North Korea is explosive. The smoke has not cleared on the recent event in North Korea. The fallout is uncertain. In 2002, Bush decided to threaten and provoke three countries which were doing little good but did not require taunts Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” tirade in the State of the Union speech in January, 2002 polarized countries that needed to be engaged. Bush of all people should understand North Korea’s Kim Jong Il because they are similar personalities, although each lacks the ability to understand other world views. In 2003, Bush proceeded to implement long-simmering plans to invade the wrong country and destabilize the world. Both Iran and North Korea responded rationally to a direct threat and pursued the only promising course of action under the circumstances. They accelerated their development of the Bomb. [See the e-ssay dated March 27 entitled “The ‘Bush Doctrine’ In Foreign Policy.”] The Bomb compels respect.
A country should pursue one unwavering policy toward its friends and towards its enemies talk, talk, talk. Bush willfully alienates America’s friends and steadfastly refuses to speak to its enemies. Bush has played the military card and undermined a military response other than one delivered incompletely by air. Diplomatic responses may not be effective because now they can be disregarded. North Korea does not rely on United States dollars because it simply prints them and provides counterfeit currency to the world. If North Korea cannot obtain foreign aid and support, it will simply sell nuclear technology for cash.
China may put pressure on North Korea by withholding oil. However, China is increasingly obtaining its oil from Iran. Bush’s likely effete response to North Korea will embolden Iran. Iran may put pressure on China. And all the pundits are asserting that Iraq is not like Vietnam because it only has only two vowels in its name rather than three.
The most prudent policy may be to engage in nation building without toppling the ruling regime. If there were some way to by pass the ruling elite and get food to the North Korean masses, the United States could buy popular support. Any viable approach, however, requires direct dialogue and respect. Respect for others, however, requires self-respect.