« Naughty North Korea | Main | If Dick Cheney Were A Lawyer... »

October 10, 2006

Comments

"...the discovery that someone has some motive that have induced them to lie or exaggerate implies...."

I think you dropped a "might".

Wow. Just, wow. Nice writing.

Excellent post, Hilzoy.

(Though: for them, the discovery that someone has some motive that [might] have induced them to lie or exaggerate implies that everything that person says can be dismissed in its entirety

This is not true. Or rather, it only applies to Democratic party supporters and those to the left of the Democratic party. No matter what motivation is discovered for Bush and other Republicans to lie and exaggerate, right-wingers on the whole show an almost childish faith that Bush has never lied to them.)

But: brilliant.

In re “This is one of the things that has always puzzled me about some right-wing bloggers…”

Ordering the world into immutable categories of black and white is eminently appealing in its simplicity and ability to turn complex subjects into readily understandable ones. As soon as someone or something can be so categorized, any subsequent problem can be instantly discerned and solved via reference to the initial definition of the relevant objects. It permits its practitioners the opportunity to avoid painful self-reflection, and it seems to be in keeping with the “gut” over “intellect” preference in much of popular US imagination. Adherence to this type of thinking, and loyalty to a leader who pretends to engage in it, provides solid footing in an otherwise shifting social, political, and economic landscape.

Many on the left are not immune to this either.

From the perspective of the administration, how/why are North Korean nukes a disaster?

I’m thinking in particular of justifying expenditures on missile defense systems, support for such systems within the administration and by those who build them, etc.

Many of us look at developments like this recent one in NK and assume that the administration is bumbling, but if we change our perspectives and operate from their assumptions and goals, which have been publicly expressed for quite some years now, “moving according to plan” seems like a more plausible description.

-“On any plausible view of our rationale for going to war with Iraq, North Korea had just revealed itself to be a much more serious threat than Iraq.” “It makes no sense at all, if you're actually worried about the threats in question.”

Unless the goal is for a permanent state of war where you only fight winnable wars against far weaker, conventionally armed opponents, seeking constant deterrence that requires massive investment in high-tech weapons against nuclear armed foes.

-“In May 2003, Bush "declared that the United States and South Korea “will not tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea.”" That's drawing a line in the sand and announcing that you will not allow it to be crossed. When the North Koreans removed the fuel from Yongbyon, they crossed what should have been a red line, one over which Clinton had been prepared to go to war. But Bush did nothing.”

Why? What does Bush’s stance imply or what might follow in terms of expenditures and policy if the line is crossed? Does such serve any agendas or interests?

-“In so doing, we forfeited our credibility. And that really is a foreign policy disaster.”

Is it? What if there was a greater goal than credibility? What about domestic policy?

-“Throughout this period, and later, the Bush administration seemed to have no consistent policy at all.”

If looked at from the lens I am suggesting, there is a good bit of consistency.

-“This would be fine if not negotiating with evil somehow caused its defeat…”

1)Cheney, et.al. wants to get rid of evil? Does the Pope want to get rid of Satan? J 2)Not entirely silent: there are quite a few folks who think such a policy worked well toward toppling the USSR.

What I see from many of the folks who not only think the US single-handedly engineered the defeat of the Soviets, but also think that the US should enjoy the fruits of that victory are a lot of win-win, from their perspective, set ups to foreign and domestic policy (Iraq, Latin America, GWoT, missile defense, etc.). NK’s nukes are just the latest in this otherwise domestically unchecked string of policy decisions.

-“It is the job of a leader to settle differences between his subordinates…” etc.

Is this where the power resides? Does the president in reality have all the power we often accord to him? Can you get elected to the Oval Office if you don’t look good on television?

-“Now we face the delightful prospect of one of the world's most loathsome and nutty dictators having nuclear weapons.”

“Most loathsome,” perhaps. But “nutty” in the sense of irrational? Even some on the right wing suggest he understands force (by which, unfortunately, many mean “death”).

-“Moreover, this particular dictator is known for his willingness to sell arms to anyone and everyone.”

See “Arsenal of Democracy.”

-“Do you feel safer now?”

Was this the point?

been singing this for years. no reason to stop now:

it's never Bush's fault
it's never Bush's fault
no matter what happens
it's never Bush's fault

What amazes me about this crisis is that the President, by declaring Iran, North Korea and Iraq the Axis of Evil, was stating that he considered them to be the greatest current threats to the country. However, in each case, he has gone on paths designed not to diffuse the crises (refusing to enter into talks with Iran, withdrawing from the Agreed Framework with N. Korea, and going to war with Iraq rather than letting the inspectors complete their work). And in each case, the situation is far worse now than it was then, and threatening to spiral out of control.

So exactly why does this Administration feel that foreign affairs is their strong point?

So exactly why does this Administration feel that foreign affairs is their strong point?

it's their strong point when it comes to elections. enough people like the way they talk about foreign policy to keep voting them in - maybe that's convinced them they're doing the right thing...

Excellent post, hilzoy, even if it leaves me wanting to go home again and pull the covers over my head.

Those interested might want to look at Selig Harrison's piece in the WaPo.

Your image link is broken. Did you catch Jon Stewart last night, asking James Baker how Clinton could possibly have failed to prevent this?

Careful hilzoy – you could get purged from the party for this :)

You have made a pretty compelling case here that we should have gone to war with NK when they moved those fuel rods. Implicitly you would seem to have supported that, even at the cost of 100,000 or so residents of Seoul. Also, it now seems that dealing with problems like this through the international community is a bad idea and we should act unilaterally. And it seems that the Executive should have more power and control than this one has demonstrated?

You seem to be undermining a few Democratic talking points here :)

I don’t really agree that succumbing to blackmail and kicking the can down the road make good foreign policy. Putting off dealing with such problems is kind of like putting off paying down your credit cards – the interest will kill you in the end.

BTW – this is very well written and a compelling read.

"This is one of the things that has always puzzled me about some right-wing bloggers: for them, the discovery that someone has some motive that might have induced them to lie or exaggerate implies that everything that person says can be dismissed in its entirety, without requiring any investigation into whether or not it is, you know, true."

Sounds like you are talking about Hasert and what he has had to put up with the last couple of weeks. However, I am sure that is somehow different for you.

It seems like you really should understand this. You and many others at this site have bought into the crap that's been sold numerous times only to find out that later it turned out not to be true. The whole Wilson scandal is just one example of many. So to answer your question just look into the mirror and ask yourself why you have jumped on the bash Bush bandwagon before all the facts were in.

But one thing that has always puzzled me about left-wing bloggers and the left in general is why they believe anyone can negotiate in good faith with those who aren't willing to negotiate in good faith at all.

