October 09, 2006
Axis Of Evil Goes Nuclear
North Korea, a charter member of the Axis of Evil, went nuclear last night when it detonated a nuclear bomb in an undergound test.
Judging from world reaction, diplomats are shocked that over ten years worth of diplomatic appeasement, wish-wash warnings and wrist-slapping sanctions didn't deter Kim Jong Il from developing a nuclear arsenal. And just this morning, President Bush provided a fine example of the hollow diplomatic blather which serves only to encourage Kim and his ilk:
Last night the government of North Korea proclaimed to the world that it had conducted a nuclear test. We're working to confirm North Korea's claim. Nonetheless, such a claim itself constitutes a threat to international peace and security. The United States condemns this provocative act. Once again North Korea has defied the will of the international community, and the international community will respond.
This was confirmed this morning in conversations I had with leaders of China, and South Korea, Russia, and Japan. We reaffirmed our commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, and all of us agreed that the proclaimed actions taken by North Korea are unacceptable and deserve an immediate response by the United Nations Security Council.
The North Korean regime remains one of the world's leading proliferator of missile technology, including transfers to Iran and Syria. The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States, and we would hold North Korea fully accountable of the consequences of such action.
The United States remains committed to diplomacy, and we will continue to protect ourselves and our interests. I reaffirmed to our allies in the region, including South Korea and Japan, that the United States will meet the full range of our deterrent and security commitments.
Threats will not lead to a brighter future for the North Korean people, nor weaken the resolve of the United States and our allies to achieve the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Today's claim by North Korea serves only to raise tensions, while depriving the North Korean people of the increased prosperity and better relations with the world offered by the implementation of the joint statement of the six-party talks. The oppressed and impoverished people of North Korea deserve that brighter future.
Let's look at a few of the president's statements:
Once again North Korea has defied the will of the international community, and the international community will respond. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we've heard this before. Sounds just like our diplomatic condemenations of North Korea's long range missile test last July. The key phrase here is "Once again..." That's an inadvertent admission by the president that past diplomatic threats against North Korea are ineffective. And yet, he goes on to make another diplomatic threat: "the international community will respond." It's a safe bet that the international response will be nothing more than a UN resolution concluding that North Korea did a bad thing.
We reaffirmed our commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula ... Um, too late, Mr. President. The time to commit to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula was before Kim pushed the button on his nuke last night. (Besides, a policy goal isn't achieved solely by announcing your commitment to it.) And if the United States is committed to a nuke-free Korean Peninsula, why, after Kim refused to abandoned his nuclear weapons program, did you continue to honor an awful agreement Clinton made in 1994 to build two light-water nuclear power plants for North Korea which ultimately yielded weapons-grade plutonium?
The United States remains committed to diplomacy ... Translation: Nothing will be done to stop Kim from developing more nukes. Why? Because diplomats never act preemptively; their job is to react after the fact, once the damage is done. A case in point is North Korea's nuclear bomb test last night.
The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States ... In this, the president is absolutely correct. North Korea's economy generates no hard currency for the regime, so it must acquire wealth by selling arms aboard. There's no doubt that Iran, Syria and the terrorists those countries employ will be first in line to buy Kim's nukes, and that they will use those arms against the United States and our allies.
A decade of diplomacy has failed to stop Kim Jong Il from acquiring nuclear weapons; so what makes President Bush believe that diplomacy will stop him from developing more nukes and selling them to our enemies?
If there's a U.S. foreign policy matter which cries out for military preemption as a solution, it's this one. An American premptive military action (a naval blockade or airstrikes) will help prevent North Korea from becoming a terrorist's convenience store for nuclear weapons. Many lives could be lost in such a military undertaking, but millions more will die of incineration and radiation if diplomacy remains America's preferred weapon against North Korea.
My greatest fear is that if the president continues to use only diplomacy in dealing with North Korea, then we'll sometime soon wake to the news that a major American or European city is in ashes. And we'll hear the president announce that "Once again North Korea has defied the will of the international community ..."
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