Monday, October 09, 2006

 

Meanwhile... in the Reality-Based world

We now know beyond any doubt that North Korea is a nuclear power.

For a little perspective, we suggest reading Joshua Marshall's Talking Points Memo this morning:
The origins of the failure are ones anyone familiar with the last six years in this country will readily recognize: chest-thumping followed by failure followed by cover-up and denial. The same story as Iraq. Even the same story as Foley.
That's right. Once again, tough talk and swagger is the substitute for acting smart and protecting the American homeland. Sue Kelly and the Republican-controlled Congress have failed to secure our ports, or ensure our troops in Iraq have adequate body armor. They prefer swagger to doing real work, and we can't afford it anymore.
The bomb-grade plutonium that was on ice from 1994 to 2002 is now actual bombs. Try as you might it is difficult to imagine a policy -- any policy -- which would have yielded a worse result than the one we will face Monday morning.
The policy of the Clinton administration - containment backed up not only by the threat of sanctions but the promise of rewards for good behavior - has been replaced by the aforementioned tough talk and swagger. And now another nation has joined the nuclear club.

Talking tough is great if you can make it stick and back it up; it is always and necessarily cleaner and less compromising than sitting down and dealing with bad actors. Talking tough and then folding your cards doesn't just show weakness it invites contempt. And that is what we have here.

We couldn't agree more. We can't afford another two years of Republicans like Sue Kelly telling us "don't blame me, I just work here."


Comments:
Another foreign policy failure of devasting proportions. It is astounding that the Republicans actually try to convince Americans that they are making us *more safe* while the opposite is true. Kelly supports this president with every vote -- don't let her convince you otherwise. We can't fire Bush, but we can fire Kelly.
 
The negotiations had a long history, but the key change came in Dec. '02 when North Korea threw out the inspectors, took down the cameras watching the nuclear power plants, and broke the seals.

You need nuclear material from the plants to make bombs and these plants have to be out in the open and near water. So they are a good choke-point in stopping a country from producing atomic weapons. (Almost every other part of the bomb-making process can be hidden - except for testing.)

Things were working reasonably well under Clinton. There was some suspicion that N. Korea was enriching uranium it had on had before the agreement went into effect. But the US side was also slow in removing sanctions and providing fuel it had agreed upon.

But more or less, North Korea was contained, it could not produce more weapons because it could not fuel them. This all changed in Dec. '02 when the North Koreans threw out the inspectors.

Bill
 
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