The Dusk of North Korea's Sunshine

When North Korea's foreign ministry declared its intention to conduct a nuclear warhead test last week, the U.S response was clear — do so at the expense of your country's future. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, chief U.S. envoy to North Korea and our lead negotiator at the six—nation talks to nowhere, warned that the rogue nation had a simple choice.

"It can have a future or it can have these weapons, but it cannot have them both".

Lest there be any misunderstanding of his words, Hill elaborated,

"I am not prepared at this point to say what we are going to do but I am prepared to say we are not going to wait for a nuclear North Korea, we are not going to accept it."

According to recent seismic measurements, the waiting is apparently over.  Monday morning, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il tested the resolve of the Bush Administration when his nation became the 9th member of the decreasingly exclusive nuclear club.  The Russian reported 5 to 15 Kiloton initiation fee immediately drew the attention of existing, non, and potential members alike. And rightly so — the club's mightiest constituent had thrown down the gauntlet only to have its warning summarily ignored.

The Bombast After the Bomb Blast  

The news was immediately met with unanimous worldwide admonition. Even Pyongyang's closest and, perhaps, only allies in Beijing denounced the action. They called it a "flagrant and brazen" violation of international opinion. Just to make it official, the U.N Security Council began working on a formal resolution of condemnation.  There was brisk talk of Article 7 sanctions, blockades and supply—chain interruptions.

But the world was actually waiting for its only superpower to respond to the transgression.  Just what would the U.S do when actions were taken it had so brazenly stated it was not going to accept?  Surely the White House was aware that its reaction would be measured by both friend and foe alike.  Such should have necessitated a response which was both shocking and awesome.

A red—faced President Bush stepped right up to address the line Secretary Hill had drawn in the sand.  But, as he spoke, the line slowly faded until it was gone altogether.  After retreating a few steps, he bent over to draw a new one.

'The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non—state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States, and we would hold North Korea fully accountable of the consequences of such action.'

So then, Hill must have misunderstood the administration's doctrine.  It wasn't the 'having' of nuclear weapons which would not be tolerated, but, rather their 'transfer.' 

The Retractable Line in the Sand

This lack of both clarity and resolve opened the door to dangerously mistimed partisan sniping. Senators Dodd, Kennedy, and Schumer each found their own pedantic manner of insisting that the time had come to enter into direct talks with Pyongyang.  Senate minority leader Harry Reid got to use the latest Woodward—model liberal catch—phrase, 'state of denial,' in describing the Bush Administration's approach to North Korea.  He added that they were

'distracted by Iraq and paralyzed by internal divisions'

Very productive, Harry — thanks. But all of this posturing was as too little as it was too late.

The U.N gathering was nothing more than window dressing. China had previously made clear its objections to sanctions which might cause the NK regime to implode under economic duress.  Such a calamity would likely result in a humanitarian crisis. This would force untold numbers of Koreans to seek refuge in China.  Furthermore, the dangers of a resulting nuclear—armed yet doomed draconian government are certainly quite evident.  All things considered, it's doubtful that economic retribution would survive Security Council veto.

As to the premature peace talks proposed by the military experts in the Senate —— the administration had adopted a policy which denied bilateral discourse to any country as reward for its bad behavior.  Right or wrong, to change that strategy as a response to brinkmanship would be a calamitous and irreversible mistake.  To even suggest otherwise might send the wrong message to the wrong people at the wrong time.

But it was too late!  Emboldened by the President's strategic retreat and the appeasing words of the clueless Senators, the mad little dictator fired back with an ultimatum of his own.  On Tuesday, an unnamed North Korean official warned that his government might fire a nuclear—tipped missile unless the U.S. resolved its impasse with Pyongyang. And so it did.

A Clear and Present Danger

Whether or not the communist country actually possesses the technology and wherewithal to carry out its threat is an issue for intelligence agents and physicists to argue.  This much we do know:

  •  NoKo has sold weapons to other rogue nations in order to augment its failing and contracting economy.  They've smuggled BM—25 missiles —— with a range of over 1500 miles and nuclear warhead capabilities —— into Iran.  That's the same Iran which supplied Hezbollah with the Fajr—3 rocket with which it terrorized the people of Haifa last July.  Iran produces this 240mm M—1985 Multiple Rocket Launcher knockoff through a licensing agreement with its creator —— North Korea. This establishes an unequivocally direct link between NoKo produced weapons and at least one terrorist organization.