The leader of NK is a murderer of his own people. I don't think anyone would argue that. Why would anyone believe that they can negotiate with someone who is so willing to sacrifice the lives of his own people?

Did/Does anyone really trust NK, Hussein and Islamic fascists to negotiate in good faith?


Why would anyone believe that they can negotiate with someone who is so willing to sacrifice the lives of his own people?

Anyone want to bet on how many pages of names Gary can drop offhand to put this particular sentiment in its place? I could probably do half a page myself but there have to be a crapload more.

[And of course, depending on one's notion of "sacrifice", we could include, um, every leader in history, even American presidents...]

I'm not sure how you can pull that out of what hil wrote, OCSteve, but regardless, you may be interested in Galluci's 2003 talk at MIT which requires RealPlayer.

bril,

Bush lied tens-of-thousands to their death and you want to talk about "good faith"?

That mirror is a bitch.

BTW, agree with TMK that your image link is now broken, though it was working fine last night. Server glitch?

How can you trust anyone who invokes what Hastert has to 'put up with'? A serious reality distortion field there.

Did/Does anyone really trust NK, Hussein and Islamic fascists to negotiate in good faith?

Or Karl Rove? Or GWB?

Seriously, one can make deals with bad people, building into the deal express commitments, certain consequences along a set spectrum, verification. You don't always have to trust people with whom you make a deal, if you can build in specific enforcement/security mechanisms. One would expect less than perfect compliance, but can nonetheless get a better result than chaos or direct uncontrolled conflict. The deal has to be good enough for the other side that they prefer it to conflict -- probably too tall an order for AQ. But either NK now or Iraq then could be dealt with. Or Iran.

There was a deal to be had with NK in 2001, a different deal in 2002, on down through a yet different deal to be had in 2006. They want a deal badly. We're the ones who are playing Hamlet with the whole concept over whether we want to deal with 'evil.' The problem with making a deal with NK, or Iran, is that once you've made a deal, you can't overthrow them unless they break the deal in a huge way. Because both insist on that being a term of the deal. And we won't do it. Why does that make you feel safe?

yeah, poor Hastert - he's being held responsible for things his position demands that he be held responsible.

"party of responsibility", indeed.

if Hastert goes, that will make how many GOP House/Senate leaders demoted by their own doing, in the past few years? Lott, Delay, Hastert? any others ?

Cleek,
ask Ray Lahood, as he gave a pretty good rundown on FTN. Had Bob Schieffer chuckling.

just a note on this:

for them, the discovery that someone has some motive that might have induced them to lie or exaggerate implies that everything that person says can be dismissed in its entirety, without requiring any investigation into whether or not it is, you know, true

there is no shortage of people on the left who fall into this trap - myself included. it's one of the reasons i don't read WorldNetDaily and Powerline or listen to Limbaugh; i can't get past the bias, to see if they're actually saying anything that's even true, let alone worth knowing.

Putting off dealing with such problems is kind of like putting off paying down your credit cards – the interest will kill you in the end.

It beats burning down the house to get the insurance money to pay off the mortgage.

Livingston, before he could even take power.

Cleek, I think we all would draw a serious distinction between someone spouting opinions for entertainment -- wherever they are on the spectrum -- and someone talking about events they have themselves experienced. I'd absolutely believe OCS and bril on the subject of what they had for breakfast this morning. On the genius of the Administration's North Korea policy, maybe not so much. What Hil is talking about above is not opinion spouting by partisan pundits, but fact statements by participants. Now of course there're always both Roshomon effects and liars to be taken into account, but we can pretty much all tell, just by reading, when we're dealing with someone choosing a fantasy narrative over reality.

Charleycarp--
as, I think, the administration acknowledged with the "reality-based community" comment.
btw, it's Rashomon (argh, that bandit gave me a rash! o, mon, it hurts!)

What Hil is talking about above is not opinion spouting by partisan pundits

really? 'cause she quoted Frontpage, Powerline and WhizzBang, immediately prior to her statement about motives.

but fact statements by participants....Roshomon effects

i'd never heard of that term, but i was about to reply with one of my favorite song lyrics (from the Talking Heads):

    Facts all come with point of view

and then i looked up "Roshomon effects" (Rashomon effects, actually), and discovered that's the formal name for what David Byrne was saying. and the circle of life is complete.

(well, it could be a formal name for it, i guess it's not a perfect fit. close enough for this thread, though)

Do You Feel Safer Now?

I don't want to feel safe, safe is boring. Give me the danger, excitement and fear that a reckless foreign policy produces. I remember what it was like back before 9/11, when I didn't have to worry about planes crashing from the sky, subway bombs, bus bombs, car bombs, and all the other assorted things that keep me on my toes today, and the warm, safe feeling I had back then was mind-numbing.

But today, I get to wonder whether the 10 to 20 delivery trucks parked outside my office building on any given day aren't what they appear. I wonder if they might explode at any moment, and picked my office building to explode in front of because the White House and IMF/World Bank buildings are too well protected, but my office building is just sitting there. It's like a cold shower in the morning, excruciating but it wakes you up, gets the blood pumping.

So bring on the NK Nuclear Weapon, the Iranian Nuclear Weapon, and who knows, maybe even the Cuban Nuclear Weapon! I won't be satisfied until the balance of terror is restored and we're back in the state of fear we had with MAD in the 70s and 80s. If we have to lose San Francisco or L.A., it's worth it! They vote for the wrong party anyway.

BushCo: Making you less safe, but it's fun!

Also, it now seems that dealing with problems like this through the international community is a bad idea and we should act unilaterally.

What you call "dealing with problems through the international community" is what hilzoy calls "relying on the good offices of the People's Republic of China." I prefer her assessment.

When conservatives act perplexed that liberals don't favor our policy of "multilateral negotiation" with North Korea, I'm not sure whether it's honest confusion or whether they're simply delighting in what they see as liberal hypocrisy. However, working cooperatively with other nations does not automatically preclude the notion of direct negotiations. In particular, many countries would like to see us engage in direct negotiations with NK rather than let the process bog down.

Yitzhak Rabin said: "You make peace with your enemies, not with your friends." I'm pretty sure no country feels they have honorable enemies who can be trusted; yet, diplomacy happens. We're not above it.

Steve: I think the "wait, I thought you liked multilateral diplomacy!" argument is a lot like the idea that because liberals "like" big government, it's hypocritical of us to complain that the Medicare prescription drug benefit is horribly constructed and dreadfully implemented policy. After all, it's big government; so what are we complaining about?

