Monday, October 21, 2002

Yep, Our Fault

It hasn’t taken long for someone to give the “from North Korea’s” perspective on North Korea’s secret abandonment of the 1994 Agreed Framework.

The author states, “Both (Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il) have made entreaties -- though sometimes rough and blustery -- to see if they could reach accommodation with Washington without jeopardizing the personality cult that has kept them in power.” Get that, nuclear threats against Japan and South Korea, not to mention us, are just rustic golly gee “rough and blustery” talk! And a mere “personality cult” as if it were mere vanity rather than the core of a brutal dictatorship. How insensitive of us to not support that personality cult. My word, it might be a self esteem issue here!

The author reports without comment the perspective from the North:

The United States fought a war against North Korea in 1950-53 and maintains one of its largest contingents of overseas troops massed and ready on the Korean Demilitarized Zone, facing North Korea. It has spy ships, like the USS Pueblo captured by North Korea in 1968, and satellites trained on North Korea.

That little war thing—the author does realize that the North invaded the South and to this day does not recognize the Republic of Korea? The article makes it sound like we instigated a war there. As for our “massed and ready” troops on the border? Well, we have two brigades of the 2nd Division there. And it is there because Seoul is so close to the border. And it is ready because the North is massed just north of the border. The author even lists the Pueblo Incident, when the North Koreans seized one of our ships while it was in international waters and held the survivors for a year! And we point satellites at them? Egad! This is an outrage? How can the author not point out these problems with North Korea’s perspective? Sure, they may believe it, but why does the author need to lend it credibility?

The author even seems to give credibility to their fear that North Korea is next on our list: “When that rhetoric is coupled with U.S. willingness to send troops to remote places, such as Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans, the regime sees every reason to believe it is next on the list.” Right. We went into remote Afghanistan because terrorists based out of that country killed 3,000 of us. The “remote” Balkans are right in Europe. And Iraq remains a threat to us and our friends that cannot be managed. How “remote” is someplace that is in the heart of the world’s energy resources?

One problem with the “it’s our fault” line, though: If North Korea really did violate the agreement to get us to talk, why the secrecy? For so long? Saying that North Korea told us about their nuclear program to get us to talk requires one to ignore that North Korea didn’t actually tell us. We confronted them and then they denied breaking the agreement only to reverse themselves a day later. That is, North Korea was doing this in secret—for years. A more reasonable conclusion is that North Korea wanted a potent “bolt from the blue” weapon to unleash/reveal at the time of its choosing. Given the hair trigger posture of the North Korean army, massed in an offensive deployment on the border, can we really talk ourselves into seeing ourselves at fault?

As for Iraq, in a world of the internet and 24-hour news, Iraq’s leadership is convinced we are alone in wanting to oust the Tikriti mafia from Baghdad. They believe they have allies. They will not yield to us and disarm because they are convinced we will falter.

Big mistake. We are going to Baghdad. And Saddam will make it easy for us to get allies.