I want to make it clear from the beginning that I have no inclination to defend or
support North Korea in any way.
What I want to do is discuss a bit of history, tactics that are commonly used to test
an enemy's resolve, and the way the media and the State Department commonly describes such
This is important when attempting to understand our actions, how other nations
typically respond, and how and why interactions are portrayed the way they are.
Today (3/3/2003), it was reported that 4 North Korean jet fighters approached a U.S. reconnaissance flight
which was approaching North Korea, about 150 miles from its coast. Initially, it was
reported as a typical type of interaction, where a reconnaissance flight is greeted by
fighters who "paint the intruder" with radar in order to discourage further
Later, it was re-framed as a provocation from North Korea, despite the fact that our
flight sought to cross into its territories, as we have done in previous U-2 flights (as
recently as last week).
The U.S., it should be noted, maintains the right to defend our coastlines 200
miles out, whether in international waters/terriitories or not. Imagine what would
happen if North Korea sent a reconnaissance flight over U.S. territories.
The question then, regardless of the propaganda by the Bush Administration and
legitimate security concerns, is "Who is provoking who?" Did North Korea
make a speech identifying us as part of an "Axis of Evil" subject to military
As far as I am concerned, the situation with North Korea is the clearest example of
what appears to be an irresponsible Bush Administration policy of diplomatic neglect,
though, in fact, it is an irresponsible policy of causing international and domestic
affairs to spin out of control in order to generate an environment of crisis.
Then, they use inflammatory remarks (using propaganda to distort the real
circumstances) to re-frame and communicate the situation to Americans in order to generate
fear and elicit public support against an imminent enemy that we produced.
It's true that N. Korea is not our ally, and that we mutually view each other as
opponents, even potentially hostile opponents.
When President Bill Clinton was "cleaning off his desk" before leaving
office, he made a specific inquiry to the incoming Bush Administration as to whether they
would like him to engage the Noth Koreans in a diplomatic dialogue as a follow up to
earlier Clinton Administration diplomatic efforts that successfully caused North Korea to
shut down its reactors and cooperate with IAEA inspectors, as well as the U.N.
The Bush Administration assured President Clinton that "they would take care of it
Two weeks before Congress was to vote on the Iraqi resolution allowing the Bush
Administration to use unilateral force on Iraq, the Bush Administration suppressed
information showing that North Korea was in possession of nuclear weapons. They
withheld that information from the public AND Congress.
The revelation about North Korea's nuclear weapons was not a true revelation. North
Korea's previous ability to manufacture nuclear weapons was nothing new. What made
it news, and a threat, was the Bush Administration's lack of diplomatic attention toward
North Korea, which could easily have averted an escalation of differences, let alone the
"crisis" we are faced with now.
North Korea's internal problems were well known, too. They have an antiquated
government structure that has failed to amicably integrate with surrounding nations.
They are very bad at farming, and are dependent on foreign sources for oil/energy.
Their primary "cash crop" is missile technology. It may well become
nuclear technology as it seeks to defend and support itself.
When North Korea decided to "fire up" the nuclear plant at Pyongyang,
administration spokespeople declared that North Korea was "thumbing its nose at the
world" by using the threat of nuclear fuel production in order to force demands of
energy and food aid to be heeded.
It was the same rhetoric used regarding Iraq. As George Bush has said, "It's like
a re-run of a bad movie that I don't want to see" (or words to that effect).
Regardless of how this particular situation is resolved, it is clear that the Bush
Administration is using it to, once again, convince the American people that they face a
grave threat, and that the cowboy from Texas deems bully tactics and bolstering his poll
ratings with yet another generated crisis is more important than the long-term interests
of the United States, let alone the stability of the world.
Finally, when North Korea stated that it would view economic sanctions as an act of
war, there was precedence for such a declaration. The cold war against Russia, as
well as similar "cold wars" against other nations, was primarily economic, and
has inevitably caused the collapse of many national economies for the purpose of
destabilizing the governments in control in order to replace them with leaders more
friendly to U.S. economic interests.
Venezuela is one of the most recent examples of such activities.
The Bush Administration has made many remarks to the effect that North Korea uses
provocative rhetoric and saber-rattling in order to force the world to heed its demands.
I say, they have an excellent example for such behavior, and he lives in the White
CNN Special Report: North Korea Nuclear Tensions