And as just one example, would we get such fascinating and entertaining stories such as this before 9/11? I don't think so:

Mr. Padilla’s dehumanization at the hands of his captors also took more sinister forms. Mr. Padilla was often put in stress positions for hours at a time. He would be shackled and manacled, with a belly chain, for hours in his cell. Noxious fumes would be introduced to his room causing his eyes and nose to run.
...
Additionally, Mr. Padilla was given drugs against his will, believed to be some form of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or phencyclidine (PCP), to act as a sort of truth serum during his interrogations.

Even if only 1/10th of it is true, sure beats fiction.

can the govt legally give someone LSD (or similar), especially without their consent ?

Dang, more excitement everywhere:

I don't know a single family here that hasn't had a relative, neighbor or friend die violently. In places where there's been all-out fighting going on, I've interviewed parents who buried their dead child in the yard because it was too dangerous to go to the morgue.

Of course, we get a couple of school shootings here in the U.S. and the President holds a summit. See? It's no worse in Iraq than here in the good ole USA.

can the govt legally give someone LSD (or similar), especially without their consent ?

I'd say yes, but why do you think that matters?

Andrew,

Are the John Bolton anecdote and the Dick Cheney quotation enough to count as a smoking gun?

The whole post has a smoking-crater effect on assertions that failure to negotiate was incompetence not policy and that blame should be widely shared.

Oh, and to OCSteve: thanks for the compliment. Aboutthe points you say I'm making:

"You have made a pretty compelling case here that we should have gone to war with NK when they moved those fuel rods. Implicitly you would seem to have supported that, even at the cost of 100,000 or so residents of Seoul. Also, it now seems that dealing with problems like this through the international community is a bad idea and we should act unilaterally. And it seems that the Executive should have more power and control than this one has demonstrated?"

Let's take them one at a time. I think that before we talk about going to war when the fuel rods were moved, it's worth wondering whether we could have done anything to prevent them from being moved in the first place. Whether serious and competent diplomacy could have made a difference, as it did under Clinton, is impossible to say, since we didn't have serious and competent negotiation. It would certainly have been worth a shot. Had it failed, and had I been President, I would have seriously considered war. (Naturally, I would not have been contemplating invading Iraq.) It's hard to say anything more than that, given that this is a hypothetical situation without details. But I would also have moved heaven and earth to prevent our reaching that point.

Going to war would, of course, have meant horrific consequences to the inhabitants of Seoul, and others. You can't consider war without considering that. One more reason to do things right before then, rather than playing cowboy.

I can't imagine why you think I think that dealing with problems through the international community is bad, or that the executive should have more power. The second just doesn't seem to me to follow from anything I said. The first might follow if I thought that "this particular instance of multilateral diplomacy was dumb" implied that multilateral diplomacy in general was a bad idea. But that would be like saying that the fact that I think it would be dumb to drive to my next door neighbor's house means that I am against driving in general, and am somehow committed to walking wherever I go.

In this instance, it would overlook (a) the possibility of objecting to a particular bit of multilateral diplomacy because it was inept, not because it was multilateral, and (b) the possibility of saying that multilateral diplomacy is often a good idea, just not in one particular situation. (I mean: I also think that multilateral diplomacy is in general not a good way to resolve marital difficulties, but no broader implications seem to me to follow from that.)

Bril:

"But one thing that has always puzzled me about left-wing bloggers and the left in general is why they believe anyone can negotiate in good faith with those who aren't willing to negotiate in good faith at all."

Pop over to Balloon Juice or Kevin Drum to see Donald Gregg (no sissy, he) quoted on why he is puzzled about this Administration's (something new in the annals of American diplomacy) refusal to even talk to enemies.

Then catch James Baker (that silly lefty blogger) making the rounds lately and voicing similar sentiments, although he is very diplomatic about it, the optimist.

Colin Powell always thought overwhelming force should be used -- after all kinds of talking and diplomatic back and forth. He must have listened to too much Joni Mitchell.

Further, it kills (my version of puzzled) me that right-wing bloggers and commenters can so easily dismiss diplomacy and plunge directly into war, and still have time to blog, considering how busy they are transporting body bags. The realism of it is bracing.

Then make room for snark and see if you can get in touch with a Mr Howards, who is suing the Secret Service because he was arrested for talking to Dick Cheney on a mountain town street while strolling with his 8-year old son.

It frankly beats me why anyone would try to talk to Cheney, let alone negotiate with him. Talk about idealists.

The North Korean murderer is not the only enemy this modern third party refuses to talk to. Much of the minority in the U.S. Congress, a good part of the scientific community, career, battle-tested military brass, and countless others haven't been talked to by the these new idealists, by choice, as strategy, with prejudice, since the first, elder, Republican, President Bush compromised (pardon the expression) on taxes
during his Administration.

Frank Luntz polled this strategy of clamping the mouth shut, crossing the arms in defiance, and refusing to eat peas, and found out 51% of the electorate had the same child-rearing philosophy as Barbara Bush: stop serving peas altogether and slather the kid in ice cream.

We'll leave out the Republican apostates, who now wander the countryside trying to strike up a conversation with someone .... anyone.

In George Bush the younger, this third party found its perfect character.

Good faith?

can the govt legally give someone LSD (or similar), especially without their consent ?

Project MKULTRA

From the link
The experiments were even exported to Canada when the CIA recruited Albany, New York doctor Ewan Cameron, author of the psychic driving concept which the CIA found particularly interesting....The CIA appears to have given him the potentially deadly experiments to carry out since they would be used on non-U.S. citizens.

La plus ca change...

I'd say yes, but why do you think that matters?

i'm making a list of pros and cons so i can make an informed decision about emigrating.

John,

People of all stripes have varying opinions. In particular I was curious about those on the left. What they think and why? Which is what I stated.

Why should it be considered a good thing for Bush to take the same approach that Clinton did? Isn't that what led us to this point? And what did Baker's strategy get for us?

Both only put off the problem making them worse in the long run.

Not sitting down at the table is an effective negotiating strategy. I find I use that all the time in business. You make your intentions clear and then you sit back and wait and watch. Barring a hostile action there usually isn't much to be gained otherwise. Sometimes there is. It just depends on who is sitting on the other side of the table.

"Further, it kills (my version of puzzled) me that right-wing bloggers and commenters can so easily dismiss diplomacy and plunge directly into war, and still have time to blog, considering how busy they are transporting body bags. The realism of it is bracing. "

Interesting... you try to point out to me some examples of people on the right who might have a different approach than Bush because I ask a questions about those on the left. Then you go on to blatantly generalize the right.

Please cite one example of anyone on the Left or Right who wanted to plunge directly into war without waiting 12 years for Hussein to dodge inspections and wait for the U.N. prove useless?

