Wednesday, July 05, 2006

North Korea On The Hot Seat

It turns out that North Korea fired as many as seven missiles yesterday, all of which ended up in the Sea of Japan after relatively short periods of flight. Although the U.S. did not actively engage any of the missiles, the situation was monitored closely by NORAD. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said today that "each and every launch was detected and monitored and that the interceptors were operational during the missile launches that took place."

The U.N. Security Council met today to consider the problem, and, as usual, the Russians and Chinese were against any type of sanctions in response to the crisis. Japan, backed by Great Britain, the U.S. and others, is insisting on sanctions and strong actions by the U.N., but without the backing of China and Russia, the U.N., as usual, will do nothing. Yet another example of the U.N. having outlived its usefulness.

Most experts are claiming that the missiles, especially the inter-continental Taepodong II that the North Koreans test-fired, failed miserably. But how do we know that, without knowing the purpose of the test flights? We know that the North Koreans are developing plutonium. And the purpose of the Taepodong II delivery system is to deliver NBC payloads over long distances, so clearly, the North Koreans are trying to put the two together. And anyone who thinks that they are doing so just to get us to bargain with them is seriously delusional. Just ask Bill Clinton.

Quite simply, ladies and gentlemen, this is nuclear terrorism. The North Koreans are using the threat of nuclear missiles to effect policy change of the U.S. and other western nations. They want to deal with us directly, and are trying to ratchet up the stakes to gain more of what they want, whatever that is. And sadly, it's working.

We need to put the maximum amount of pressure on Kim Jong Il's regime, but I think we are past the talking stage here. Past the "they're only kids and they'll grow out of it" stage. You can't negotiate with people who don't keep their word, right Bill?

Sanctions won't work here, because they will only hurt the already starving North Korean people, not the military or the regime. China's fear is that, if the regime topples, all of the starving North Koreans will stream over the border into Manchuria, severely overwhelming the Chinese government. An equal number will probably flow into South Korea, as well. And our "friends" the French, Russians and Germans will just make deals behind our backs to benefit their own pockets. So sanctions are probably not going to be effective.

But what's left? Regime change? In a closed society like North Korea, developing agents or promoting an insurgency is not going to be a possibility. Military action? We definitely DO NOT want to engage these folks in a ground war. Pre-emptive strikes? Possibly, but who knows what they will do if we take out their missiles on the launch pad.

We're backed into a corner here, folks, and this one isn't going away anytime soon. I don't know what the answer is, but the outcome will affect the future of the entire world.


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