As Pyongyang Continues To Waffle, Bush Pays A Price For His Failed Policies
Despite the good news yesterday that a preliminary agreement was reached over the suspension and termination of North Korea’s nuclear program, Pyongyang is once again testing the patience of the signatories by insisting that they receive the light water reactor for power generation they have been seeking all along, before they decommission and take apart their nuclear program and subject it to IAEA inspection. We can bemoan this shopworn tactic by the North all we want, but keep in mind that they saw previous commitments in this area go by the wayside in the 90’s (due in part to their own behavior); power generation has been a consistent demand of theirs all along. Since the delivery of such a reactor would be years away and obviously there is no chance that any of the five countries would allow the North to keep doing what it is doing until then, there will be more negotiation needed, and Seoul will have to send power over the border as a stopgap for the time being.
The simple fact, like Newsweek’s Michael Hirsch noted late yesterday, is that Bush created this problem by ignoring real threats like North Korea and Iran, while focusing on the one member of the Axis of Evil that posed no threat. While Bush was ignoring the first two, they had several years to push along their nuclear programs to a point that they will not give them up, at least not without a great deal in return in the case of Pyongyang, and not at all in the case of Tehran. And because of how Bush went into Iraq before the IAEA was finished, he now cannot count on Security Council support for a legitimate request for sanctions against Iran. By ignoring the wrong two members of this axis for the better part of four years, what the White House has created here is a situation where Pyongyang has used the stalemate caused by Bush to send missile technology to Tehran while holding out for food, respect, and power generation. Tehran, seeing what Bush will do to a country that doesn’t arm itself, has moved ahead with both a missile program and a nuclear power program while the US is bogged down next door, knowing that neither Russia nor China will allow a UN sanction against them after seeing what transpired on Iraq. And to cap this off, both countries have obtained nuclear weapons assistance from Bush’s buddy Pervez Musharraf. That is the price Bush and Cheney are paying now for their stupid policies.
To the cabal in power, the only remaining choice for Bush now on Iran, after trying and failing to get something through the UN this fall or winter, will be for a preemptive strike to slow down Iran's program by us or Israel timed for maximum political benefit around our 2006 midterms. And then all bets are off in the Middle East, and specifically in Iraq.