Editor’s Note: For a complete list of sources for this article, go to Truthdig.com.
Well, Bush showed them, didn’t he?
Over the past six years, our “my way or the highway” president blew up a crucial nonproliferation agreement which was keeping North Korea’s plutonium stores under seal, ended bilateral talks with Pyongyang, squashed Japan’s and South Korea’s carefully constructed “sunshine policy,” which was slowly drawing the bizarre Hermit Kingdom back into the light, and then took every opportunity to personally insult the country’s reportedly unstable dictator because it played well politically at home.
If you shun them, they will shape up–this was the essence of President Bush’s non-diplomacy, as it was in regards to Iran, Lebanon and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The result? Cold war-style brinkmanship that has left the United States helpless.
The policy options left are dumb and dumber: Either passively accept Pyongyang’s defiant threats and ability to slip weapons-grade plutonium around the world, or launch an invasion that could spark a devastating attack on Seoul.
Thank you, Mr. President. I feel so much safer now that we have a wannabe cowboy in charge of the free world.
In the ongoing story of Bush and Co.’s dangerous leadership, the North Korea chapter is one of the least understood–and potentially the most disastrous. And, as with the sordid saga of Iraq and the “missing” weapons of mass destruction, the devil is in the details obscured by the ugly glare of tyrants such as Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il.
Republican cheerleaders are now making the case that, as with every other problem in the world, this is all Bill Clinton’s fault; the line is that former President Clinton caved to the North Korean communists, who then broke their agreements. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, what happened is that Jimmy Carter, on Clinton’s behalf, had negotiated an historic deal back in 1994 to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to seal Pyongyang’s plutonium in exchange for major energy assistance in the form of fuel-oil shipments and the building of safe nuclear reactors. (Incidentally, Donald Rumsfeld was a director of one of the companies that profited from the reactor deal.)