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Thread: North Korea

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    dhyatt's Avatar
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    Default North Korea

    Once again, North Korea is threatening a 'new' long range missile launch and though we are sending two Aegis Destroyers to the area, the official word is that there's "nothing we can do". Last time this happened, the Bush administration was widely derided by the left for "creating a distraction" from attention to rising unemployment and an "utterly failed Iraq war under false pretenses" - both of which read as sort of comical given today's environment. So I ask my liberal friends: Is this just a diversion by the Obama administration from rising unemployment and failed bailouts or is North Korea now a real threat (vs a manufactured on under Bush) or is it neither? If they aren't a real threat, how will we know when they become one?
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    Default Re: North Korea

    Quote Originally Posted by dhyatt View Post
    Once again, North Korea is threatening a 'new' long range missile launch and though we are sending two Aegis Destroyers to the area, the official word is that there's "nothing we can do". Last time this happened, the Bush administration was widely derided by the left for "creating a distraction" from attention to rising unemployment and an "utterly failed Iraq war under false pretenses" - both of which read as sort of comical given today's environment. So I ask my liberal friends: Is this just a diversion by the Obama administration from rising unemployment and failed bailouts or is North Korea now a real threat (vs a manufactured on under Bush) or is it neither? If they aren't a real threat, how will we know when they become one?

    "Real threat"to whom? To South Korea? Definitely. To Japan? Very likely. To the United States? Not a chance in hell.

    And no, I see no evidence that it's a "diversion"....mainly because - unlike the Bush administration - I see no evidence that the administration is trying to advance the story and push it to the top of the newshole. Do you?
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    Default Re: North Korea

    Quote Originally Posted by chaboard View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dhyatt View Post
    Once again, North Korea is threatening a 'new' long range missile launch and though we are sending two Aegis Destroyers to the area, the official word is that there's "nothing we can do". Last time this happened, the Bush administration was widely derided by the left for "creating a distraction" from attention to rising unemployment and an "utterly failed Iraq war under false pretenses" - both of which read as sort of comical given today's environment. So I ask my liberal friends: Is this just a diversion by the Obama administration from rising unemployment and failed bailouts or is North Korea now a real threat (vs a manufactured on under Bush) or is it neither? If they aren't a real threat, how will we know when they become one?

    "Real threat"to whom? To South Korea? Definitely. To Japan? Very likely. To the United States? Not a chance in hell.

    And no, I see no evidence that it's a "diversion"....mainly because - unlike the Bush administration - I see no evidence that the administration is trying to advance the story and push it to the top of the newshole. Do you?
    Should we intercept it on South Korea of Japan's behalf? They are our allies after all.

    And no, I don't see Obama trying to push North Korea as a threat at all. On the contrary, he seems to be downplaying the notion that we have any enemies at all except for those in Afghanistan / Pakistan. I hope his appeasement stance works but I'm certain it won't. A "go ahead and shoot, we'll only respond once you hit us" strategy, coupled with "we will pull back our defenses in a gesture of trust" diplomacy seems like a huge and deadly leap backwards but I'm sure it's only me and the rest of the right wing nuts that feel that way. out.
    Last edited by dhyatt; 03-30-2009 at 01:42 PM.
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  4. #4
    DarylB Guest

    Default Re: North Korea

    Quote Originally Posted by dhyatt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chaboard View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dhyatt View Post
    Once again, North Korea is threatening a 'new' long range missile launch and though we are sending two Aegis Destroyers to the area, the official word is that there's "nothing we can do". Last time this happened, the Bush administration was widely derided by the left for "creating a distraction" from attention to rising unemployment and an "utterly failed Iraq war under false pretenses" - both of which read as sort of comical given today's environment. So I ask my liberal friends: Is this just a diversion by the Obama administration from rising unemployment and failed bailouts or is North Korea now a real threat (vs a manufactured on under Bush) or is it neither? If they aren't a real threat, how will we know when they become one?

    "Real threat"to whom? To South Korea? Definitely. To Japan? Very likely. To the United States? Not a chance in hell.

    And no, I see no evidence that it's a "diversion"....mainly because - unlike the Bush administration - I see no evidence that the administration is trying to advance the story and push it to the top of the newshole. Do you?
    Should we intercept it on South Korea of Japan's behalf? They are our allies after all.

