North Korea could nuke California – but do we really have to cite recent polls showing the increasing popularity of the GOP in the Golden State to deter the President from writing us off?
The North Korean challenge to this administration far surpasses anything we have faced in the post-cold war era. The widely hailed talks that supposedly signified the North Koreans kowtowing to the U.S. in the wake of the Iraq invasion proved to be a new platform for the harlequinesque Kim Jong Il's nuclear brinkmanship. Not content to merely wield a nuclear stick, the Stalinist troglodytes of Pyongyang openly threaten to export their nukes far and wide, as the Washington Post reports:
"At one point, one U.S. official said, Li Gun, deputy director of American affairs for North Korea's Foreign Ministry, pulled aside Assistant Secretary of State James A. Kelly and in effect told him: 'We've got nukes. We can't dismantle them. It's up to you whether we do a physical demonstration or transfer them.'"
A physical demonstration – on Tokyo? Or on U.S. troops in South Korea?
The North Korean jack-in-the-box is popping up just as the neoconservatives, pumped up with testosterone-laced triumphalism, are completing their conquest of the American foreign policy establishment and celebrating our Pyrrhic victory in Iraq. In other words, it couldn't have come at a more dangerous time.
The illusion of victory is not yet dissipated in the minds of our policymakers, and their deluded camp followers in the media: they really believe their own rhetoric about spreading "democracy" by the sword, and their smug complacency is unassailable. But while the neocons rhapsodize on about the glories of "democratic" imperialism, and engage in an orgy of self-congratulation, the real consequences of their policies – and the insufferable arrogance with which they are enunciated – threaten the peace in a way we have not seen since the Cuban missile crisis.
The eruption of the North Korean crisis into nearly full-blown proportions underscores the central objection to the bellicose policies and rhetoric of this administration: they haven't made us any safer. If the purpose of government is to protect its citizens from harm, then the "axis of evil" bombast emanating from Washington is, by any measure, an abject failure. There are some 30,000 American hostages to nuclear blackmail south of the demilitarized zone, and more in Japan. I wouldn't want to be a U.S. soldier stationed at Okinawa right now. And I don't feel much safer in California, come to think of it….
A strategic doctrine that put America first, and not some abstract idea, would never have left American GIs hanging in South Korea – or Japan, for that matter – exposed to the shifting moods of Kim Jong Il. The Korean stand-off is a relic of the cold war, one that should have melted away with the last of the Marxist frost. But the Bushies nixed a deal based on peaceful, voluntary re-unification and instead opted for confrontation. And now they have it….
The U.S. was counting on China to broker an agreement that would allow the North Koreans to save face, but the quarantining of the Chinese delegates at the talks, supposedly due to the SARS scare, is not a hopeful sign. In addition, a major intelligence failure – one that may dwarf that of 9/11 in terms of the death toll – seems to have occurred. Recall that we were told by this administration that Pyongyang was on the verge of churning out nukes, and now they are telling us the process is already begun. Not only that, but Pyongyang is hinting strongly that a test of their nuclear capability is imminent.
The U.S. has developed a plan to bomb North Korea's nuclear facilities, which just goes to show that Kim Jong Il is not the only lunatic involved in this crisis scenario.