We have reaffirmed our commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. . . . The actions taken by North Korea are unacceptable and deserve an immediate response by the UN Security Council.” --President George Bush; following the detonation of North Korea’s first nuclear weapon.
North Korea has a population of 23 million, similar to Iraq, where I estimate about 700 billion has already been expended for an end result of near civil war. In North Korea, we have a country taking up a disproportionate slice of world attention, attention seeking to an extreme and provocative. Yet surely there could have been a more sensible line followed by the US and its allies.
I think this current crisis with North Korea could have been avoided given reasonable diplomatic skills and the use of psychology.
Bush has insisted North Korea was on the “Axis of Evil” list, and publicly announced that he “loathed” Kim Jung Il.
From North Korea's perspective they have no intention of being the next victim of Bush’s pre-emptive policy. Donald Rumsfield even boasted the US is capable of operating in 3 theatres of war simultaneously.
So Kim Jong-Il has built North Korea’s first nuclear bomb. By all accounts the first explosion was less than 1,000 tonnes, either a partial success or a partial failure, who knows! But tests in the past by other powers have been around the 10,000 tonnes, judged at that level to be a successful test of capability. Already he has vowed to continue testings if the US imposes sanctions.
It reminds me of the cold war, where we saw a continuance of a fear driven weaponry build up by the United States and Russia, both fed on a diet of incompetent intelligence. At the time the Russian economy was estimated to be three times its actual size, by the CIA and accepted as factual by a gullible eager Administration. So we continued on in this mindless exchange and build up of weaponry until the Soviet Union eventually collapsed inwards as it became unsustainable.
The current situation with North Korea I think could be much more easily resolved. So what is it they want or hope to achieve? The seeds of the current situation go back to 1994 as North Korea’s wants to go back to the original 1994 “Framework Agreement” originated by Clinton where food, fuel and two light water reactors were to be provided in exchange for North Korea’s abandoning its nuclear weapons programs. The North had agreed to these terms, but the United States has never honoured its obligations.
Time will tell, but it’s high time we had sensible foreign policy initiatives from the USA and its allies!, administrations that don’t regard compromise as a dirty word, and are willing to hold talks and consider alternatives.
Maybe the United Nations will be able to negotiate a way forward, but only with support from its previous most powerful critic, the USA.