Even during the run up to the war we waited almost 10 months and went through the security council.

But if you want continue doing the very thing that you imply that I am doing feel free.

Why should it be considered a good thing for Bush to take the same approach that Clinton did? Isn't that what led us to this point?

No, I don't believe that.

My view is that the non-continuation of what Clinton did is what led us to this point.

Since I know that my 5:49 comment may sound conspiratorial (I think the operation is far more mundane and disconnected), a recent example from the news (according to the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/09/AR2006100901134.html) re Sen. George Allen’s dealings with a defense contractor):

“That's [“go[ing] to bat for [a] company with an arm of the federal government”] apparently what Mr. Allen did, in his first year in the Senate, when he intervened with the U.S. Army on behalf of a government contractor called Xybernaut Corp. According to the Associated Press, Mr. Allen joined Xybernaut's board shortly after leaving the governor's office; at the time he was urging the Army to help the firm, he still owned options to buy 110,000 shares of the company's stock.”

Again, “From the perspective of the administration, how/why are North Korean nukes a disaster?”

If we can’t answer this question, we are back to the argument Kevin Drum makes at Washington Monthly (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_10/009706.php) in asking how is it appropriate to cite incompetence in blaming Bush for NK having nukes?

bril: leaving aside the question whether scrapping Clinton's entire policy can be considered to be continuing that policy, I don't get this: "Both only put off the problem making them worse in the long run."

How did what Baker and Clinton's policies make the problem worse in the long run? The Agreed Framework didn't make them worse than simply not having the AF: general consensus is that had NK been creating and reprocessing plutonium all the while, it would have had something like a hundred nuclear bombs by now. Do you have in mind some other thing that we should have done instead? If so, what it is, and why do you think it would have been better?

Bril,

Since I’ve heard this claim mentioned recently (and I think it’s a fascinating argument), do you think that NK has the world’s 4th largest army? If so, why?

-“Please cite one example of anyone on the Left or Right who wanted to plunge directly into war…”

Neocons? The “we-should-have-finished-the-job-when-we-had-the-chance” crowd?

-“without waiting 12 years for Hussein to dodge inspections and wait for the U.N. prove useless?”

Or wait until Iraq was crippled by 12 years of bombing?

Do you recall the “official” version of waiting for sanctions to work?

Condensed and paraphrased:

A: “We know exactly where the WMDs are.”
Q: “Why don’t you let the inspectors know so that they can do their job?”
A: “We don’t want to give the enemy any information that can be used against us.”
(the Q I never heard asked): “Doesn’t this policy undermine inspections as much as Saddam’s efforts? How can you be sure then that inspections can’t work?”

>How can you be sure then that inspections can’t work?

inspections were irrelevant. the conclusion was accepted as gospel truth that a) there were WMDs and that b) Saddam was hiding them. the inspectors could either find WMDs and confirm 'a', or not find, and confirm 'b'. but there was no way war wasn't going to happen.

Bril:

Hilzoy was puzzled, then you were puzzled, then I expressed my puzzlement. Sounds like we share puzzlement, if I may generalize.

As to anyone who thought we should proceed directly to war before exhausting diplomacy, I'll second Otto. I thought Republican George Bush Sr was pretty much right in an imperfect world, when he didn't take Baghdad after Saddam's invasion of Kuwait because he took the realistic view that he didn't know what to with it once he owned it.

You ask, "Isn't that what led us to this point?" Fair enough. My problem with the party currently in power (which I think is actually a third party, not the Republican Party), is that they (not you, them) believe, like children, that every problem can be solved finally if we reach a clarifying moment. Clarifying moments occur few and far between; invading Afghanistan was the last one I can remember on the foreign policy front.

The problem of Saddam Hussein (while exaggerating that problem) can be solved without causing even bigger problems, and while not even considering what those problems might be (what diplomats do when they negotiate; get what they can -- a little bit better world without making things worse). Not a clarifying moment, except for folks (not you, them) like the current members of the White House whose every moment with every issue is crystal clear.

"And what did Baker's strategy get for us?"

An imperfect world, which is better than what we have now. Besides, if I can't agree with James Baker, a Republican, even provisionally in a comment thread to cause a little discussion, I might as well go back to generalizing.

I can agree with Harry Truman (not happily) that Hiroshima was necessary in its time and place, and also agree with him and Roosevelt that invading the Soviet Union while we happened to be in the area in 1945 would have been an unwise military decision. Let Hitler and Napoleon remain as the overreachers.

The New Deal and the Great Society can be swept away, finally solving that problem utterly and completely, without considering other problems that might crop up if both were indeed swept away, you know, the same ones that led to the programs in the first place. Yet another example of the hopeless romanticism of the current idealists.

What happened to unintended consequences?

By the way, stick around. You're more fun to argue with than Andrew. ;)

What happened to unintended consequences?

The current group of clowns are convinced that they're immune to them.

"Do you have in mind some other thing that we should have done instead?"

That's partially the reason I asked the questions I did. No one can prove that the path of Baker and Clinton were better than Bush II. Only history will tell us. But we can prove that Baker/Bush I and Clinton really just avoided the core issues and passed them on to Bush II. Unless of course, you have faith in the benevolent dicators of the world. Then this discussion ends here. If you trust these kinds of people then go ahead and get them to sign the papers, make agreements and exchange gifts with them. But that really didn't get much for Clinton, Russia in WW 2 or the Trojans for that matter.

Many here would argue, "We had Hussein trapped in a box." But the reality is there was no effective way of keeping Hussein in the box unless he wanted to stay in it. Which I assume that no one here is naive enough to believe that he would have done so. If anyone does believe that we could have kept Hussein boxed in that also ends the discussion. I've seen you do all kinds of posts about how wrong Bush always is without ever contemplating what Iraq would look like if the U.S. had never gone in. Possibly like NoKo today. Now you might say well if he would have negotiated with NoKo like Clinton they wouldn't have developed the bombs. Maybe and maybe pigs fly. Regarding Iraq, I think ISG even said that while they didn't find weapons they found strong intent:

Saddam’s primary goal from 1991 to 2003 was to have UN sanctions lifted, while maintaining the security of the Regime. He sought to balance the need to cooperate with UN inspections—to gain support for lifting sanctions—with his intention to preserve Iraq’s intellectual capital for WMD with a minimum of foreign intrusiveness and loss of face. Indeed, this remained the goal to the end of the Regime, as the starting of any WMD program, conspicuous or otherwise, risked undoing the progress achieved in eroding sanctions and jeopardizing a political end to the embargo and international monitoring.

