkey granted the U. S. use of two air corridors for use during the war with Iraq. Turkey states that the troops have been put into place to provide humanitarian assistance and create a buffer-zone to prevent refugees from coming into Turkey.

Now with each of the above actions taking place during the time of war with Iraq, one cannot help but to believe that they are connected. Had a war not been occurring, those countries would have been under the more watchful eye of the U. N. and the U. S. and probably would not have acted as they did.