Thursday, October 05, 2006

North Korea: Let Them Test

I find it odd the strenuous effort being undertaken to try and prevent North Korea from going ahead with a nuclear test.

We already treat North Korea as if it is a de facto nuclear power; why not have some definitive proof that they can actually assemble and detonate a device?

A test also forces the other countries that comprise the Six-Power talks to decide whether or not getting North Korea to de-nuclearize is truly a priority for them or not.

The argument I often hear is that a test (always assumed to be successful; no one takes the point that it could fail with even more negative consequences for the regime) crosses some sort of pre-agreed line beyond which there can be no de-nuclearization. I don't see what the fuss is about over the test. The real question is dismantling or destroying the infrastructure that is in place; the test has little to do with whether that infrastructure remains functional or not.

I also don't know why we want to continue this state of ambiguity over North Korea's capabilities.

well if it's a failure no one is going to hear about it so that argument doesn't work.

I agree though that there could be an upside to a successful test but only paradoxically if one believes it was only a matter of time anyway - aside from that provision the potential bad outweighs the potential good: America is not holding quality cards at the moment; Abe is looking for an excuse to ditch Japan's pacifist constitution; I'm not at all sure how China will react when forced into an uncomfortable international situation.
Aaron Friedberg has an op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times that reviews the reasons why a test would be bad, but I'm inclined to agree (and I imagine he would too) that this would not be something coming out of the blue.

The difficulties consequent to a test are that it would reduce the bar to remilitarization of Japan, polarize South Korean politics, and possibly complicate Sino-American relations.

But the most dangerous consequence, assuming that America does nothing against Pyongyang afterwards, may be to encourage those in both Tehran and Washington who want a confrontation over Iran's nuclear program. The Iranians will be encouraged that we did nothing against North Korea after the test, and those in the Bush administration who want to stop Iran at all costs will become more desperate to do so in order to restore American credibility.

Your point is well taken about the possibility that a nuclear test might fail. I expect they will not announce a precise time so that the embarassment will be less if it fails.
If we remove the "ambiguity", then we have to address the regional issue. No? We'd have to talk or act. And, we can't reasonably act.
Do you recall Colonel Devlin's report that made a lot of news last month? TIME magazine has an email from a Marine officer in Devlin's unit. The account in TIME has information removed from the email to protect the officer's anonymity. However, a previous version of that email can be found on other blogs. Based on the author's ethnicity and a tragic fatality in the unit -- plus Devlin quoted in a story on that Marine's memorial service, it seems as though the author of the email could be none other than Colonel Devlin.
Allaying the NK nuclear ambiguity issue is an interesting point. Failure (or no test) would further discredit NK and of course that whacky dear leader. A successful test would alleviate any doubt about NK's capabilities, and force the rest of the civilized world to confront the issue with a newfound sense of realism.

That said, the Bush government's woeful lack of credibility, glaring incompetence, and catastrophic FAILURES, and inability to prevent or redress NK's, or Iran, or al Quaida's or the socalled insurgents provocation shines yet another hot light on the limitations of the worlds socalled hyperpower.

Since the fascist warmongers and profiteers in the Bush government usurped and commandeered America, - we all have suffered and must hazard and endure the ghastly consequences of Bush government incompetence and failure to prevent 9/11, - the bloody, costly, noendinsight horrorshow in Iraq, - the enormous costs in blood and treasure committed to the socalled neverendingwaronterror, - the erosion of the peoples rights, freedoms, and protections here in the land of Oz, - a terrifying and alarming INCREASE in terrorist acts, terrorist networks, support for terrorists groups, and actual terrorists globally, - more, not less nuke and other WMD proliferation, - the empowerment of Iran, - and wild and pervasive, not to mention well justified INCREASE in anti-Americanism globally, - a total loss of American credibility globally and particularly in the ME and the socalled muslim street, - a radical dismemberment, perversion, and reengineering of America's laws and principles, - the entrenchment of one partisan party operating in lockstep unision to further the fascist designs of the warmongers and profiteers in the Bush government without restraint or any system of ethics, or the rule of law, - INCREASED the oil wealth and subsequent power of the worlds oil producers many of whom despise America's supremist policies - the wanton profiteering and redistribution of wealth into select cabals and oligarchs in the oil, energy, PRIVATE MILITARY, defense, pharmacuetical, and finance industries, - and I could go on for pages, - by why bother.

The point is, our socalled leadership has castrophically FAILED America.

Our core values, the principles upon which this nation, our credibility as the socalled leader of the freeworld and beacon of hope for equality, freedom, and justice for all, our own laws, and the rule of law, - have all been shredded, perverted, and redefined by the fascist warmongers and profiteers in the Bush government.

If it takes NK testing a nuke to unmask the pathological lies and woeful incompetence of the Bush government - then in a macabre way - the world will be better off.

Raul Castro made a comment that rings of truth shortly after Fidels surgery in reference to defending Cuba from American invasion, - that Cuba (and in my opinion all the worlds nations) must be prepared for the possibility of someone in the US government going crazy and attacking them.

This is what America has devolved into under the FAILED leadership of the fascist warmongers and profiteers in the Bush government.

We have perpetuated the way of the gun. All nations must arm and prepare, because America has gone mad.

Deliver us from evil.
(Back to North Korea) Not making a fuss and letting them test the bomb seems to work if the following could be achieved:
1) Any missile capable of delivering a warhead that will be met with an immediate surgical strike. This takes care of a conventional nuclear attack.
2) China joins an effective PSI. PSI takes care of proliferation, as well as unconventional means of delivery.
But South Korea and China are not going to allow that to happen any time soon. I suggest we go through the motions to stop North Korea anyway, so that South Korea and China can be brought along more easily to whatever measures we come to adopt agaisnt a North Korea with the bomb.

I live on the west coast of America and do not find your first option very reassuring.

The U.S. Geological Survey has reported a 4.2 temblor on the Korean peninsula that may signal a one kiloton nuclear test if the seismic signature is consistent with an explosion and our aircraft detect nuclear emissions.

If this threshhold has been crossed, Asia (and the Middle East) will be a much more dangerous place.
Well, it looks like now we're going to live with the next level of ambiguity. We get to see what our goveenments can or cannot do to make sure North Korea does not create and maintain something it can actually deliver.

I was off-net for the last week so I didn't read this post. So I was surprised to read this post today, because it is quite similar to what I wrote on The Acorn/The Indian National Interest last week.
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