I am no fan of John McCain and have said that repeatedly. I also have absolutely no intention of ever voting for the man, either in a primary or a general election. Nonetheless, I think he is spot on in his criticism of the Clinton administration's policy toward North Korea. I also think he's spot on about the need to slap the North Korean minimum leader with all the sanctions we can as soon as we can. We being the whole world right now. And China has to help.
They have missiles, and now they claim to have tested a nuclear device. Eventually they will have the technology to put warheads on missiles. That is a grave threat to South Korea, Japan and the United States that we cannot under any circumstances accept. North Korea also has a record of transferring weapons technology to other rogue nations, such as Iran and Syria.
The President is right to call on the Council to impose a military arms embargo, financial and trade sanctions, and, most importantly, the right to interdict and inspect all cargo in and out of North Korea. I hope the Council quickly adopts these sanctions, and that all members enforce them.
The worst thing we could do is accede to North Korea’s demand for bilateral talks. When has rewarding North Korea’s bad behavior ever gotten us anything more than worse behavior?
I would remind Senator Hillary Clinton and other Democrats critical of Bush Administration policies that the framework agreement her husband’s administration negotiated was a failure. The Koreans received millions in energy assistance. They diverted millions in food assistance to their military. And what did they do? They secretly enriched uranium.
Prior to the agreement, every single time the Clinton Administration warned the Koreans not to do something — not to kick out the IAEA inspectors, not to remove the fuel rods from their reactor — they did it. And they were rewarded every single time by the Clinton Administration with further talks. We had a carrots and no sticks policy that only encouraged bad behavior. When one carrot didn’t work, we offered another.
This isn’t just about North Korea. Iran is watching this test of the Council’s will, and our decisions will surely influence their response to demands that they cease their nuclear program. Now, we must, at long last, stop reinforcing failure with failure.
The talk, talk, talk response does not work with rogue regimes that do not negotiate in good faith. It is absolutely pointless to do so. It is also quite evident that Kim Jong Il is not playing with a full deck when he threatens to launch nuclear missile at the US expecting anything other than the total annihilation of his country to result. About half an hour after he launched such a weapon, South Korea would be an island nation. But what will happen if there is an Asian arms race is anyone's guess. Do you really want "brushfire" wars with nukes? That is where we are headed unless the world gets its collective act together. Do not negotiate. Clamp down. Make it untenable to be a rogue nation.
Or this will end very badly for all of us.
UPDATE: Others: Tigerhawk: Let the neighbors take out the trash. Hotline: Senator Clinton defends President Clinton. Winds of Change (Joe Katzman): North Korea is a sideshow. The real player here is China. (This is a fascinating read – highly recommended). Encourage Japan/South Korea/ Taiwan to enter nuclear arena unless Kim falls. (Katzman also places blame squarely on Clinton and his policies). Belmont Club: Interesting Choice of medium for McCain's guest blog. The blog comes of age – congrats, Captain Ed! Mac's Mind: A bit of suspicion on the choice of medium. The Marmot's Hole: Wrong time for politics.