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North Korea and the Blame Game

For eight years the Bush administration blamed the Clinton Administration for taking a soft line and turning a blind eye to North Korea regarding its Nuclear program.  While it’s true that North Korea did acquire fissile material during the Clinton administration, did learn how to disassemble its reactors, and acquired the equipment to take the fissile material and enrich it.  While it’s true that the world community, with Clinton at its head, shook the finger at North Korea, and turned a blind eye while North Korea acquired cyclotrons and scientists,

…it’s also true that the North Koreans didn’t suddenly wake up in the 5th month of the Obama Presidency able to detonate a 20 kiloton nuclear bomb.   Clearly the Bush administration hardline approach of not dealing unilaterally with North Korea, and not engaging with them outside of the conference of a larger world community, was not successful either.  So we tried the Clinton approach of, “Okay, if you will stop threatening South Korea, Japan and the U.S. with development of Nukes, we’ll ship you wheat, rice and fuel oil.”  wherein we shipped them wheat, rice and fuel oil and they continued the development anyway.  We tried the Bush approach of, “No we won’t talk to you unless other nations, like China and Russia are at the table, and we aren’t even discussing shipments of wheat until we have clear evidence that you’ve stopped nuclear enrichment programs.”  Evidently, that didn’t work either.

We tried negotiating with them, during Clinton, to no avail, and we tried showing our muscle to them under Bush by adapting Rumsfeld’s ABM missile plan, and lining the Pacific Coast of Canada, Alaska and California with Patriot missiles, and launching test intercepts of missiles to show North Korea that we can knock out anything they send.

Remember, the recent launch of a missile from a U.S. aircraft carrier to intercept and destroy one of our own satellites re-entering our atmosphere from a deteriorating orbit was done, during the Bush administration for the benefit of North Korea: just to let them know, we don’t have to hit your missiles from a fixed base:  we can knock them down from anywhere.  It was a brilliant move, diplomatic and peaceful.  The Bush administration has rarely been accused of being diplomatic and peaceful, yet it was great capitalization of a satellite related event that had to be reckoned with anyway.

So what’s a mother to do?  You’ve got this nasty little wayward country that would just rather starve its own people, than wash its face and hands and pull up to the International table and eat.  You can blame Clinton, you can blame Bush, or you can say, “Look, we tried both approaches.  neither worked.”  The fact is, Obama will have his hands full with some serious nuclear threats, and soon Iran will have theirs, because they have shared technology with North Korea, and they are well on their way in their own right.  How Obama backs and shows signs of solidarity with our allies, like Israel, is critical.  If he supports Netanyahu and gives the world community the idea that the United States is likely to give logisticl support to our allies, then that will go much further than letting Iran (and South Kores for that matter) think that we have turned our back on our allies and will leave them to their own devices in the defense against local nuclear threats.

So far, Obama’s discussion with Israel have displayed alot of tension, have given those scarmbling for a nuclear foothold hope that we might not provide our allies with the solidarity that will protect their existence in the region.  This provides nations like North Korea and Iran with the brazenness to fire the shot over the bow.  Let that be a lesson.  Please let that be a lesson.

Being conciliatory, weak, and at complete odds with our allies regarding support for them against their detractors has a powerful historical example, an example that such lack of solidariy doesn’t work.  It only gives those scrabbling for supremacy time and ability.  Hitler’s Germany in World War II, the United State’s own standoffishness during the entire buildup and beginning of the War,  and Japan’s own technological and military advances were all probably destined to occur, but should serve as a guide for us today and should help us determine our posturing with our allies.

Remember, it wasn’t from a postion of conciliatroy weakness at Rejykjavik wherein Mr. Reagan refused to conclude the Strategic defense Initiative under the Salt II treaties and the treaties that mutually forbade ABM’s, that Russia soon realized it couldn’t economically and militarily compete with our technological miniaturization, Perestroika ,already in the offing grew to become balkanization, glaznost took over the ‘then Soviet Union’, and the Wall of Berlin came down.


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