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(DV) Petersen: An Unnacceptable Nuclear Gamble







An Unacceptable Nuclear Gamble
by Kim Petersen
October 6, 2006

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Warnings have emanated that the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) is preparing to test a nuclear device. The US assistant secretary of state, Christopher Hill, was miffed. “We are not going to live with a nuclear North Korea,” declared Hill, “we are not going to accept it.”


There are things that the government of the United States does not accept or want to accept, but that does not mean that reality will bend to what is acceptable to the US. The US military had to accept being shoved out of the DPRK in 1950. It had to accept being forced out of Vietnam in 1975. The US military is now being forced to accept losing a bloody occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.


Also, what is acceptable to one US regime might not be acceptable to another regime. In 1994, the US government of president Bill Clinton entered into an “agreed framework” with the DPRK. In exchange for the DPRK shutting down its graphite nuclear reactors that could produce weapons grade plutonium and a promise not to extract any plutonium in spent fuel rods, it was to receive two light-water nuclear reactors and oil deliveries until the reactors were completed in 2003. Instead, president George W. Bush added northern Korea to the “axis of evil,” cut off oil shipments, and backed out of the agreed framework. The result of Bush’s policy: the DPRK left the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and rumors were floated that the communist north has developed a nuclear bomb.


So when Hill declared, “We’re not coming to terms with a nuclear North Korea,” the communist north was already prepared for this and had no reason to think otherwise no matter what the US regime stated, nuclear north or not.


Further, whereby does the US arrogate to itself the right to determine what technology is exclusive to it or a select group of countries? If another country were to develop a new advantageous gadget, military or not, would the US agree to exclude itself from procuring that technology?


The six-country talks -- with the DPRK, the Republic of Korea (ROK), China, Russia, the US, and Japan -- held to negotiate terms to end the nuclear-charged impasse, had stalled after the US slapped economic sanctions on the DPRK a year ago because of its alleged money laundering and counterfeiting operations.


Even DPRK ally China, through its foreign minister Li Zhaoxing, has warned northern Korea of “serious consequences” if it conducts a nuclear test. China, after all, fears what Taiwan could do if it decided to pursue a nuclear bomb.


A draft resolution circulated at the United Nations Security Council by Japan’s ambassador Kenzo Oshima called for “consequences” if northern Korea carries out a nuclear test.


The ROK regime is taking a cautious and pragmatic approach to the situation. [1]


It appears that the US may be gambling that the DPRK regime is in its last throes, weakened by years of famine and economic hardship.


Whatever the reasons, the US regime’s declamations against nuclear weapon development in the DPRK carry little moral weight in light of its own contraventions of the NPT in pursuing nuclear weapon development and its courtship of India and Pakistan following a brief interregnum after their testing of nuclear devices.


The DPRK, reportedly, does not yet have sufficiently sophisticated missile technology to strike beyond Alaska to the lower 49 states. This does not matter because plenty of strategic US sites are well within reach in southern Korea and Japan.


The US media portrays northern Korea as gambling with nuclear weapons while being cornered internationally. [2] From its side, the DPRK’s possession of nuclear weapons poses no threat of an impending nuclear war. Obviously, the regime of president Kim Jong Il does not possess sufficient numbers of nuclear weapons to deploy them in an offensive capacity.


But the lessons have been learned from the US aggression of a disarmed Iraq. The DPRK presents no credible offensive threat, but it might now have a formidable defensive threat against aggressors.


It would seem that the unacceptable nuclear gamble is to corner Kim’s regime.


Kim Petersen, Co-Editor of Dissident Voice, lives on the outskirts of Seoul in southern Korea. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org



[1] Park Song-wu, “South Urges North Not to Cross Red Line,” Korea Times, 5 October 2006.

[2] William M. Arkin, “Behind North Korea’s Latest Nuclear Gamble,” Washington Post, 5 October 2006.


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