  •  NoKo also produces the Taepo Dong—2 Missile. This ICBM has a potential range more than capable of delivering a warhead to targets in Alaska. True, initial tests have been less than stellar. Nonetheless, this technology represents a true long term threat to the U.S and its allies should NoKo successfully miniaturize its nuclear payload.  Meanwhile, proven NoKo missiles can easily reach Japan or South Korea, where 40,000 and 30,000 American troops are currently stationed, respectively.

  • The imperative here is clear as glass:  The enforcement of Secretary Hill's words is no less crucial today than it was last week.
     
    It's Twilight Time

    There's been some debate about both the yield and the chemistry of Kim's underground exhibition. It may well have been a dud. What's beyond argument is that the administration's steadfast commitment to strength, so vital to its Mideast policy, appears to elude it in matters north of the 38th parallel.  Indeed, backing down from an ultimatum is tantamount to retreat.  It waves a banner of weakness to the enemy which the enemy will, invariably, exploit.  The frantic nuclear threats leveled on Tuesday should put any doubt of this truth forever to rest.

    If we flagrantly disregard the words 'we are not going to accept it', we stand to forfeit our ability to coerce this and future adversaries through intimidation.  Such would amount to the loss of a valuable weapon in the battle for national survival.  A loss we dare not allow, as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad observes carefully from the on—deck circle.

    The great ancient Chinese military strategist, Sun tzu, wrote these fitting words in his manuscript, 'The Art of War' over 2,500 years ago.

    "In order to cause the enemy to come of their own volition, extend some profit. In order to prevent the enemy from coming forth, show them the potential for harm."

    South Korea's 'Sunshine' policy of 'extending some profit' to its northern neighbor is now steeped in twilight.  It is due time for the world's only remaining superpower to 'show them the potential for harm,' with or without our 'allies' watching our backs. 

    Time is short.  The darkness is quickly approaching.

    Marc Sheppard is a regular contributor to American Thinker. He welcomes your feedback.

    When North Korea's foreign ministry declared its intention to conduct a nuclear warhead test last week, the U.S response was clear — do so at the expense of your country's future. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, chief U.S. envoy to North Korea and our lead negotiator at the six—nation talks to nowhere, warned that the rogue nation had a simple choice.

    "It can have a future or it can have these weapons, but it cannot have them both".

    Lest there be any misunderstanding of his words, Hill elaborated,

    "I am not prepared at this point to say what we are going to do but I am prepared to say we are not going to wait for a nuclear North Korea, we are not going to accept it."

    According to recent seismic measurements, the waiting is apparently over.  Monday morning, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il tested the resolve of the Bush Administration when his nation became the 9th member of the decreasingly exclusive nuclear club.  The Russian reported 5 to 15 Kiloton initiation fee immediately drew the attention of existing, non, and potential members alike. And rightly so — the club's mightiest constituent had thrown down the gauntlet only to have its warning summarily ignored.

    The Bombast After the Bomb Blast  

    The news was immediately met with unanimous worldwide admonition. Even Pyongyang's closest and, perhaps, only allies in Beijing denounced the action. They called it a "flagrant and brazen" violation of international opinion. Just to make it official, the U.N Security Council began working on a formal resolution of condemnation.  There was brisk talk of Article 7 sanctions, blockades and supply—chain interruptions.

    But the world was actually waiting for its only superpower to respond to the transgression.  Just what would the U.S do when actions were taken it had so brazenly stated it was not going to accept?  Surely the White House was aware that its reaction would be measured by both friend and foe alike.  Such should have necessitated a response which was both shocking and awesome.

    A red—faced President Bush stepped right up to address the line Secretary Hill had drawn in the sand.  But, as he spoke, the line slowly faded until it was gone altogether.  After retreating a few steps, he bent over to draw a new one.

    'The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non—state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States, and we would hold North Korea fully accountable of the consequences of such action.'

    So then, Hill must have misunderstood the administration's doctrine.  It wasn't the 'having' of nuclear weapons which would not be tolerated, but, rather their 'transfer.' 

