Posted by lex, on October 16, 2006
As a memo to those who couldn’t get behind Mr. Bush’s Middle Eastern Adventure because 1) they couldn’t grok this whole preventative war concept, or 2) or because that, notwithstanding all of those solid-gold toilets being installed atop the bones of tens of thousands of dead Iraqi children in Saddam’s “Palaces for Me” program, they thought it would be better to “give sanctions a chance” some more, or maybe because 3) Cowboy George was being all butch and unilateral and everything, there is this:
The consensus among weapons inspectors, intelligence analysts, academics and others I have interviewed—–which is backed up by the available open source material—-is that North Korea has developed anthrax, plague and botulism toxin as weapons and has extensively researched at least six other germs including smallpox and typhoid. It is also believed to have 5,000 tons or more of mustard gas, sarin nerve agent and phosgene (a choking gas). The Center for Nonproliferation Studies says North Korea ranks “amongst the largest possessors of chemical weaponry in the world.” South Korea’s military estimates half of North’s long-range missiles and 30 percent of its artillery are CBW capable.
This is an almost letter-perfect morality play in three parts: Faced now with a fait accompli in the elevation of a megalomaniacal tyrant into the world’s most exclusive club, we are left with very few palatable options indeed. Certainly, under the UNSC resolution recently engineered by Ambassador Bolton, et al we will have maritime police powers – the option to visit, board, search and seize WMDs and any their antecedents we might be so lucky to find at sea. Old fashioned cops and robbers this, as we try to prevent a cash-starved and amoral regime from continuing a long-established pattern of weapons proliferation to the world’s unfriendliest dictators and unfettered sociopaths. But if you’ve long been nostalgic for the idea of treating terror like a police problem – notwithstanding the fact that police are far better at punishing malefactors after the fact than preventing malefaction – well, happy days are here again! But these will be exciting times, given the fact that we’ve got to be good all the time, and Short Round only has to be lucky once. So let’s just keep those fingers crossed, mm-kay?
And since the North imports around 60% of their foodstuffs and energy supplies from the PRC, with a good sanctions regime in place we’ll have the opportunity to starve to death whatever North Korean peasants we can’t kill through exposure to the elements. Shouldn’t be hard to do, the wretched sods have next to nothing in terms of body fat, and look at the bright side: We’ll have forged a common bond with the Kim Chong Il regime, who up to now had to kill their own citizens with no help at all from anyone in the outside world, and after a while that gets to be a dreary chore. Still, and keeping things in perspective, the UN-sponsored ban on the import of luxury items has sent Pyongyang Leadership Cadres Exchange futures through the roof. That’ll hit old Short Round where it really hurts, unless the man is very much misunderstood. Getting China on board in support of this should be a trivial problem – fomenting a humanitarian crisis of biblical proportions on their border? What’s to hate?
And of course, we’ve been all multi-lateral and nuanced and everything, which should be most satisfactory to the pin-striped set. Six-party talks, memorandas for the record, Expressions of Concern: Most regular, everything in perfect order, just as it should be. Job well done.
The irony of all this is that the North Korean problem has pretty much been handled as best as it could have been: If you think that Iraq has been a mess, you would have been truly amazed at the carnage that would have come out of bombing North Korean nuclear weapons facilities, back when that was still an option. Those people up there don’t have much, and those who don’t have much don’t really have very much to lose.
Still, if you didn’t much like the way we got into Iraq, you owe it to yourself to be deeply satisfied at where we are with North Korea. It is in every way the apposite opposite.
Of course it’s also true that the world’s a much more dangerous place, and yes, it probably is time to polish up those “Who lost Los Angeles” talking points.
Just in case.