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Trying to Understand the North Korean Nookular Crisis

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This whole North Korean thing puzzles me. I'm watching the news, reading the blogs, and trying to follow along with what's been going on, but some things just don't make sense. So, let me try to reset things with a bulleted timeline:
  • During the 8 years of peace & prosperity of the Clinton Administration, there were direct talks & negotiations with North Korea. Although prominent Republicans such as John McCain tried to blame Clinton, this Slate article clearly debunks those typical Republican-blame-Clinton-for-everything lies.
  • December, 2000 - George W. Bush is appointed to the US presidency by the conservative-leaning Supreme Court.
  • January to September, 2001 - President George W. Bush does everything he can to negate any progress Clinton had made on terrorism and international ally-building. He completely ignores mounting evidence of an impending terrorist attack, and goes on vacation for the entire month of August.
  • September 11, 2001 - The United States is attacked. President George W. Bush continues to read "My Pet Goat" with a class of schoolchildren for 7 minutes after being informed of the 2nd plane flying into the World Trade Center. Then, he cuts-and-runs for some shelter until the coast is clear.
  • Fall & Winter of 2001/2 - President George W. Bush wakes up from his deep sleep of ignoring national security and starts espousing patriotic & retaliatory rhetoric. In the process he offends North Korea by lumping them with Iran & Iraq as the "Axis of Evil".
  • (Timeline unclear) - President George W. Bush refuses to hold direct talks with North Korea. Instead, he decides to put all his marbles in the 6-nation strategy, trying to get Russia, China, Japan, & South Korea to do the hard work. He also decides not to honor the agreed framework that was negotiated between the US and North Korea. I thought this snippet from the Slate article was particularly interesting:
    "...when President George W. Bush entered the White House in January 2001, he made it clear, right off, that the Agreed Framework was dead and that he had no interest in further talks with the North Korean regime; his view was that you don't negotiate with evil, you defeat it or wait for it to crumble...."
  • (Continued) - Kim Jong Il is offended. He kicks the noocular inspectors out of his country, and proceeds with his noocular defense program.
  • (Continued) - George W. Bush is offended. He starts imposing sanctions against North Korea. For some reason Bush thinks that pissing off countries is the way to get them to kowtow to his will. Call it Bush's usual cowboy diplomacy.
  • March, 2003 - President George W. Bush launches a pre-emptive attack on Iraq, supposedly because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction (some noocular). Later, after WMD's were not found, he changed his rationale to, amongst many things, that of spreading Democracy.
  • (Continued) - Kim Jong Il, the dictator of a communist nation in the process of nurturing a noocular weapons program, plows right ahead with that program for fear of Bush invading HIS country too.

Does that pretty-much tell the story in a nutshell? Gee... it sounds to me like George W. Bush is the one who screwed this whole thing up. It sounds to me like it's George W. Bush's heavy-handed, imperialistic, arrogant foreign policy that has escalated this arms race. It seems to me like George W. Bush's complete disdain for foreign leaders and cultures has brought us to where we are now - in a world that is utterly less safe and more volatile - then when he took over the presidency of the United States. Yet he and his cohorts never pass up an opportunity to blame Clinton, when time and time again it's just not Clinton's fault.

And what about the latest test?

All I've heard in the media is the whole world's harsh reaction to North Korea's test of their noocular program. So, I'll play "the devil's advocate" for a minute. Let's approach this from a purely logical perspective. Like a Vulcan (call me Spock), purely logical with NO emotion:
  • The test was underground and no one was harmed as far as we know
  • Seven or eight other countries in the world possess noocular weapons, including US. Is it not hypocritical of us to say to North Korea they can't have them? Didn't we just give a green light and a whole lot of technology to India?
  • Seems to me that the bigger issue is that of trust. We don't really trust Kim Jong Il with noocular weapons. However, when it comes to trust, it's George W. Bush whom I trust the least. After all, he's never been honest, he's completely screwed up everything he's ever touched, and he's made every attempt to undermine the United States Constitution and every international treaty.
  • Does not North Korea's prospective possession of noocular weapons act successfully as a deterrent to US attacking them? Clearly, George wouldn't attack North Korea and risk an all out noocular war. Or would he? I suppose that would bring the Rapture that much closer - yet another reason not to trust George W. Bush.

I'm not saying that I'm comfortable with rogue nations possessing 'the bomb'. What I am saying however, is that I'm a big believer in a balance of power. Following the end of 'the Cold War' there was a huge IMbalance of power in this world, and certain power-hungry a**holes in the conservative movement (the Project for the New American Century) saw that void as an opportunity to seize world-wide dominance (i.e. American Imperialism).

And that brings us to where we are today - arguably a world wide mess. I believe that if Iraq truly possessed noocular weapons in 2003, and if George W. Bush truly believed that, then he would not have risked the pre-emptive attack and a potential noocular war. That would've been many times more catastrophic then what we have now. And with North Korea sitting on the 4th largest military in the world and the potential of noocular armament, perhaps George will think twice before 'liberating' that country too. Then again, there's no oil there, so that was never really a consideration. Too bad Kim Jong Il doesn't realize that.

The next step - Sanctions

What our dear leaders fail to understand is that sanctions against rogue nations do not succeed in manipulating that nation. What it succeeds in accomplishing is denigrating that nation and making their citizens even more impoverished then they were before the sanctions. Bush's ignore-and-slap approach, as it has for the last 6 years, will only raise tensions and escalate the arms race. It will not solve this crisis.
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Scott Shuster is a progressive columnist, publishing since May of 2005. His liberal ideology is a refreshing diversion from 'politics as usual' in Washington.
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