Friday, July 07, 2006

Strategic Shakedown: Pyongyang's Nuclear Gamble

Last Friday I blogged about Ashton Carter and William Perry's proposal for a preventive attack on North Korea's nuclear missile facilities. It's too late for that now for this current crisis, as Pyongyang went ahead and test-fired a series of various-range missiles on Wednesday. For David Sanger's New York Times story on the outlook for the diplomatic endgame, check here. For an analysis of the implications of a North Korean missile test on the U.S. Pacific theater, check this Heritage Foundation research memo. Finally, check out yesterday's Wall Street Journal editorial on Kim Jong Il's lastest opportunistic provcation: Here's some flavor:

Kim is at it again because his previous provocations have typically been rewarded. The most famous example is the 1994 Agreed Framework in which the Clinton Administration responded to Kim's nuclear threats by offering aid and the promise of nuclear energy plants. That deal collapsed in 2002 when Kim repudiated it, announced a secret nuclear program and kicked out U.N. inspectors.

Or consider what happened the last time Kim launched a missile, sending the Taepodong-1 over Japan in 1998. The Clinton Administration went back to the negotiating table and came close to concluding a missile version of the 1994 nuclear agreement. As part of that deal--negotiated by then-State Department Counsellor Wendy Sherman--the U.S. would launch North Korean satellites in return for the North's pledge to stop developing long-range missiles.

Given Pyongyang's abysmal record at keeping its promises, the more likely outcome would have been the theft of U.S. technology and the strengthening of the North's missile program. As late as mid-December 2000 White House sources were even suggesting that President Clinton might visit Pyongyang to conclude the deal. Negotiations stopped only when the Clinton Administration's time expired.

This time Kim has tried to raise the stakes by launching a Taepodong-2, which has the range to reach the Western U.S. The fact that the missile exploded less than a minute after launch is reassuring, especially if you live in Seattle. But Kim still hopes this launch will attract even greater accommodation, and some in the U.S. and South Korea may be ready to play along.

The last thing the U.S. should do is reward North Korea's missile provocation with direct talks. Yet before yesterday's missile tests, that is exactly what Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard Lugar advised. Former Clinton officials Ashton Carter and William Perry have accused President Bush of ignoring diplomatic options with Pyongyang, even as they also propose a pre-emptive military strike. But what are the six-party talks with the North if not multilateral diplomacy?...

North Korea's missile tests also point up the need for improved missile defenses, both regionally and in the U.S. South Korea announced last week the purchase of upgraded Patriot missiles from Germany. Japan is working closely with Washington to improve its fledgling missile defenses, including an agreement last week to allow the Pentagon to deploy Patriots at a U.S. base in Okinawa.

But nothing the U.S. and Japan might do is likely to accomplish much if China and South Korea refuse to pressure the North to abandon its nuclear program. This is what happens when a non-transparent, authoritarian regime is appeased long enough for it to acquire nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. The mullahs in Tehran have already absorbed that lesson. Iran, and other states that are considering going nuclear, will be closely watching how the world responds to Kim Jong Il's latest provocation.

5 comments:

sanity said...

China is no help, and by the way it sounds we were thoroughly decieved counting on them.

China is North Koreas patron - and is supported by China. So just how hard did China really try....

Humanitarian aide that is "suppose" to go to feeding the people, are going to feed the troops instead for North Korea.

Japan has already decided to stop sending food to North Korea, and I think it would be wise if we did the same.

Last time this happened, was in 1998 I believe, when North Korea shot a rocket over Japan, and what did we do? - (Former President Clinton was in charge then)

Why we gave them 2 light nuclear reactors. *rolls eyes*

These 2 reactors it is said is enough to make enough material for 100 nuclear bombs. Thanks Bill.

Meanwhile we have Clintons former sec. state (think that is what she was) madeline albright saying we should REWARD North Korea by having one-on-one talks with them instead of the group talks with other countries involved.

Every few years this dictator in North Korea shoots off a missle or two, everyone gets worried and starts giving him things.

It is time to stop giving in to threats, because all it does is show that when threatened, they can be rewarded for it.

What does that show to terrorists also?

that if they threaten, if they kidnap and threaten death to allies or Americans, that they can be rewarded for thier efforts also.

It pains me to say, that some people may have to die to save the many. We should not negotiate with terrorists. We should show them that these tactics will not work, will not sway us, will not break us.

As hated as Israel seems to be, they seem to have the right idea, that for every action the hamas terrorists take against them, they respond by killing more hamas leaders and now that they have kidnapped a Israeli soldier, they make no qualms on moving in to get him.

Unfortunately with the US, we have someone kidnapped, and we negotiate, we release prisoners, we give money - which in turn allows the terrorists to be reaffirmed with thier belief that these tactics work and will continue to do them.

Sorry - long rant, but hopefully the gist is made clear.

And thanks for stopping by my blog also.....

~sanity

Donald Douglas said...

Hi Sanity:

I appreciate your "long rant," actually, and I agree with you! Diplomacy can work, of course, if the consequences of violations of a pact (for example, the 1994 Agreed Framework) are serious and credible. I don't think we should automatically rule out an airstrike against Pyongyang's facilities, though I imagine the diplomatic fallout would be nasty. I blogged about Isreal last week. Check it out if you didn't have the chance on your last visit. Michael Oren, whose WSJ commentary is attached there, suggests that the Israeli government has not been firm enough, and that they ought to renew Sharon's policy of targeted killings of Palestinian terrorists.

Take it easy and thanks for the visit.

Jon said...

I think Kimm has underestimated President Bush's resolve to get this situation resolved as peacefully as possible. But because Bush refuses to take any and all possibilities off the table it is being looked at by many of his detractors that he plans to use nukes against North Korea.

I am glad President Bush isn't going down the same path that President Clinton did in 1994 and basically rewarded North Korea for threatening its neighbors. That is why we are here again today.

All the sabre rattling isn't going to get Kimm what he wan't (Bi-lateral talks with the USA) no matter how much he threatens.

Donald Douglas said...

Hi Jon:

Thanks for visiting. I think Japan's taken the right approach, as indicated in my blog post. Hopefully the members of the six-party talks can all get up some backbone toward Pyongyang.

Take it easy.

Jon said...

Japan has a lot to lose since they are very close to North Korea. The last thing we need to do is given to North Korea and agree to Bi-lateral talks.