The introduction of the Oil-For-Food program (OFF) in late 1996 was a key turning point for the Regime. OFF rescued Baghdad’s economy from a terminal decline created by sanctions. The Regime quickly came to see that OFF could be corrupted to acquire foreign exchange both to further undermine sanctions and to provide the means to enhance dual-use infrastructure and potential WMD-related development.

By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support. Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime, both in terms of oil exports and the trade embargo, by the end of 1999.

Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability—which was essentially destroyed in 1991—after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability—in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks—but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities.

And what is the implication of that down the road if we didn't invade? Maybe nothing and maybe something. It all depended on Hussein. Not very smart to be forced into a position of having to hope for the best with him. Maybe intent isn't a good enough standard for war. I can accept that as a logical position that I don't agree with in this instance.

The critics "know" that this is all Bush's fault and if he had just been reading Obsidian Wings and listening to all the really smart people and not been under the influence of all those evil neo-cons things would have turned out much better. Many accuse Bush of being arrogant. The most arrogance I see on display is the many Americans who think that we can control the rest of the world just by sending a nasty letter and some tomahawks.

Bush is taking so much flak for the path he has chosen and some of the criticism is deserved. The gov't has made many mistakes in the past, present and we know they will in the future. But whose to say that confronting these regimes today isn't the best path? While I hate that the Iraqis have had to suffer so much I am happy that we finally removed Hussein. While I hate that NoKo has the bomb I am glad that the entire world sees the intention of the regime clearly. I only wish that as a nation we showed more resolve. I think that would help discourage our enemies and make them easier to defeat. I think they draw great strength from the belief that they can wait us out and achieve a victory brought about by our own diviseness. I know they must draw strength because I feel the discouragement in it. I sometimes wonder can we really achieve victory without our fellow Americans. I am not sure we can.

So you want to know what path I would choose? I would choose the path were 300 million Americans speak with one strong voice telling the dictators of the world to tread carefully else face our wrath in full.

If we had taken that path Iraq would look different today and there would be more hope for all in the middle east.

Otto,

"Doesn’t this policy undermine inspections as much as Saddam’s efforts? How can you be sure then that inspections can’t work?"

You can't trust a cheater not to cheat. You can hope he doesn't cheat. You can do your best to prevent him from cheating. But when it comes to your personal well being or national security you can never ever trust that a cheater won't cheat. Taking the risk just isn't wise. To make it simpler. You don't loan your hard earned money to a former hustler without making yourself look like a fool.

While I hate that the Iraqis have had to suffer so much I am happy that we finally removed Hussein.

Awwwww, that's sweet. You should put that on your Christmas Xmas holiday cards this year.

I only wish that as a nation we showed more resolve. I think that would help discourage our enemies and make them easier to defeat.

"Clap louder!"

I know they must draw strength because I feel the discouragement in it.

What are you, Chancellor Palpatine?

I would choose the path were 300 million Americans speak with one strong voice telling the dictators of the world to tread carefully else face our wrath in full.

Never, ever disagree with Daddy Bush. He knows what's best for you!

Unless of course, you have faith in the benevolent dicators of the world.

Idi Amin, Marcos, Pinochet, Ceaneasceau, Tito, Stalin et al, Gaddafi, De Klerk for starters. The pottery barn rule, you break it, you own it. If you don't understand that South Korea and China did not want and do not want the total collapse of North Korea for reasons having to do with their own stability, then you do not understand the situation. South Korea does not even want a East/West Germany situation on their hands, and North Korea is 100 times worse off than East Germany ever was if not more. Reducing this to metaphors about loaning hustlers money turns a real life situation into a black and white one. What is lost with the greys is an understanding of why the obvious answers never seem to be the ones that are taken.

I thought Republican George Bush Sr was pretty much right in an imperfect world, when he didn't take Baghdad after Saddam's invasion of Kuwait because he took the realistic view that he didn't know what to with it once he owned it.

Richard Clarke strongly defends that decision in his book. The real reason we couldn't "go to Baghdad," though, was not fear of nation-building, but because the Arab allies we had brought into the Gulf War coalition had insisted on a promise that we wouldn't do so.

Liberals, did you ever imagine you'd be praising Bush 41? But this was a classic example of what liberals favor: you build partnerships with key allies, giving your enterprise added legitimacy, the price being that you have to subordinate your agenda just a bit. To the neocons, this is a major bug, and if we hadn't worried about recruiting all those Arab allies we could have done the right thing and finished Saddam off.

Many here would argue, "We had Hussein trapped in a box." But the reality is there was no effective way of keeping Hussein in the box unless he wanted to stay in it. Which I assume that no one here is naive enough to believe that he would have done so. If anyone does believe that we could have kept Hussein boxed in that also ends the discussion.

Everyone seems to agree that diplomacy is an imperfect solution. But what I'm not seeing in the anti-diplomacy arguments is a recognition of just how imperfect military solutions are as well. And it's hard to understand how that's not foremost in everyone's mind, seeing what a mess we've made of things in Iraq. You solve one problem, you create new ones.

Was there ever a more just war than WWII? And yet, even though Hitler was destroyed and Germany and Japan went on to become solid members of the brotherhood of nations, the world paid a high price in other respects, most notably the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. (Forgive me, President Ford, I had to say it.)

Yes, Clinton's negotiations with North Korea simply kicked the can down the road to some extent. However, if he had taken the bull by the horns and ordered military strikes on North Korea, that would have been an imperfect solution as well. The cost would have been high, and we would have created new problems in North Korea and the wider region that would have fallen to a future President to deal with as well. There was never an opportunity for Clinton, or any other President, to tie the whole thing up in a nice little bow.

Come on, Steve. Clearly the answer to the WW2 problem is that we should have invaded the Soviet Union before they got a chance to do their domination. In fact, we should have been fighting them while we were fighting Germany and Japan. Things would have turned out much better, I'm sure. After all, as Bril says, we can't negotiate with evil dictators, and surely Stalin was an evil dictator. We just had to have the will, and a strong voice.

But that's all water under the bridge. Right now, we've got to get busy invading Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, and every other country whose rulers are evil. When faced with evil, military action is the only option.

Well, there is a school of thought which says that FDR sold us out at Yalta, our troops should have kept on marching straight to Moscow, etc. Maybe I should take this viewpoint more seriously, but I guess I just don't. The American public was ready to declare victory, not to resign itself to yet another long war, and given the extent of the war effort I can hardly blame them.

Well, there is a school of thought which says that FDR sold us out at Yalta,

I was there that day, pounding the table with my shoe demanding that we invade the U.S.S.R. and then keep right on moving through Mongolia, China and then the rest of South East Asia, finishing up on New Zealand's south island (beautiful place, makes some damn fine wine too).

