North Korea’s missile tests — which included tests of a long-range missile capable of striking the United States — stand as one more reminder of the Bush Administration’s failure to come up with a rational national security strategy.
The long-range test failed, and we are assured by several sources that North Korea does not pose an immediate military threat to the United States. Yet it’s pretty darn certain that Kim Jung Il wants to pose a military threat to the United States. If we were to apply the same rationale to North Korea that we applied to Iraq, we’d have invaded North Korea already.
In February 2005 I wrote a series of posts explaining the many ways in which the Bush Administration took a serious but managable situation in North Korea and turned it into an intractable crisis. The posts are archived here; after Part I scroll down past the adstrip for the remainder. It’s a long series, but in a nutshell, shortly after Bush became president in 2001 he destroyed years of careful international diplomacy with North Korea just by being the asshole that he is. Since then the Bushies have stumbled through one blunder after another, making the situation worse.
For example, in 2002 National Security Adviser Condi Rice said that the North Korean situation would be easier to manage than Iraq, and that Kim Jing Il could be made to behave if the U.S. stopped shipments of fuel oil and applied economic sanctions. Two years after oil shipments stopped, North Korea announced it had nuclear weapons. See how well that worked?
Note: Please don’t presume to argue with me on this point until you’ve read the series. In particular, do not try to blame the mess on Jimmy Carter and Madeleine Albright until you’ve read the series. Pay close attention to the difference between “uranium” and “plutonium.”
Colossally stupid rightie comment of the day by someone who clearly doesn’t know history from turnips: “North Korea is also a prime example of why Truman should not have relieved General MacArthur of his command and finished the Korean War.” Someone should explain to this genius that MacArthur was not only insubordinate to Truman, MacArthur was getting his ass whipped in North Korea. MacArthur’s replacement, General Ridgway, stabilized the mess MacArthur had made and managed a good counter-offensive, taking back some of the territory MacArthur had lost. And the cease-fire was negotiated on President Eisenhower’s watch.