Wednesday, November 16, 2005

President Bush on North Korea

President Bush is currently in Pusan (I know the current trend is to spell it Busan, but to an old school korling, that just looks wrong, as does Gyeongju, which should be Kyeongju), where he announced the importance of a showing of unity among Asian leaders to get North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. It should be noted that he mentioned the importance of patience. You see, North Korea agreed to halt its nuclear weapons program in the 1990s in exchange for help building a light water reactor for power, a bunch of oil, and a ton of food. We gave them food, and oil, and started working on a plan for a nuclear reactor, when it became evident that North Korea had NOT, in fact, abandoned its nuclear weapons program. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice mentioned that the jury was out on what the North Koreans were prepared to do.

Well, let's parse this out for a moment, shall we? North Korea has lost over 2 million people, population-wise, in the last decade or so. They repeatedly promise to cut back on their nuclear program in exchange for concessions, which we continuously make, and then break their promise. Every time there appears to be a major diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea, some crisis comes up (crab war, submarine incident, poplar tree, tunnels, etc.).

The case to invade North Korea appears to be much stronger in terms of stabilizing a region, removing a megalomaniac from power, and freeing an oppressed people. Yet, we don't invade. We don't call for UN Sanctions (although South Korea opposes the sanctions, so that is probably a big factor there). We don't cut off aid. Instead, we treat Kim Chong-Il as a bad parent treats a spoiled kid. We tell him, "I'm sick of you eating candy bars in the living room at bedtime" while handing him a Snickers while he's sitting at the sofa. It doesn't work with a 6 year old, how could it work against the leader of a nation whose people worship him and his father?

Kim Chong-Il needs to be out of power in North Korea.


Matthew said...

Could the fact that North Korea does not have oil on which America and its allies are dependent be one reason why we have not gone to war to effect a regime change? Maybe it has something to do with the lack of a neighboring Jewish state to which America has some loyalty.

Steve said...

My suspicion is that we don't push for regime change in North Korea in exchange for China not annexing Taiwan. If China were to invade Taiwan, we'd intervene on behalf of that nation, and though China has said they would not support the DPRK in a new war, I think it would be a different story if we invaded vice DPRK resuming hostilities. I think we fear war with China more than we fear the Middle East situation.