    The Retractable Line in the Sand

    This lack of both clarity and resolve opened the door to dangerously mistimed partisan sniping. Senators Dodd, Kennedy, and Schumer each found their own pedantic manner of insisting that the time had come to enter into direct talks with Pyongyang.  Senate minority leader Harry Reid got to use the latest Woodward—model liberal catch—phrase, 'state of denial,' in describing the Bush Administration's approach to North Korea.  He added that they were

    'distracted by Iraq and paralyzed by internal divisions'

    Very productive, Harry — thanks. But all of this posturing was as too little as it was too late.

    The U.N gathering was nothing more than window dressing. China had previously made clear its objections to sanctions which might cause the NK regime to implode under economic duress.  Such a calamity would likely result in a humanitarian crisis. This would force untold numbers of Koreans to seek refuge in China.  Furthermore, the dangers of a resulting nuclear—armed yet doomed draconian government are certainly quite evident.  All things considered, it's doubtful that economic retribution would survive Security Council veto.

    As to the premature peace talks proposed by the military experts in the Senate —— the administration had adopted a policy which denied bilateral discourse to any country as reward for its bad behavior.  Right or wrong, to change that strategy as a response to brinkmanship would be a calamitous and irreversible mistake.  To even suggest otherwise might send the wrong message to the wrong people at the wrong time.

    But it was too late!  Emboldened by the President's strategic retreat and the appeasing words of the clueless Senators, the mad little dictator fired back with an ultimatum of his own.  On Tuesday, an unnamed North Korean official warned that his government might fire a nuclear—tipped missile unless the U.S. resolved its impasse with Pyongyang. And so it did.

    A Clear and Present Danger

    Whether or not the communist country actually possesses the technology and wherewithal to carry out its threat is an issue for intelligence agents and physicists to argue.  This much we do know:

  •  NoKo has sold weapons to other rogue nations in order to augment its failing and contracting economy.  They've smuggled BM—25 missiles —— with a range of over 1500 miles and nuclear warhead capabilities —— into Iran.  That's the same Iran which supplied Hezbollah with the Fajr—3 rocket with which it terrorized the people of Haifa last July.  Iran produces this 240mm M—1985 Multiple Rocket Launcher knockoff through a licensing agreement with its creator —— North Korea. This establishes an unequivocally direct link between NoKo produced weapons and at least one terrorist organization.

  •  NoKo also produces the Taepo Dong—2 Missile. This ICBM has a potential range more than capable of delivering a warhead to targets in Alaska. True, initial tests have been less than stellar. Nonetheless, this technology represents a true long term threat to the U.S and its allies should NoKo successfully miniaturize its nuclear payload.  Meanwhile, proven NoKo missiles can easily reach Japan or South Korea, where 40,000 and 30,000 American troops are currently stationed, respectively.

  • The imperative here is clear as glass:  The enforcement of Secretary Hill's words is no less crucial today than it was last week.
     
    It's Twilight Time

    There's been some debate about both the yield and the chemistry of Kim's underground exhibition. It may well have been a dud. What's beyond argument is that the administration's steadfast commitment to strength, so vital to its Mideast policy, appears to elude it in matters north of the 38th parallel.  Indeed, backing down from an ultimatum is tantamount to retreat.  It waves a banner of weakness to the enemy which the enemy will, invariably, exploit.  The frantic nuclear threats leveled on Tuesday should put any doubt of this truth forever to rest.

    If we flagrantly disregard the words 'we are not going to accept it', we stand to forfeit our ability to coerce this and future adversaries through intimidation.  Such would amount to the loss of a valuable weapon in the battle for national survival.  A loss we dare not allow, as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad observes carefully from the on—deck circle.

    The great ancient Chinese military strategist, Sun tzu, wrote these fitting words in his manuscript, 'The Art of War' over 2,500 years ago.

    "In order to cause the enemy to come of their own volition, extend some profit. In order to prevent the enemy from coming forth, show them the potential for harm."

    South Korea's 'Sunshine' policy of 'extending some profit' to its northern neighbor is now steeped in twilight.  It is due time for the world's only remaining superpower to 'show them the potential for harm,' with or without our 'allies' watching our backs. 

    Time is short.  The darkness is quickly approaching.

    Marc Sheppard is a regular contributor to American Thinker. He welcomes your feedback.