President Bush's reelection mandate has apparently
resulted in a radical change in our policy toward the Democratic People's Republic
of Korea (DPRK). Quoting some unnamed U.S. official, the Japanese newspaper
Yomiuri Shimbun said that the U.S. has just established a "red line"
the DPRK is not to cross.
Ten years ago, the DPRK was operating a small Soviet-supplied reactor and had
a reprocessing plant capable of extracting nuke-grade plutonium from the reactor's
spent-fuel. They had much larger plutonium-producing reactors and reprocessing
facilities under construction.
The neo-crazies demanded that President Clinton "take them out,"
notwithstanding the fact that DPRK was then a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) and that all these DPRK facilities were to be subject to a Safeguards
Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Clinton later said that, "We actually drew up plans to attack North Korea and
to destroy their reactors, and we told them we would attack unless they ended
their nuclear program."
Result? The U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework, wherein DPRK nuclear programs were
"frozen" – subject to continuous monitoring by the IAEA – in return
for two free nuclear power plants and a half-million tons of fuel oil a year.
Then, in 1998, U.S. spy satellite photos showed thousands of workers burrowing
into a mountainside near the site of a "frozen" nuclear plant. The
neo-crazies promptly concluded that the Koreans were building an underground
nuclear reactor and/or reprocessing plant and demanded that Clinton "take
out" the underground facilities, using nukes if necessary.
Instead, U.S. Ambassador Charles Kartman met with DPRK Vice Foreign Minister
Kim Gye Gwan.
Result? The DPRK "has decided to provide the United States satisfactory access
… by inviting a U.S. delegation for an initial visit in May 1999, and allowing
additional visits to remove U.S. concerns about the site's future use."
The delegation's report concluded that "the site at Kumchang-ni does not
contain a plutonium production reactor or a reprocessing plant, either completed
or under construction. Given the current size and configuration of the underground
area, the site is unsuitable for the installation of a plutonium production
reactor – especially a graphite-moderated reactor of the type North Korea has
built at Yongbyon. The site is also not well designed for a reprocessing plant."
Hence, at the beginning of President Bush's first term, the neo-crazies had
been twice thwarted. All of DPRK's nuclear facilities and all the plutonium
the DPRK had already produced was safely under IAEA control, subject to the
U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework.
So, Bush told South Korea's President Kim in March 2001 that he and Secretary Powell would not continue the talks with DPRK representatives – begun the year before by President Clinton and Secretary Albright – with the aim of formally ending the Korean War.
Then, President Bush's 2002 State of the Union Address included this zinger:
"Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening
America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of
these regimes have been pretty quiet since Sept. 11. But we know their true
nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction,
while starving its citizens.
"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil,
arming to threaten the peace of the world."
Finally, in October 2002, an anonymous State Department munchkin told a few
media sycophants that some anonymous DPRK official had "admitted"
to him at a cocktail party that the DPRK had a clandestine uranium-enrichment
program, built right under the noses of the IAEA.
Result? We promptly canceled the fuel-oil shipments to DPRK, thereby abrogating
the Agreed Framework. The DPRK then withdrew from the NPT and resumed operation
of its plutonium-producing reactor and plutonium recovery facility.
Meanwhile, Bush invaded Iraq to uncover and destroy the uranium-enrichment
facilities that we claimed Saddam had secretly built right under the noses of
Of course, Saddam denied that he had any such facilities. And we had no idea
where the alleged facilities might be hidden.
Similarly, the DPRK vehemently denies having a uranium-enrichment program.
And we have no idea where the alleged facilities might be hidden.
So, is Bush's new policy to do unto DPRK what he did to Iraq? To invade, uncover,
and destroy their nuke-usable plutonium and uranium production facilities?
No, Bush's new policy is merely to "red-line" the DPRK: to illegally
prevent via a "web of counter-proliferation partnerships" the perfectly
legal sale of DPRK's now perfectly legal cash crop – nuke-usable materials –
on the open market.