Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wisdom? Sounds UnAmerican To Me

Lest we forget, that North Korea has detonated a nuclear advice is a concern of the whole world. While our Dear Leader would like us to believe that this is just a slap in the US face by a member of the Axis of Evil, the fact is that adding nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula is a pretty serious problem. As the world's sole super power at the present time, the US has to take the lead in trying to resolve the problem. Unfortunately, our Dear Leader is no more sensible than the North Koreans' at this point. The world needs someone to start showing some leadership, some wisdom on this, as noted in this October 16th editorial from the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

States that are misbehave cannot be rewarded for their misbehavior. If the alleged nuclear test is a fact, the use of sanctions is appropriate. But it doesn't solve the problem with North Korea. The Stalinist regime in Pyongyang has shown on several occasions that it won't hesitate to parry the hard-line reaction of the world community with harsh counter measures. The alleged nuclear test is the best proof of this.

If sanctions are not accompanied by diplomatic consultation, we can expect the following scenario. Humanitarian conditions will deteriorate in the country, the number of refugees crossing the Chinese border will increase and the regime will dig its heels in even deeper. To obtain hard currency, it will attempt to sell its (alleged) enriched uranium and nuclear technology to terrorists or rogue states. It has already sold missiles to Iran, Syria and Pakistan. But nuclear material [uranium or plutonium] is far more lucrative. If the need is great enough, the stuff can be smuggled out of the country through cunningly hiding it amongst other goods. Dictator Kim Jong-il can also increase the pressure on the region by issuing direct threats.

...One of the world's last communist regimes may be trying to blackmail an entire region, but that in and of itself cannot be a reason to reject talks with the regime. The problem lies particularly in its relations with the United States, which have been completely ruined since "9/11" occurred and President Bush embarked on his confrontational course. Direct talks, which were still possible under President Clinton, have been ruled out by the White House.

A policy of sanctions alone brings with it the danger of having the opposite effect. No matter what, sanctions must be accompanied by diplomacy. The six nation talks between South and North Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the United States must resume quickly. Unfortunately, talks between Washington and Pyongyang are unlikely, but what has intransigence gotten us but escalation? North Korea is primarily responsible for this, but someone must show some wisdom.

Hopefully the other other nations in these talks will push hard to reinstitute these talks and quickly. Mr. Bush has already demonstrated that he is not terribly interested in taking the initiative, and for good reason: diplomacy is not his strong suit.


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