Ambling towards Disaster; Bush’s North Korea
By Mike Whitney
Clearing House" -- -- “We have reaffirmed our commitment
to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. …The actions taken by North
Korea are unacceptable and deserve an immediate response by the
UN Security Council.” President George Bush; following the
detonation of North Korea’s first nuclear weapon
It took 6 years of relentless threats, sanctions and
belligerence, but Bush finally succeeded in pushing Kim Jong-Il
to build North Korea’s first nuclear bomb. Now, Kim can just add
a few finishing touches to his ballistic-missile delivery
system, the Taepo-dong ICBM, and he’ll be able to wipe out the 9
western states with a flip of the switch.
In a matter of hours, the world has become a much more dangerous
place, a fact that will have no effect of the blinkered
ideologues at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. They’ve probably already
moved on to the next phase of their plan to expand the Middle
East catastrophe; Armageddon in Iran.
The crisis with North Korea was entirely avoidable for anyone
with even minimal diplomatic skills and an elementary
understanding of human psychology. Instead, the Bush troupe
persisted for 6 years with the same inflexible policy nudging
Kim ever-closer to producing his first nuclear weapon. Now, half
the population of the United States is in the gun-sights of a
madcap tyrant whose basic grasp of reality has always been
seriously in doubt.
At the same time, the White House has resumed issuing statements
via its sardonic press secretary, Tony Snow, that Bush “is
closely monitoring the situation and reaffirms his commitment to
defend our allies in the region.”
“Monitoring the situation”? Bush has done everything in
his power to facilitate the North Korean despot’s quest for WMD
except hand-deliver atom-bombs to the front porch of his
Bush has put everyone in the region at greater risk and, without
a doubt, triggered a nuclear-arms race in Japan, China and South
Korea. It is the death-knell for non-proliferation and the
The Bush administration has known what Kim wants for 6 years and
has had ample opportunity to find a peaceful resolution to the
standoff. North Korea’s demands go back to the original 1994
“Framework Agreement” in which Bill Clinton promised to provide
food, fuel and 2 light-water reactors in exchange for North
Korea’s abandoning its nuclear weapons programs. The North
agreed to these terms, but the United States has never honored
When Bush took office, the agreement was jettisoned altogether
and Bush pushed for sanctions. He placed North Korea on the
“Axis of Evil” list, threatened regime change, and publicly
announced that he “loathed” Kim Jung Il. All of this fueled the
confrontation and thrust the wary Kim towards developing a
viable nuclear deterrent to US aggression. Kim had no intention
of being the next victim of Bush’s preemptive policy.
Bush’s dim-witted bravado and saber-rattling has only made
negotiations more difficult and aggravated an already tense
situation. Even when it was announced that Kim would be testing
a nuclear device sometime during this past weekend, the
headstrong Bush still refused to enter “11th hour” negotiations.
Instead, his Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill
issued yet another ominous-sounding threat that “North Korea can
either have a future or they can have those weapons. They can’t
Kim, of course, brushed off the warning and detonated the bomb.
American Intelligence agencies now believe that North Korea has
enough fissile material for between 2 to 8 nuclear warheads and
they are speeding ahead with the development of the requisite
What will Bush do now?
Will he bomb the North and potentially open another front on the
Korean Peninsula for our already over-extended military? Or will
he simply continue with the fiery rhetoric and the
His track-record is far from reassuring.
The Bush team will probably follow their familiar pattern of
ignoring the dilemma while creating a public relations
smokescreen to conceal their incompetence.
Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice will undoubtedly make their
appearances on the morning talk shows claiming that “we are all
much safer” under the enlightened leadership of George Bush.
Perhaps, they could synchronize their silly assertions to
coincide with the explosion of Korea’s next nuclear weapon.
How could Bush let the situation get so out-of-hand? After all,
the central tenet of the war on terror is: “We will not let the
world’s most dangerous weapons fall into the hands of the
world’s worst dictators”? Instead, they have elevated an
unstable megalomaniac into a nuclear-armed menace. It could turn
out to be the greatest foreign policy meltdown in American
Bush needs to forgo the Texas bravado and make substantive
changes to the present policy before North Korea becomes the
world’s largest WMD-production factory.
First, he should agree to two-party talks with representatives
from the North, which is what North Korea has demanded from the
Second, he should review all sanctions directed against North
Korea and publicly state that he will reassess whether they are
Third, (and most important) Bush should offer firm assurances in
the form of a treaty that North Korea WILL NOT BE ATTACKED BY
THE UNITED STATES IF IT ABANDONS ITS NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAMS.
This has been the North’s primary demand from the very onset of
the crisis. (although it has been omitted from newspaper
coverage to conceal the fact that the rest of the world is
actually terrified of the America’s erratic behavior)
Forth, the administration should reconsider providing the oil,
food, and light-water reactors which were part of the original
“Framework Agreement” as long as North Korea agrees to undergo
intensive “go anywhere, see anything” inspections conducted by
the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA.
A larger tragedy can still be averted if cooler heads prevail.
The time for bluster is past. The present policy is a dead-loss
which has put everyone in greater peril.
The North is currently working out the kinks in its Taepo-dong
ICBM. If we are serious that “We don’t want the smoking gun to
be a mushroom cloud,” (as Condi Rice opined) the administration
must take positive steps to defuse the present crisis; its time
to change directions, amend the policy, and negotiate a peaceful
settlement. The alternatives are too horrific to even consider.
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