View Full Version : Newsweek Editorial: "Nukes" in North Korea

Good Doctor HST
02-12-2005, 11:41 AM
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Penetrating a Totalitarian Fog

Why did North Korea admit it has nukes? Because Kim is right: Washington wants him dead
Kim Jong Il: American officials have found him strange but rational

By Michael Hirsh
Updated: 6:17 p.m. ET Feb. 10, 2005

Feb. 10 - The challenge of probing the bizarre, hermitlike world of North Korea makes Kremlinology look like an exact science, any expert will tell you. Even the best intelligence is mere guesswork. What was the meaning of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s strange statement on Thursday that it now had “nukes” (yes, it used that English colloquial term)? Why did Pyongyang abruptly decide to pull out of negotiations to dismantle its nuclear-arms program?
placeAd(2,'newsweek.world/world')?"] ("http://ad.doubleclick.net/jump/newsweek.world;kw=world;sz=300x250;tile=2;ord=[INSERT RANDOM NUMBER HERE)Speculation was immediately rife in Washington. Could it be that North Korea’s “Dear Leader,” the pouf-haired Kim Jong Il, wanted to rattle his rusting saber a bit because his birthday was coming up soon? Perhaps the ministry’s statement was a reaction to the recent trip by Michael Green, the National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs, who traveled to the region to get China, Japan and South Korea to increase the pressure on Pyongyang in the “six-party” (the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and North Korea) disarmament talks. Was Pyongyang anticipating the backlash to come after last week's leaks of scary, if still very flimsy, evidence that North Korea might have been selling nuclear material to Libya?

The best guess is that we should simply take Pyongyang at its word. The few times American officials have been able to penetrate the totalitarian fog of North Korea and talk with Kim Jong Il, they have found him to be strange but rational. And Thursday’s statement was in fact quite a rational response to the Bush administration’s approach to the North Korean regime, which has basically been to call it evil and hope for its collapse. "We ... have manufactured nukes for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration's evermore undisguised policy to isolate and stifle the [North]," the ministry said.

Indeed, that’s pretty much what George W. Bush’s policy is. The six-party talks are stalled in no small part because Washington puts next to nothing on the table in inducements (an approach that even the Chinese, America’s principal partner, have privately complained will doom the talks to stalemate). Meanwhile, the Bush administration continues to tighten the noose around Pyongyang, adopting new interdiction programs like the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Illicit Activities Initiative, placing new conditions on aid to North Korea. In his Inaugural and State of the Union speeches, Bush offered not the slimmest reed to Kim; on the contrary, the president hardened his stance, making the end of all tyrannies everywhere his No. 1 foreign-policy aim. The basic approach toward both Iran and North Korea, U.S. officials now suggest, is to treat them as Reagan did the Soviet Union, in other words to abandon the old doctrine of “managing the relationship” and to work actively for their collapse.

So if you’re Kim Jong Il, what else would you do but declare you’ve got nuclear weapons and hunker down? True, the statement from the North Koreans was hardly final. Pyongyang has been hinting at its nuclear capability for years. And the statement left open the possibility of coming back to the talks. But clearly Kim’s frustration must be boiling over. “I think the timing of this reflects that they feel they have given the administration a decent interval,” says Jonathan Pollack of the Naval War College. “In the latter weeks of 2004 and 2005, [the North Koreans] said we’ll wait and see what comes out of Inauguration and State of the Union. Now they’ve seen. They also see that those who seemed most inclined to diplomacy are now out of the government, like Colin Powell.”

Just four and a half years ago, Kim Jong Il hosted Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at his national stadium in Pyongyang while hundreds of thousands of performers danced before him in tribute. “We are a peace-loving nation," Albright told the delighted leader in a toast at a banquet before her departure in 2000, “and desire to take steps with you that will ensure peace for generations to come." Ah, the good old days. Back then there was no talk of freedom or democracy, just deals to be made. Today Kim Jong Il hears nothing about deals, just talk of freedom and democracy. And for North Korea’s dictator, that is a death sentence. Few will mourn his passing when it happens. The worry now is that he’ll decide to go out with a bang.

02-12-2005, 12:46 PM
It's nice to see the world is a safer place thanks to Bushie's war on terror. That's what he said he'd do right? Make the world a safer place.

Bush ain't fooling the Koreans, the Russians, or anyone else with their thinly veiled war for oil. Only the American people are still a sleep at the switch. And thanks to their blind flag waving and patriotism, they will never wake up.