Democrats & Liberals Archives

This Means War!

Vice President Dick Cheney was on Larry King Monday, making the case that Kim Jong Il must go. I’ve seen a jump in the number of anti-Kim editorials from right-wing think tanks in the papers lately, too. On top of that, the administration is pulling US citizens out of North Korea and deploying F-117 stealth fighter/bomber squadrons to the South. I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

Seriously, it's about time we got around to North Korea. Even if it was President Bush's "axis of evil" rhetoric and unverified accusations of a secret North Korean uranium enrichment program that led Kim to reprocess spent fuel rods into nukes, he's still a wacko - a nuclear-armed wacko, now. If Saddam Hussein had been jumping around in 6-inch heels and a crazy coif yelling, "Look at me! I have nukes!" there wouldn't have been any argument over invading Iraq.

And it doesn't help when North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan says they're not thinking of giving nukes to terrorists right now, but they might if "the United States drives us into a corner. The United States should consider the danger that we could transfer nuclear weapons to terrorists, that we have the ability to do so." Believe me, we're considering it.

One school of thought - China's and South Korea's, to be specific - contends that North Korea is just making threats so they can force the US into direct negotiations. I'd like to see President Bush explore that option just to say we crossed the t's and dotted the i's before taking military action. It's highly unlikely that Kim would offer to step down (the only alternative to military action as far as I'm concerned), and I doubt President Bush would allow Jimmy Carter to do some last-minute CNN diplomacy like he did in 1994, so direct negotiations probably wouldn't make a difference, but we could then truly say that war was the last option.

In any case, if President Bush is serious about a military option, he needs to get China, South Korea, and Japan on board. I doubt China will favor a military option - they didn't in 1950 and Chinese "volunteers" stopped us cold at the 38th parallel. China's problem seems to be that if they advocate regime change anywhere, they're afraid it emboldens the US to go after them someday. But surely there's some deal we can make to get China at least neutral on this, since I just don't see us ever having to take them apart completely - even over Taiwan.

Japan appears to already be on board, judging by their recent 'I know something you don't know' taunts directed at South Korea. "Japan is hesitant to share information and cooperate with South Korea because the United States does not seem to trust the country," said Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi. South Korea, naturally, is reluctant to see itself reduced back to rubble in another war with the North.

It looks to me like President Bush's finger is tightening on the trigger. The scale of military and diplomatic preparations suggests a Libya-style strike on either North Korea's nuclear assets or its leader. President Clinton was ready to do the same strike in 1994, and was cognizant of - and prepared for - the inevitable North Korean counterattack on the South.

Although our military has for decades trained and planned to fight two simultaneous wars (in Iraq and North Korea, by an interesting coincidence), it'll be tasked to capacity at that point. I wonder how it'll all turn out.

Posted by American Pundit at May 31, 2005 4:21 AM