Monday, October 09, 2006


In the 2002 State of The Union Speech, Bush outlined the so-called "Axis of Evil" and his approach to these varying threats. Here is what Bush said:

FICTION-Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens. . . .

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic. . . .

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.

FACT- North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon and can build perhaps 13 more.

Contrast Bush's rehtoric unmatched by followup actions with this prescient statement from Howard Dean, that bedwetting Democrat that probably sends Happy Ramadan Cards to Osama Bin Laden, Mullah Omar and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

From a speech at Drake University in February 2003:

We must remember, though, that Iraq is not the greatest danger we face today. Consider, to begin with, North Korea.

The Administration says it is wrong to draw a parallel between the situations in Iraq and North Korea, because those situations are quite different. I agree.

Iraq has let UN inspectors back in. North Korea has kicked them out.

Saddam Hussein does not have a clear path to acquiring nuclear weapons. North Korea may already have them - and is on a clear path to acquiring more.

Saddam Hussein has missiles that can go 40 miles farther than the 90-mile range allowed by the UN. North Korea has tested a three-stage intercontinental ballistic missile that might be able to reach California, Oregon, and Washington.

I marvel at the discipline of this Administration in sticking to its message - that Saddam is the greatest danger - regardless of world developments.

We have the most dangerous situation in East Asia in a decade - perhaps in five decades, and the Administration is treating it as a sideshow. The reason is that North Korea doesn't fit into any of the Administration's preconceived little boxes.

They haven't wanted to talk to North Korea because a solution requires negotiation - and sitting at the bargaining table is something Bill Clinton used to do. They do not see themselves as negotiators; they see themselves as pre-emptors. But preemption on the Korean Peninsula is a much different proposition than it is in the Persian Gulf. . . .

In recent weeks, it has become clear that the North Koreans have broken the agreement. They have begun moving the fuel rods to a new location, and threatening to unseal them. They could also re-start their reactor and produce more and more plutonium.

Within months, North Korea could become a confirmed nuclear power. Unlike Iraq, it has an advanced missile program, which would make its possession of nuclear arms even more dangerous.

The Administration's response to all this has been to say that "every option is on the table." Now, I have been in public service for quite awhile, and I'll let you in on a little secret. When government officials say, "every option is on the table," it's because they haven't got a clue what they intend to do.

It would be unfair for me to suggest that negotiating with North Korea is a simple matter. By all accounts, it is extremely difficult. No one can guarantee a successful outcome. But you can guarantee failure if you do not even try. And this administration has not tried.

Instead of a serious policy, they have wasted time, alienated our allies and engaged in a pointless war of words with Pyongyang.

Even now, the Administration seems to want to avoid anything that would shift the world spotlight from the dangers of the Persian Gulf to the even greater perils of the Korean Peninsula.

I think we can do better. . . . You would not know it from the Administration's approach, but time is not on our side. North Korea will be far easier to contend with as a threatening power than as a declared nuclear power.

Together with our allies, and others in the region, we should challenge Pyongyang to return the fuel rods to their previous location, and allow international authorities to inspect and re-seal them. North Korea must also continue its moratorium - secured by President Clinton, I might add - on tests of long-range missiles.

In return, the U.S. can pledge to take no military action against the North and agree to resume direct, high-level talks. Both sides should agree to maintain these pledges as long as talks are ongoing. The discussions should be wide-ranging and designed to give North Korea a chance to reduce its isolation and begin moving in the direction of a normal society. North Korea is a far greater danger to world peace than Iraq.

The Bush/Cheney administration, with few good options, instead chose its most commonly used option. Talk tough, blame Clinton, blame anything, but do nothing.


Bush/Cheney North Korean Policy Failures

North Korean Plutonium Plan, Shuttered from 1994 until 2004, Produces Nuclear Weapon

The Author has written at least three posts on North Korea over the last year. Today's post should come as no suprise to people that have followed the collosal failure of the Bush Administration policy of "cheap rhetoric and cheap shots" in regard to North Korea. Cheap rhetoric and cheap shots. It sounds like a a page out of Terell Owen's diary.

North Korea has detonated a nuclear weapon with plutonium that was recently created in the once closed plutonium production plant. The plant was closed from 1994 through 2002 under an agreement with the Clinton Administration. Since 2002, the North Koreans have been awfully busy.

So how did this work? The plutonium plant was closed until the Bush administration substitutes bluster and truculence, chest pounding and penis pumping, for engagement and discussion.

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, crystalizes the Texas Wind Machine's failure well:

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.

Now the most repressive, xenophobic and dysfunctional regime in the world has joined the expanding circle of nuclear powers. The Bush adminstration, intolerant of probable small scale cheating under the 1994 Accord, does nothing but blather beligerently, suspend assitance under the 1994 accord, and ironically obtains the result that it did not desire.

Utter, complete, and contemptible failure. Just one more in the serial failure mode that is the Bush/Cheney administration.