Jewish World Review July 29, 2005 / 22 Tammuz,
How not to deal with a threat
With bombs exploding in Iraq on an almost daily basis; with
1,780 American soldiers dead; with London braced for more terror attacks;
and with bitter recriminations emanating from liberals in Britain and
America over Downing Street memos, yellow cake from Niger, Gitmo, Valerie
Plame, Abu Ghraib, the Patriot Act, and more, the moment seems inauspicious
to consider other serious threats to our lives and welfare. Few want to
think about such unpleasant matters, but these threats too may require
military action of some sort.
Do you remember North Korea? It's the country Sen. John Kerry
and the Democrats kept asserting was more of a threat than Saddam's Iraq
during the campaign of 2004. Funny, they haven't mentioned it since. They've
reverted to the customary Democratic methods of dealing with threats in
non-election years: appeasement, bribery, denial and blame America not
necessarily in that order.
The Clinton administration certainly attempted the appeasement
and bribery technique. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright traveled to
Pyongyang to flatter the regime. In 1994, we signed the "Agreed
Framework" a deal that required North Korea to cease work on its
graphite-moderated nuclear power plants (which can produce weapons-grade
plutonium) and promise to sin no more. In exchange, we agreed to supply
North Korea with two light water nuclear reactors (the $4 billion cost was
shouldered mostly by Japan and South Korea).
Additionally, the United States agreed to supply North Korea
with 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil annually gratis, to compensate for the
loss of energy from the nuclear reactors it was, in theory, shutting down.
The U.S. further provided formal assurances that we had no plans to use or
threaten to use nuclear weapons against North Korea.
There you have the perfect liberal approach. The thinking behind
it is clear as a bell. North Korea is not aggressive; it is frightened, thus
the assurances about our peaceful intentions. North Korea is not building
nuclear power plants in order to become a nuclear bully boy, but only for
electricity for its people. We'll cheerfully provide that.
It failed miserably. A few years after signing this accord, the
North Koreans fired a missile over Japan. Secretary of State Albright raced
to a microphone to announce that "We agree, and we have let the North
Koreans know, in no uncertain terms, that the August 31 launch was a
dangerous development." But, she added stubbornly, "Our engagement with
North Korea through the Agreed Framework remains central to our ability to
press for restraint on missiles and for answers to our questions about
suspicious underground construction activities."
So because we were bribing them not to cheat, we'd earned the
right to complain when they did? Of course the North Koreans cheated. At
first they hotly denied they had cheated, but later, they proudly proclaimed
the fact. Today, they claim and few doubt that they possess at least some
nuclear weapons. North Korea has shared its technology in the past with Iran
and Libya, and since the nation is literally starving (communist economies
always produce bumper crops of poverty), and since Kim Jong Il is a vain and
sinister leader, we must assume that North Korea might sell nuclear weapons
to the highest bidder.
The North Korea problem is not easily solved. Several essays in
the July/August issue of The American Enterprise propose approaches. Daniel
Kennelly points out that our alliance with South Korea has become a
straitjacket, denying us flexibility as the Republic of Korea pursues an
appeasement policy of its own. He proposes that permitting South Korea to
defend itself will result in a more realistic policy. Gordon Cucullu notes
that China, North Korea's only friend, must be pressured to lean on
Pyongyang. Perhaps the only way to make them feel the heat, he suggests, is
to permit Japan to become a nuclear power. Others have proposed hard-line
sanctions, blockades and targeted air strikes.
The danger presented by North Korea cannot be ignored or wished
away. Neither should it be eclipsed by what's happening in Iraq. The nuclear
genie has been out of the bottle for 60 years, but only in the last five
have truly unstable regimes been close to acquiring nukes. We need a plan
now and then there is Iran.
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