    And no, I don't see Obama trying to push North Korea as a threat at all. On the contrary, he seems to be downplaying the notion that we have any enemies at all except for those in Afghanistan / Pakistan. I hope his appeasement stance works but I'm certain it won't. A "go ahead and shoot, we'll only respond once you hit us" strategy, coupled with "we will pull back our defenses in a gesture of trust" diplomacy seems like a huge and deadly leap backwards but I'm sure it's only me and the rest of the right wing nuts that feel that way. out.
    To quote Joe Biden,


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    Default Re: North Korea

    Quote Originally Posted by dhyatt View Post

    Should we intercept it on South Korea of Japan's behalf? They are our allies after all.
    What do you mean by "intercept it"? What action do you think we should be taking?

    And no, I don't see Obama trying to push North Korea as a threat at all. On the contrary, he seems to be downplaying the notion that we have any enemies at all .
    Then why the stuff in the previous post about it being a diversion? You can't have it both ways and simultaneously claim they're using it as a diversion AND they're downplaying it.

    Given how badly Bush's bellicose belligerence screwed up things in North Korea I think a little downplaying and calm adult reaction right now is probably a very, very good thing.
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    Default Re: North Korea

    Quote Originally Posted by chaboard View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dhyatt View Post

    Should we intercept it on South Korea of Japan's behalf? They are our allies after all.
    What do you mean by "intercept it"? What action do you think we should be taking?
    I'm not sure. It just seems fairly obvious that we were played (again) and that the 6 party talks were pointless. We now seem to be content to simply throw our hands up in the air and say "Oh Well...".

    Quote Originally Posted by chaboard View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dhyatt View Post
    And no, I don't see Obama trying to push North Korea as a threat at all. On the contrary, he seems to be downplaying the notion that we have any enemies at all .
    Then why the stuff in the previous post about it being a diversion? You can't have it both ways and simultaneously claim they're using it as a diversion AND they're downplaying it.

    Given how badly Bush's bellicose belligerence screwed up things in North Korea I think a little downplaying and calm adult reaction right now is probably a very, very good thing.
    I think you may have misunderstood my comment. The point I was trying to make was that it wasn't just some diversion under Bush. It was a problem then and it's still a problem. Looking the other way isn't going to make it go away.
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    Default Re: North Korea

    Quote Originally Posted by dhyatt View Post
    The point I was trying to make was that it wasn't just some diversion under Bush. It was a problem then and it's still a problem. Looking the other way isn't going to make it go away.
    No it's not. But I'll remind you that it only *became* a problem under Bush when he told them to go to hell and nullified the agreement that Clinton negotiated that kept them contentedly non-nuclear. Things were pretty good from 1994-2002, Bush unilaterally abandoned the deal and within 3 years they had working nukes.

    You're right, looking the other way isn't going to make it go away. But it's not clear that anything *else* will make it go away either. No nuclear power has ever willingly gone non-nuclear. The damage caused by disastrous Bush policy in this case is most likely irreparable and something we will have to live with forevermore.
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    Default Re: North Korea

    Quote Originally Posted by chaboard View Post
    [snip]

    No it's not. But I'll remind you that it only *became* a problem under Bush when he told them to go to hell and nullified the agreement that Clinton negotiated that kept them contentedly non-nuclear. Things were pretty good from 1994-2002, Bush unilaterally abandoned the deal and within 3 years they had working nukes.

    [snip]
    No surprise I'm sure but that's not the way I remember it. Please explain.
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    Default Re: North Korea

    Quote Originally Posted by dhyatt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chaboard View Post
    [snip]

    No it's not. But I'll remind you that it only *became* a problem under Bush when he told them to go to hell and nullified the agreement that Clinton negotiated that kept them contentedly non-nuclear. Things were pretty good from 1994-2002, Bush unilaterally abandoned the deal and within 3 years they had working nukes.

    [snip]
    No surprise I'm sure but that's not the way I remember it. Please explain.
    Which part do you not remember?


    Josh Marshall summed it all very well back in October 2006 (this is a very long excerpt but is not the entire article - it all deserves a reading):

    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.