FDR, being the bleeding heart pacifist he was, was having none of it, despite the best efforts of my shoe.

This is why North Korea has nukes today (well, that and the New Deal).

I would choose the path were 300 million Americans speak with one strong voice telling the dictators of the world to tread carefully else face our wrath in full.

And when they give us the finger, as dictators are wont to do, with what army shall we disburse our wrath O Great Ozymandias?

Yes, Steve, I was particularly thinking of Bush's revival of that school of thought last year and the ensuing blogospheric discussion.

Anarch,

Mit vot armee? I beleef it is only a kvestchun auf VILL!

I would choose the path were 300 million Americans speak with one strong voice telling the dictators of the world to tread carefully else face our wrath in full.

And I'd like to buy the world a Coke.

More seriously (or less, as the case may be), part of the disagreement is a question of philosophy regarding foreign policy: "Realpolitik? As quaint as the Geneva Conventions. Appropriate for a bipolar world, but not so much now." Or so the thinking goes. Christopher Hitchens' "Realpolitik: A Game Gone Tilt" is a good essay to read in re Iraq.

bril,

-"You can't trust a cheater not to cheat. You can hope he doesn't cheat..."

Of course not (assuming for the sake of argument that behavior and motivation are static), which is why it is unwise to pin all hopes on the good faith of an opponent and instead work to create mechanisms to check the cheating. But is that really the choice of options here: good faith versus eradication?
And what about penalties, in either direction? Saddam is reckoned to have killed approx. 1/4 of a million Iraqis, but 16 years of "coalition" bombs and sanctions have killed at least (!) three times that number.

Since the 1945 march on the USSR theme has been broached, one of the fascinating things about the “it’s-only-a-matter-of-will”/neocon perspective is its near complete disregard for public opinion, save for everyone speaking with “one strong voice.” Up to 1945, thanks in no small part to a massive US propaganda effort, Russians were perceived by many Americans as damn good people. If Patton wants to advance on Moscow, how do you get the public in favor of something that requires a complete reversal of opinion? (Incidentally, that a few years later many Americans saw these same Russians as minions in a not-to-be-trusted evil empire is an interesting collective memory phenomenon.) Will someone of the “one strong voice” persuasion please tell me how they reconcile this attitude with democracy, if in fact they see democracy as compatible with “one strong voice”? Diversity of opinion needs to be suspended in times of war?! If we can’t produce unanimous public support (or a close proximity), perhaps the idea to start or continue a war isn’t such a good one?

I think a lot of people would agree that democracies are weaker when it comes to matters of war than more totalitarian systems of government. The ideological dispute is whether that constitutes a bug or a feature.

"The ideological dispute is whether that constitutes a bug or a feature."

It is both. They aren't likely to start wars but they tend to under-react to threats toward the beginning and then over-react later.

bril writes: "I would choose the path were 300 million Americans speak with one strong voice telling the dictators of the world to tread carefully else face our wrath in full."

That's certainly not going to happen under Republican leadership.

The worst thing they can conceive of doing to another human being is to raise their taxes. So as far as 'wrath' goes, that isn't very intimidating.

And it also puts a self-imposed cap on our war effort.

I think a lot of people would agree that democracies are weaker when it comes to matters of war than more totalitarian systems of government. The ideological dispute is whether that constitutes a bug or a feature.

in CivIII, it's a feature; your cities are happier, more productive and are the envy of the world, but they will not tolerate long wars. that is not always bad, since neighbor cities will often switch allegiance to your country spontaneously. and, the way to keep from being attacked is to keep all the other countries dependent on you for trade.

and then you Win, when you get to Alpha Centauri first.

OT: Dear Obwi powers that be, I think this story - Study Claims Iraq's 'Excess' Death Toll Has Reached 655,000 - is worthy of a thread of it's own.

We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.

--GWB 2002.

"Well, I could declare that my policy will henceforth be to win the lottery, secure world peace, and cure cancer; but in the absence of any actual plan for achieving these goals, this wouldn't be a policy at all. It would just be a bunch of meaningless words. "

You really don't understand the mindset. Remember, these are the people that think reporting on losing in Iraq causes us to lose in Iraq. Words are reality. That's all there is to it.

Democracies are not weaker per se, the key point is your ability to justify the war to the citizenry accross the political spectrum. So, if a democracy starts a indeterminate police action or intervention in a far foreign land for unclear motives, well then the citizenry will support victories but not defeats and not long wars.

If on the other hand the democratic country is attacked by an agressor, well then the citizens will suffer all hardship and tolerate victories and defeats until exhaustion. If the citizenry is convinced that the cause is just then war weariness does not become a handicap. The second point about democracies is that they tend to have more efficient and effective buraucracies then dictatorships and are better at mobilizing human resources in total war situations. It's counterintuitive from what people casually think but if you look at the WWI and WWII historical record the facts become clear very quickly. The inefficiency of the Third Reich and other fascist nations during WWII is particularily evident.

In light of this the greatest mistake President Bush has made in his Wars was to fight the them politically as a republican partizan instead of as a unity President. Bush should have gone out of his way to embrace Democrats, even those he didn't like, because in a true war it's not about liking your political opponents it is about needing them for the sake of the country. But Bush's war has been executed int he most unserious fashion which is why it is failing.

The idea that we've _ever_ been faithful to the principle of refusing to negotiate with dictators who murder their own people is obviously ridiculous. Saddam Hussein is only one example of dictators that we've coddled when we've needed to. Do we really need to list all the South American dictators that Henry Kissinger made comfortable? Please. Besides which--and I've never received an answer to this--if Saddam Hussein's connections to Osama bin Laden and 9/11 were so tenuous that evidence needed to be concocted for them (the Secret Meeting in Prague!), then why wouldn't we instead attack the Sudan, which has met with, welcomed, and supported Osama prior to 9/11, and he them (not to mention that they've killed tens of thousands of their own people, in numbers that must make Saddam Hussein blush at his inadequacy).

That said, yes, Kim Jong Il is a detestable dictator, probably the most dangerous and evil one alive today. Nor, even, is it entirely Bush's fault that the situation is intractable.

But I have to say, if all your cards are showing, you don't bluff with all your chips. We were stupid enough to go into Iraq for absolutely no good reason--we were under no threat, and while Saddam Hussein was detestable also, there _were_ greater threats out there--and show the world that we're completely inept. Our soldiers managed the _invasion_ just fine; but, of course, there were no proper plans for the _occupation._ So yes, that is Bush's fault.

