I think ^(link) therefore I err

Saturday, July 08, 2006

N. Korea: not that simple

Some people just have all the easy answers. From their typewriters.
In the Washington Post today Jon B. Wolfsthal is recommending deterrance.
Over the long run, how can Americans be sure that some future "test" missile won't be fitted with a nuclear weapon and targeted on a US city? The short answer is they can't. But through a straightforward policy of deterrence we can eliminate any thought in North Korean minds that they can attack the United States and survive. President Bush should declare that any offensive missile fired at the United States or its allies in the region from North Korea would be an act of war requiring a swift and massive response. Such a clear, strong statement would reassure our allies and remove the incentive for North Korea to pursue its missile programs. Moreover, attaching the same consequences to any sales of long-range missiles to hostile states would eliminate the profit motive for North Korea . This is what Kennedy did when Russia deployed missiles to Cuba, and what Truman, Eisenhower, and Reagan did during the height of the cold war. The result helped prevent the use of Soviet nuclear weapons during the cold war and deterred China from similar pursuits. But the current uneven and confused response by the United States has led to a weakening of deterrence in East Asia and has allowed the dangerous belief to take root in North Korean minds, that it can successfully pursue its aggressive strategy. Nothing could be more dangerous for stability in the region.

Number 1 - We're dealing with a loonier dude here than even Saddam. So why would North Korea just stop what they are doing based on a threat from us? Saddam didn't. Remember the No fly zone war? Continuing.
U.S. allies and adversaries alike have to know that Washington will not stand by and let hostile nations threaten global security.

Number 2 - That's all well and good, if you can get U.S. allies and adversaries alike to agree to this. Doh. That's exactly what the President is trying to do. 6 nation talks and all vs bilateral talks. Mr. Wolfsthal puts this out there, but doesn't let anyone know how he would accomplish this task.
In January 2004 Mr. Wolfsthal wrote an article for the Christian Science Monitor essentially saying that we had lost credibility in the world. Yet with that hanging over us, he now wants us not only to threaten, but to act on these threats immediately and alone and yet somehow with the world community behind us. I don't think it's that simple.

Varifrank puts out 10 questions regarding the "simple answers" to N. Korea.