Saturday, December 23, 2006

Another Way to Endanger the Entire World

There they go again. North Korea has withdrawn from six-party talks and announced that proliferation would resume. Specifically, they are planning to increase their nuclear arsenal because they feel threatened by an American regime that has shown warmaking tendencies and rhetoric.

Chief delegates from the six nations held a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, but North Korea maintained its refusal to engage in discussions on the abandonment of its nuclear programs unless the United States first remove its financial sanctions.

Issues such as making progress toward North Korea's abandonment of current and future nuclear programs and creating working groups were shelved for the next round of discussions.

As former President Jimmy Carter pointed out in an October editorial in the New York Times, the present administration has been offensive to and produced reactions from North Korea without benefit to this country, but endangering the whole world.

ATLANTA....In 1994 the North Koreans expelled inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency and were threatening to process spent nuclear fuel into plutonium, giving them the ability to produce nuclear weapons.

With the risk of war on the Korean Peninsula, there was a consensus that the forces of South Korea and the United States could overwhelmingly defeat North Korea. But it was also known that North Korea could quickly launch more than 20,000 shells and missiles into nearby Seoul. The American commander in South Korea, Gen. Gary Luck, estimated that total casualties would far exceed those of the Korean War.

Responding to an invitation from President Kim Il-sung of North Korea, and with the approval of President Bill Clinton, I went to Pyongyang and negotiated an agreement under which North Korea would cease its nuclear program at Yongbyon and permit inspectors from the atomic agency to return to the site to assure that the spent fuel was not reprocessed. It was also agreed that direct talks would be held between the two Koreas.

The spent fuel (estimated to be adequate for a half-dozen bombs) continued to be monitored, and extensive bilateral discussions were held. The United States assured the North Koreans that there would be no military threat to them, that it would supply fuel oil to replace the lost nuclear power and that it would help build two modern atomic power plants, with their fuel rods and operation to be monitored by international inspectors. The summit talks resulted in South Korean President Kim Dae-jung earning the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize for his successful efforts to ease tensions on the peninsula.

But beginning in 2002, the United States branded North Korea as part of an axis of evil, threatened military action, ended the shipments of fuel oil and the construction of nuclear power plants and refused to consider further bilateral talks. In their discussions with me at this time, North Korean spokesmen seemed convinced that the American positions posed a serious danger to their country and to its political regime.

Responding in its ill-advised but predictable way, Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, expelled atomic energy agency inspectors, resumed processing fuel rods and began developing nuclear explosive devices.

This administration is not just careless in its obstinacy, it is dangerous. Choosing the time of the six-party talks to give India a place in the nuclear club without requiring that it submit to inspections of its military nuclear facilities was just another poke through the bars at the North Korean ego. Its result was what anyone rational would have expected and North Korea declared itself a member of the Nuclear Club, as I pointed out in my earlier post on this subject, 'The Club'.

If the result that this administration desires is the endangerment of the entire world, it has achieved its goal. Any other principle was not served, so only if the cretin in chief is entirely irrational can he be said to have thought he might serve a peaceful purpose.

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