Tuesday, July 19, 2005

North Korea, Again

Nicholas Kristof continues his series of op-eds on North Korea today with a look at one of their prized possessions, a captured U.S. warship. Kristof also continues to hit his overriding theme that diplomacy is preferable to a hard line. I remain unconvinced...look where that got us with the 'agreed framework' (though Kristof seems to have a short memory on that score: President Bush's refusal to engage North Korea, as the Clinton administration had done, has already led the North to revive plutonium production). Yes, we have to use diplomacy, as the military option is just not viable at this point...but I think a hard line is still necessary.

Kristoff does make one point that I find quite convincing...and very troubling:
Mr. Bush's backup plan is to stop North Korean nuclear proliferation by intercepting nuclear materials as they leave the country - but that's wishful thinking. If we couldn't detect the transfer of a famous 176-foot ship, it's ludicrous to think we could stop the smuggling of a grapefruit-size chunk of plutonium.
Once again, I offer no answers...just a lot of concern over a problem that is nearly impossible to solve..but for those we think Saddam's lack of a working nuclear weapons program took away one of the reasons to invade: would you have preferred to wait until we faced another quandary like this one?...

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