What does that have to do with North Korea? Simple--North Korea tested it Taepo Dong, and now, presumably, a nuke, for the same reason Iran tested its Hut missile last year: to say "F--- You" to the United States. They're chest-puffing, and they're doing it because we've proved ourselves incapable in Iraq. How much better will we do against a North Korea with mostly mediocre planes, and no great Navy, it's true, but with a million-man army, nukes, and one of the densest defense systems in the world? Not to mention many missiles that can reach Japan, which is a huge component of our (and the world's) economy. An economy that North Korea cares _nothing_ about preserving, but that would damage us hugely if it were attacked.

A nation should have diplomatic, military, economic/trade, and financial incentives at its disposal. Our President, Vice President, and Defense Secretary have spat upon all but one of those supports for our foreign policy, and that remaining support, the military option, will be a disaster in North Korea. It will be a disaster for North Korea too, and maybe even for Kim Jong Il, but it will be ruinous for us. We are in no way prepared for war with North Korea.

Great post.

The second point about democracies is that they tend to have more efficient and effective buraucracies then dictatorships and are better at mobilizing human resources in total war situations. It's counterintuitive from what people casually think but if you look at the WWI and WWII historical record the facts become clear very quickly. The inefficiency of the Third Reich and other fascist nations during WWII is particularily evident.

True--also, if you want the best WWII-era evidence of that, then look no further than Russia. Russia was a perfect dictatorship after the Purges of 1936-39 (which some say he modeled on Hitler's own Night of the Long Knives), but it decimated their military leadership so that in 1941, when they had about twice the number of (admittedly inferior) aircraft, and twice the number of (perfectly fine) tanks, the Nazis obliterated them. This was largely because of the stupid mistakes of inexperienced field commanders.

In light of this the greatest mistake President Bush has made in his Wars was to fight the them politically as a republican partizan instead of as a unity President. Bush should have gone out of his way to embrace Democrats, even those he didn't like, because in a true war it's not about liking your political opponents it is about needing them for the sake of the country.

I think you're exactly right, and good point--and I think that the reason he didn't is plainly because he cared only for his own political fortunes, and, I'm afraid, not much at all for the country (see under Katrina--Failure to Pay Attention to).

"The significance of this is that you can make nuclear weapons from plutonium a lot faster than from uranium."

"(As I said, uranium is slower.)"

"a North Korea that works for years without being able to get enough uranium for one bomb"

I just have to say that this phraseology, ignoring the vital distinction between "uranium" (238) and uranium-235 is driving me absolutely batty. Every statement above about "uranium" is flat wrong. It's U238 that they have plenty of, and it's deriving 235 from it that's slow. You can make a bomb quite quickly with U235. They have plenty of "uranium," in fact, enough to make as many bombs as they like, once they turn it into U235, which is the slow part -- not any lack of "uranium."

"North Korea has been reprocessing spent fuel into uranium"

This is outright gibberish, I'm afraid. They've not been turning other substances into uranium. This is the result of not using the elementary school concepts of U238 and U235. Isotopes =/ not complicated. Argh, make it stop, please.

You know, when I mention "uranium" in the context of fission bombs, I assume that it's understood that I'm talking about U-235. And I also assume that it's understood that in the same context when I'm discussing plutonium that what I'm really referring to is Pu-239. Although in the latter case, it's less...ahem...critical that it's refined to high-grade.

They've not been turning other substances into uranium

They have, though, been turning uranium into plutonium.

Otherwise, no arguments. Natural uranium is plentiful; uranium that will serve as excellent bomb material is much harder to come by, as you say. Yellowcake != lots of bombs.

What amazes me is that right wingers have been trained like dogs to fear any dime U.S. Citizen George Soros spends on liberal causes attempting to beat back their authoritarian aims, when the conservative movement owes its rise to power to the BILLIONS that non citizen Sun Myung Moon has spent the last 25 years propping up the most extreme among them. Moon didn't do it by himself but who thinks that absent his billions and front groups boosting the new right over the fence they would control our government? Think about it. The Washington Times - the voice of the right for years with inordinate influence over the right politically - is NOT the product of the free market of ideas.

Moon has a stated goal of the "natural subjugation of the American government and population." What does he mean by that? That he wanted democracy torn down and an authoritarian, homophobic and increasingly theocratic America to replace it and the right has walked hand in hand with him, helping him the whole way.

Soros is a penny pincher compared to the BILLIONS Moon spent propping up and molding the right into his image. Read about the swindled cash Moon did this with here.

Read about one of the many ways the right worked with their Savior to tear down the wall between church and state here.

Amazing that no one mentions this, EVER.

Did I mention that while the right's savior, Sun Myung Moon, had his propaganda paper, the Washington Times, giving the left hell for not throwing money up the dead hog's ass called Star Wars, Moon was busy funding North Korea?

Read some of that here and here.


Talk about working with and honoring our enemies.

Well as far as Sun Myung Moon is concerned, he's the person of whom I think: "If I ignore him, maybe he'll go away." Please, I hope.

Although in the latter case, it's less...ahem...critical that it's refined to high-grade.

Boo!

"Amazing that no one mentions this, EVER."

Except for zillions of people, lots of the time, you're otherwise correct.

Here's a post, and here's another, for example. Here I mention the "Moonie paper," and here's another.

I will now declare, following Jesse Jackson, that I Am Somebody, and that those posts are lots more than never.

I believe the fact that the Washington Times isn't frequently discussed as being the Moonie paper all that often is because everyone knows it. I mean, he started it twenty-four years ago. It's not precisely news to anyone, unless you don't get out very much.

It's also not as if the "coronation" of Moon in Congress didn't get about 8 bajillion blog posts.

Should we discuss Richard Mellon Scaife now?

True, Gary, and now might be a good time to discuss the relations between Moon and North Korea in light of current events. If you have any posts that highlight that relationship, republishing them might be a public service. (unless, of course, you are a gay Republican staffer intent on destroying the Republicans and by extension, the US, from the inside ;^)) Here's the Counterpunch article by Wayne Masden and some other interesting info from Common Dreams

Madsen is a hindrance to reality.
Read these:
http://www.benedictionblogson.com/?p=2742

http://blogs.salon.com/0003494/2006/10/09.html

Ok, "ever" was too strong in "blog" world but in the rest of the world it fits and that was my point. Certainly when it comes to the news the majority see. But even blog world fails to understand him or there would be more than posts on the crowning, which is mostly what you will find.

Congratulations btw, one of those posts you linked too was quite good and actually added to or helped people understand the story.

I know "blogs" have some knowledge of Moon. But most of the time all you will get is someone posting that he was crowned, which isn't even important as to who Moon is and what he is doing. So he was crowned, again people took that as more reason to look at him as if he was a clown. They looked no further.

How many times have you seen him mentioned on TV? Let alone in the context of his stated goals and how is actually pulling it off?

