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Kim: Crazy Like A Fox

Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2006 1:31 PM


The fact that North Korea expects congratulations for their nuclear test, plus hints that they may be looking to conduct further tests as well as fit a nuclear warhead to a missile should tell us several things.

One, despite the occasional chuckle about Kim Jung-Il's mental health, he is a very real threat. The Bush Administration has diddled and fussed, indulging their slam-the-door diplomacy and treating Kim like a child.

So Kim trotted out a serious dose of I'll-Show-You, and now we have both an aggressor state with nuclear weapons, but a state that is heavily dependent on trade – and the new, shiny coin in the cash box is that same technology.

But the only thing that the Bush White House can do is bluster about how we'll hold North Korea responsible should they supply a non-state actor (read: terrorist) with that technology, and the non-state actor employ it.

Two, and this is partly the media's fault, people need to stop dismissing North Korea's efforts as small or bumbling or otherwise flawed. There is no such thing as a small nuclear weapon. Or do you honestly think that if terrorists managed to assemble and detonate a 'suitcase nuke' that we'd be shrugging it off because it was small?

And I'll (again) point out the danger of wishful thinking when it comes to North Korea's not-quite-ready-for-Prime-Time missiles. If it is a mechanical error, we'd better hope it's something major, and not an easily swapped-out component. If it's a software error in the flight control/guidance package, we'd better hope it's a subtle one that will take a long time to find. The fact remains that North Korea has missiles, and if they function as intended, we have an aggressor state with ICBMs that could reach the Pacific coast.

North Korea has always been ahead of Saddam in terms of achieving nuclear weapons. They already had a reactor, a ready source of fissile material; Saddam was accused of seeking uranium from Niger. North Korea had a facility for enrichment; Saddam had aluminum tubes.

Hindsight is always 20-20. Nonetheless, it becomes clear that we ignored two significant threats in favor of chasing Saddam's non-existant WMD's. Now, Kim has his nukes. And I don't believe Osama bin Laden is hanging out on Pakistan's border because he likes the scenery.


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