Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Missiles Of July

While I read that North Korea has launched a seventh missile (following six launched hours earlier, as CNN noted), I was so heartened to read the following:

President George W. Bush met with (U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen) Hadley, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the tests were going on, a senior administration official said.

But he went ahead with plans to watch Independence Day fireworks and hold a gathering at the White House for his 60th birthday, the official said.
“See the sparks from that Roman candle, Mr. President? Imagine them shooting way, way up high into the sky and across the ocean and landing far, far away and wreaking untold devastation and havoc on the west coast, OK? That pretty much describes the threat we could be facing from North Korea. Now make a wish and blow out the candles on your cake, OK?”

Also, these are the choices offered by the CNN “Quick Vote” question on this grave issue (the question being, “how do we handle this”?):

- Ignore Pyongyang
- Give aid/money to the North
- Sanctions/embargoes
- Military action
Call me silly, but gee, I’d like to see “negotiation” in there somewhere too, OK?

I would also like to call attention to the statement from the White House on this story:

"This provocative act violates a standing moratorium on missile tests to which the North had previously committed."
Please keep this quote in mind as you read the following excerpt from this article in The Nation dated 1/27/2003 (weeks after Dubya’s infamous State Of The Union speech):

According to most accounts, the North Koreans told (Assistant Secretary of State James) Kelly they were willing to end their effort to enrich uranium (In October 2002), abide by existing safeguards on plutonium-based weapons and accept new inspections in return for a US pledge not to launch a pre-emptive attack, sign a peace agreement and normalize relations. Bush refused, saying the North must stop its program first; when that didn't happen, he cut off shipments of fuel oil promised under the 1994 agreement (more on that below). Within weeks, Kim had restarted (the plutonium-based reactor at) Yongbyon and kicked out UN weapons inspectors, who have been monitoring the reactor since 1994. "If the United States legally assures us of security by concluding a nonaggression treaty, the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula will be settled," Pyongyang's ambassador to China reiterated January 3, 2003.
In a situation like this, you must negotiate with North Korea, especially when they’re offering a solution. Yes, they abrogated the 1994 framework; the original break from Bushco’s point of view took place when Kelly presented evidence of a uranium enrichment program to the North Koreans and they owed up to it, but unfortunately, this is how the game is played (of course, if the ruling cabal in Washington had any clue about this sort of thing, we probably wouldn’t be at this point right now).

(The 1994 “Agreed Framework” from the Clinton Administration, by the way, stipulated that North Korea would halt activity at Yongbyon in exchange for promises of a pair of light-water reactors and US diplomatic and economic relations).

Also, I noted here that, while Bushco trumpeted the success of slapping around North Korea in some phony currency scheme, the nuclear issue was allowed to fester.

It would have been nice, of course, if CNN had provided more background instead of devoting space to President Stupid Head’s birthday activities, but again, I know that’s “so pre-9/11” of me (I’m sure Kyra Phillips added the personal stuff about Dubya…she was one of NINE correspondents on the story, ALL OF WHOM failed to provide the context I added here).

Update: Gosh, I'm so comforted to know that Dubya won't back down to "the little pygmy," aren't you? And I KNOW this is a serious story now, because CNN has featured two photos on its web site of Condoleezza Rice glowering in her typically ominous fashion against a black background.

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