How many times has anyone said, "Well. so what? George Soros? The right has been brought to power with billions of dollars of Moon's overseas swindled cash."

How many times have you pushed for someone to say that? Once?

What's his number one front group now and what are they doing and why? Do you know? Whoop dee doo, some bloggers found out a couple years ago he existed, 25 years after he started his deed. He had to have himself crowned before most even realized he was alive.

Blogworld is not the world. Try surveying the world. Most don't know Moon is alive let alone that he has an inordinate amount of influence on their lives. They will find out.

Moon outspent Scaife bringing the right to power. How many know that?

"Blogworld is not the world. Try surveying the world."

Thank you for your helpful advice.

It's possible that writing on blogs about how what people read on blogs doesn't matter is not as useful as it might be.

Neither is berating people you don't know about their alleged ignorance.

It might even be taken as a tad presumptuous, or even rude.

You might possibly wish to reconsider these techniques. Or not.

I believe the fact that the Washington Times isn't frequently discussed as being the Moonie paper all that often is because everyone knows it.

Even I knew that. Maybe Gary will 'splain just what that means, in terms of common knowledge.

Anyway--how about that North Korea, eh?

"Anyway--how about that North Korea, eh?"

Well, much to say. Fun place for golfers, and great place to eat.

So far as I can tell, I have over 200 posts on the People's Democratic Republic, and most of them are kinda funny.

What amazes me is how little of this has been explained by Time, Newsweek, et al. Great piece, truly fair and balanced. It's certainly made me reanalyze my view of Clinton vis-a-vis NK.

Fred Kaplan wrote:

Carter's trip was widely portrayed at the time as a private venture, unapproved by President Clinton. However, a new book about the '94 North Korean crisis, Going Critical, written by three former officials who played key roles in the events' unfolding, reveals that Clinton recruited Carter to go."

I recently saw President Carter speak to this during a C-Span interview. Without the transcript in front of me my recollection is that Carter said sent a letter to the White House saying he was going to North Korea regardless of whether or not President Clinton would sanction his trip. Carter said he was very concerned with how events were unfolding. Clinton was out of the country at the time and Vice-president Gore held up the letter.

Gore told Carter if he changed the wording of the letter to say that Carter would be inclined to go North Korea regardless of the White House position that Gore would become an advocate for the trip. President Carter, with an assist from Vice-president Gore, was the driving force behind the 1994 Carter trip and certainly the former president was not "recruited" for the trip by the White House.

During this C-Span interview Carter explained his view of the tension that has been present in his relationship with President Clinton.

The WaPo makes an attempt at getting at the deeper undercurrents in the story. Unfortunately, this was on page 16.

I have over 200 posts on the People's Democratic Republic, and most of them are kinda funny.

Well I certainly have nowhere near that many, maybe 10. But I haven't been able to manage much humor. Above all, I've been most concerned that things are hotting up in the neighborhood between North Korea and the West; between China and Japan, over energy such as the natural gas deposits in southwest Japan (or south China, depending on your point of view in the dispute) or over Japan's war history; between Japan and North Korea, over North Korea's missile tests across Japan's bow; Japan's Abe, making sounds recently about perhaps launching a strike against the DPRK (!); the recurring background crackle between China and Taiwan (the latter another very important trading partner to the US, but fortunately perhaps, to the People's Republic too); and finally, the Taepo Dong 2 and nuke tests, failures though they may have been.

The main reason for my concern is not North Korea's offensive capacity toward the US (I think that, without a better-equipped airforce or navy, they haven't much, besides--big besides--terrorism of one kind or another). It's their defensive capacity, with their million-man armed forces, and their air defence, and the threat they pose to Japan.

I think it's absolutely crucial that someone, whether a government body, or the Financial Times or the Economist, for that matter, to do a serious study of what war between North Korea and Japan would mean for the world's economy. This would be highly speculative, but you can make highly-educated guesses about what would happen.

liberal japonicus, thanks for the link. It's interesting to see the commonality between all these different administrations. Again, I lament that our farce in Iraq is undercutting our efforts to bring North Korea back from becoming a nuclear-armed dictatorship.

North Korea just announced (according to our local TV news) that they regarded the UN sanctions as "an act of war."

Pray that we do not go to war with them at this time. These people will wage total war; Japan, vitally important to our economy, is well within range of them; we cannot invade them, as their air and ground defense is among the most dense and well-manned in the world; they have nothing to lose, being a barracks state with no economy to speak of; and, of course, they have a million-strong regular armed forces, with 4.7 million regularly-trained reservists, and nuclear weapons.

We are in a very precarious and tense situation now, my friends. It's been hotting up for some years now, especially the last few years, and, remembering especially the economic impact of involving Japan, we could stand to lose a lot more than just losing face in another Vietnam. Pray.

Since I don't see it in this thread, it's been confirmed that North Korea did indeed test a nuclear device, although it was likely only a partial success.

and nuclear weapons

I'd just like to point out, despite ther not being many who don't know this, that exploding a nuclear weapon and having nuclear warheads for your missiles are quite different things. Recall how massive our first atomic bombs were, compared with something that might ride atop a guided missile.

Fat Man and Little Boy weighed approximately 5 tons each. Taepodong can throw maybe 1 ton. Then there's the matter of fuzing and packaging, among others.

That said, of course we don't want to go to war with North Korea. Besides, I think China has dibs. Not that we want that, either, but China might. I don't know that North Korea is big enough for China to want to bother with, though.

The reader will kindly forgive the lack of clear delineation of quotes and assorted misspellings, above. I'm a bit rumpled today.

Or not, as pleases the reader.

anarch--
yup, I see that too, i.e. about the confirmation via atmospheric sampling.

And since the sampling proves it was a plutonium-based bomb, rather than a uranium-based bomb, I think it is fair to say that this bomb is 100% Bush's baby.

If we had stayed on the course that Clinton had us on, this bomb never would have happened--despite the fact that NoKo was--gasp!--cheating! by reprocessing uranium.

By staying engaged, we kept the plutonium bottled up, and the uranium was decades away from an explosion.

By adopting the policy of pouting, posturing, and acting pissy, Bush allowed this bomb--the very bomb that just went boom--to be made.

Bush's bomb. No wonder it was a bit of a dud.

Very true, Slartibartfast, and I don't think there's any danger any time soon, despite alarming things we may google, of North Korea being able to reach us with nuclear-tipped ICBMs. Their missiles seem to be able to reach as far as Japan, and that's all. Their danger to Japan, their danger to us should we invade them, and the danger of them doing extreme damage to us through terrorism, are the real dangers.

And true, Anarch. My trusty (?) local TV news reported that it was about one kiloton.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad