North Korea and the Folly of Star Wars
You have to ask yourself if the Bush Administration sees missile defense as a keystone to our national security, or as a defense contractor boondoggle that needs to be locked into the Pentagon’s baseline before the Bushies leave office. Such a question is warranted after learning that Bush wants missile defense to be exempt from a current law that requires new defense systems to demonstrate their effectiveness before deployment can be ordered. The motives for such a move can be several, including a desire by Bush to get the system into the baseline and therefore harder to kill before he may be turned out of office next year. It may also be that Bush wants a system, even one that no one knows will work, to be operational as soon as possible when he targets North Korea next after toppling Iraq.
Regardless of the motive, Bush appears to be unconcerned with whether or not missile defense will work. He has already shown that he doesn’t want to meet face to face with the North even if this would defuse the imminent threat posed by the restart of their nuclear power program. He would rather delay dealing directly with Pyongyang so that they are not rewarded for their behavior; distracting him from his Iraq priority is not acceptable. But what kind of national security policy do we have when an administration is willing to allow a threat to fester and worsen because you refuse to deal with people whom you loathe and who are petty enough to really just want face time, respect, and to be bought off? What kind of national security policy do we have when that same administration seems willing to let a petty regime build several nukes just so you can then argue that a system is needed to guard against the threats you refused to address? And what kind of administration would rather push ahead with the deployment of a system that no one knows will work, and then use that deployment as some sort of backstop for aggressive action against that petty regime?
This administration gives every appearance that they are willing to gamble the security of this country for the sake of defense contractors, and at a cost that may suck up untold resources in the coming years. The Administration knew well in advance of the public and congressional announcements last fall that North Korea was going to be a problem that needed to be dealt with, and yet still put it on the back burner so as to not distract attention from Iraq. They then were caught off guard by the North’s aggressive tactics, as if our own inactions in dealing with them and rhetoric (letting speechwriter David Frum set a dangerous national security policy by declaring the regime to be a member of an “axis of evil”) didn’t contribute mightily to this. This is the second time that this all-star foreign policy team intentionally ignored warnings and threats that didn’t fit into their single-minded and outdated agendas and ended up endangering the security of this nation. Remember when Condi Rice put terrorism on the back burner during the first eight months of 2001 because it distracted the Bushies from dealing with China, Russia, and missile defense?
And now, we see them returning to such a single-minded focus on one of their pet projects and constituencies, at the expense of dealing with an imminent threat to this nation, and proving that the pet project can actually be counted on to work. All of this begs the question: aren’t such actions a violation of the oaths they took to serve?