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George made me do it

Jack Balshaw 1/8/2003


After the President's "axis-of-evil" speech, I'm not surprised at North Korea reopening its nuclear facility and Iran contracting with Russia for a new nuclear plant. They're being forced to do it in, of all things, self-defense.

The President named three countries as dangerous and then proceeded to take steps to change the leadership of one of them, Iraq. Iran and North Korea can see their turn coming once we deal with Iraq. It's somewhat naive to think they would just sit there and let us pick them off one by one. Particularly North Korea, of whose leader Kim Jong Il the President in an interview said, "I loathe Kim Jong Il".

We may think it's not right for North Korea to take such aggressive steps, but what better time, from their point of view, than when we have our hands full militarily and politically with Iraq and terrorism. Why do we think other countries will always schedule things for our convenience?

We're concerned with Iraq's possible weapons of mass destruction (WMD's). This includes chemical, biological as well as nuclear weapons. And why are we concerned? Because, if Iraq did possess any of these weapons - especially nuclear - and the ability to deliver them against us or any of our allies, (Israel or Saudi Arabia) we would have to conduct our foreign policy without being able to use military action as a trump card.

Imagine a WMD attack on major cities in Israel or Saudi Arabia.

We're now waiting for U.N. inspectors to locate and /or disarm any WMD's Iraq might have. Once that's done we're free to attack them without the worry of WMD's being used on our troops or allies. Very good planning if the other guy goes along with it.

Let's look at North Korea. If they have even one nuclear device and the ability to launch it at Tokyo, we can't hold the threat of our nuclear weapons over their heads if they don't eliminate their programs to develop WMD's. We can beat them at war. We can beat anyone at war. But we won't go to war unless we can hold casualties (ours and our allies) to a minimum.

So, even if they have only a few such weapons and the ability to use them only on Japan or South Korea we can't attack them.

The Presidents move to activate the Star Wars missile defense to cover northeast Asia (guess where North Korea is located) added to North Korea's paranoia and need to act quickly.

A nuclear weapon, and to some extent any WMD, is a guarantee against physical attack by the U.S.. If the leader is a little crazy like Kim Jong Il, or a religious fanatic as are the clerics in Iran, the uncertainty that they might accept oblivion to hurt us will prevent us from acting militarily. It's a bigger version of the suicide bomber - "I'm going to die anyway but I'll take as many of you with me as I can". That's a very dangerous game to play at the nation level.

We can play it because no one can easily attack us. But what about our allies, especially Japan, South Korea and Israel, who aren't immune to a get-even attack from the axis-of-evil?

Every time a new element is added to our foreign involvement, things get more complicated. Like juggling more and more balls. If you keep adding balls sooner or later you'll drop one. What started as "Get al Qaida" has now added "Get Iraq". Now it seems North Korea is saying they want to get in this game while the odds are in their favor.

I'm sure if Kim Jong Il was asked why he's reactivating his nuclear plants he'd say, "George made me do it".


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