Bush and North Korea

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.

7 thoughts on “Bush and North Korea

  1. It seems to me that Bush’s foreign policy is governed by what Rove thinks will play well with the electorate. Tough on foreigners, etc.
    It may be that they realize that this doesn’t work, that the electorate is finding out that Bush does not produce results.
    Also it does not help us find allies in the world. This may account for the change in negotiating tactics with Iran. Maybe North Korea as well. South America seems not to change. And Chavez is doing a fine job leading Venezuela.

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  4. I cannot thank you enough for your archived history of the recent past history of US relations with North Korea. It was a perfect antidote to the right wing spin being aired this week, as well as a cure for the amnesia that afflicts the USA (thanks to Gore Vidal for “The United States of Amnesia.” Yours is an invaluable contribution that I am sharing with my fellow truth seekers.-

  5. I cannot thank you enough for your archived history of the recent past history of US relations with North Korea. It was a perfect antidote to the right wing spin being aired this week

    You are welcome. The righties still believe the lie that all the problems we’re having with North Korea can be traced back to the 1994 Clinton-Carter-Albright agreement, when in fact North Korea kept that agreement — to not process plutonium — until George Bush halted the KEDO program. And now North Korea allegedly has plutonium weapons and is working on a delivery system that would bring North America into striking distance. This is exactly the sort of problem that the 1994 agreement was designed to prevent. Anyway, all the lies make me crazy, and the more you learn about what really happened, the more you understand how badly the Bushies are screwing up.

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