Friday, July 22, 2005

Nice Words. If True

Three recent statements from actual or potential nuclear threats to us are nice to hear.

First, China draws back from a general's comments on nuking us:

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said China "will not first use nuclear weapons at any time and under any condition," according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Li said China has embraced that stance since it developed nuclear weapons in 1964, and it "will not be changed in the future."

And Iran says it won't pursue nuclear weapons:

"We hate atomic weapons. We respect international treaties and agreements, but we will not accept illogical pressures and the demands of powers," Ahmadinejad told a public meeting in Mashhad, 600 miles northeast of the capital, Tehran, according to the television report.

"We witness unfairness in the international arena. Some consider themselves as the lord of the world while they enjoy the biggest amount of weapons of mass destruction," Ahmadinejad said.

And then North Korea says it is willing to give up nuclear weapons:

A peace pact would halt what the North calls U.S. hostility "which spawned the nuclear issue," a spokesman from the North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. That would "automatically result in the denuclearization of the peninsula."

All very nice. I especially like the Iranian "Lord of the World" bit. Has a nice ring to it. Beats the old "Great Satan" tag that has gotten stale since the late 1970s. But sucking up is probably way too late in my opinion.

Of course, China's statement might have caveats that it doesn't apply to internal matters, which is what they consider Taiwan. And it could mean they have some confidence (misplaced or not) that they can go toe-to-toe with us in a short conventional conflict.

And Iran's statement may be true as far as it goes. In the sense that while you are perfecting the ability to enrich Uranium you are not technically working on a bomb. Once Iran has mastered all the steps up to putting together a bomb, will that pledge be honored? I doubt it.

North Korea's statement of course assumes North Korea has bombs. A claim not confirmed. A willingness to give up nukes given their paranoia would seem to indicate North Korea may not have anything weaponized even if technically they have some large "bomb" that would need a flatbed truck with an "oversize load" banner strung on it to move it from the buried laboratory it now sits in.

And the cause-and-effect is a bit incomplete. Let's see, North Korea invades South Korea in bloody war. We hold them off and rather naturally are a bit peeved about it and are reasonably worried the Norks will have another go at it if they get the chance. So we do have some hostility issues going on with our foreign policy toward North Korea. The last step is that the North Koreans are a bit worried that the above cited hostility puts North Korea in a bind. You know, in facing the Lord of the World? Narrowly assessed, North Korea's worry is reasonable. Until you remember the first link in the causal chain--the invasion thing.

The statement also assumes that North Korea would even believe us if we normalized relations and had a peace treaty with them. Nations do attack other nations that they recognize. They do. So mere formal peace is a strange reassurance for the nutjobs of Pyongyang to assert they want.

Again. Nice words. But are they designed to lull and mislead or could they mean something important? I'm not hopeful. But at least our enemies and potential enemies feel the need to say the right words.

Sadly, I imagine the Surrenderistas in the West will latch onto these statements as proof we should pop out the old check book and "engage" with them.