July 06, 2006

All Hat and No Cattle

The media reported this week that North Korea has test fired seven missiles, including a long-range Taepodong-2 missile that could reach the United States. North Korea reportedly has at least three more missiles ready to launch. The media have also reported during the past several months and years that North Korea has nuclear weapons.

This is what George W. Bush said about North Korea in his January 29, 2002 State of the Union address, his first since the 9/11 attacks two months earlier:

"Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.

We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists and their state sponsors the materials, technology, and expertise to make and deliver weapons of mass destruction. We will develop and deploy effective missile defenses to protect America and our allies from sudden attack. And all nations should know: America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation's security.

We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons. "

This is what George Bush has done about North Korea in the more than four years since he made this speech: Nothing. He refused even to engage in direct talks with North Korea. And the results sit on the launch pad in North Korea.

There are only two ways to deal with an international threat: diplomacy, and military action. Strong leaders use diplomacy to the outmost, and engage in military action as a last resort, if and when diplomacy fails. In North Korea's case, there are numerous diplomatic opportunities, including carrots such as food aid and including North Korea in the global economic marketplace, and sticks such as economic sanctions and global isolation. When the threatening country has nuclear weapons, the risks of jumping to military action on the one hand, or doing nothing on the other hand, without engaging in sustained diplomacy, are grave.

This is one reason why critics of Bush's Iraq War are so critical. It isn't just that they oppose the war for moral or strategic reasons. It's that the war is not being fought in a vacuum. America's military, diplomatic and intelligence resources are not unlimited. All such resources -- troops, equipment, diplomats, analysts, translators, and the great minds who plan and plot to address dangers -- that are devoted to Iraq are resources that cannot be devoted elsewhere, such as hunting for Osama Bin Laden or addressing the nuclear threats demonstrated by North Korea and Iran over the past four years.

To fight an effective "war on terror," America needs to use its resources wisely, and address "grave and growing danger" when that danger is identified. A ten-gallon hat, a big belt buckle and empty promises simply don't cut it in today's dangerous world.


At 2:53 PM, Blogger Ghetufool said...

man, North Korea's missile can theortically land in the western shores of U.S. i wonder why NK did this. now uncle sam is angry and north korea will soon go for a toss.
just a basic question, where from they got the technology? chinese...so developed?
russian...no way. who is the father of this technology afterall? hope not north korea...

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Ghetufool said...

and, may i link you?


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