    North Korea's nuclear program has been a problem for US presidents going back to Reagan, and the conflict between North and South has been a key issue for US presidents going back to Truman. As recently as 1994, the US came far closer to war with North Korea than most Americans realize.

    President Clinton eventually concluded a complicated and multipart agreement in which the North Koreans would suspend their production of plutonium in exchange for fuel oil, help building light water nuclear reactors (the kind that don't help making bombs) and a vague promise of diplomatic normalization.

    President Bush came to office believing that Clinton's policy amounted to appeasement. Force and strength were the way to deal with North Korea, not a mix of force, diplomacy and aide. And with that premise, President Bush went about scuttling the 1994 agreement, using evidence that the North Koreans were pursuing uranium enrichment (another path to the bomb) as the final straw.

    Remember the guiding policy of the early Bush years: Clinton did it=Bad, Bush=Not whatever Clinton did.

    All diplomatic niceties aside, President Bush's idea was that the North Koreans would respond better to threats than Clinton's mix of carrots and sticks.

    Then in the winter of 2002-3, as the US was preparing to invade Iraq, the North called Bush's bluff. And the president folded. Abjectly, utterly, even hilariously if the consequences weren't so grave and vast.

    Threats are a potent force if you're willing to follow through on them. But he wasn't. The plutonium production plant, which had been shuttered since 1994, got unshuttered. And the bomb that exploded tonight was, if I understand this correctly, almost certainly the product of that plutonium uncorked almost four years ago.

    So the President talked a good game, the North Koreans called his bluff and he folded. And since then, for all intents and purposes, and all the atmospherics to the contrary, he and his administration have done essentially nothing.

    Indeed, from the moment of the initial cave, the White House began acting as though North Korea was already a nuclear power (something that was then not at all clear) to obscure the fact that the White House had chosen to twiddle its thumbs and look the other way as North Korea became a nuclear power. Like in Bush in Iraq and Hastert and Foley, the problem was left to smolder in cover-up and denial. Until now.

    Hawks and Bush sycophants will claim that North Korea is an outlaw regime. And no one should romanticize or ignore the fact that it is one of the most repressive regimes in the world with a history of belligerence, terrorist bombing, missile proliferation and a lot else. They'll also claim that the North Koreans were breaking the spirit if not the letter of the 1994 agreement by pursuing a covert uranium enrichment program. And that's probably true too.

    But facts are stubborn things.

    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.

    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.

    The Bush-Cheney policy on North Korea was always what Fareed Zakaria once aptly called "a policy of cheap rhetoric and cheap shots." It failed. And after it failed President Bush couldn't come to grips with that failure and change course. He bounced irresolutely between the Powell and Cheney lines and basically ignored the whole problem hoping either that the problem would go away, that China would solve it for us and most of all that no one would notice.

    Do you notice now?
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    Default Re: North Korea

    Quote Originally Posted by chaboard
    ...
    President Clinton eventually concluded a complicated and multipart agreement in which the North Koreans would suspend their production of plutonium in exchange for fuel oil, help building light water nuclear reactors (the kind that don't help making bombs) and a vague promise of diplomatic normalization.
    ...
    So Clinton appeased them by giving them energy and nuclear technology while ignoring their continued development of a nuclear program yet when their nuclear program finally came to fruition - in spite of the utterly useless political showmanship of the 6 party 'talks' the left demanded - it was all Bush's fault. Clinton caved to extortion, Bush said we don't negotiate with terrorists (at least he got the rhetoric right, if not the action) and you blame Bush. I got it now

    All chest thumping aside, as a nation, the role of world policeman is an ill fitted suit thrust upon us by weak European politicians who love to second guess calls from the relative safety of their antiquated Euro-Socialist hideouts. Like a New York beat cop, we are d@mned if we take action to early and we are scorned if we fail to diffuse the bomb. Only if we catch the bad guys with the trigger pulled half way back, the fuse half way lit, are we afforded faint and fleeting praise.

    And the d@mnation and scorn? Most of it comes from within - from the party out of power, and endures long after the battle was joined.

    ...and I was wrong about Obama, he's no socialist.
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