Friday, April 03, 2009

Obama and North Korea

Anyone else find it a little odd that President Obama has decided to play it tough with North Korea over their missile program? This from a guy who criticized Bush for being too much of a unilateralist? A cowboy, if you will? Since the early years of the Clinton administration, the U.S. has engaged in six-party talks with Kim Jong-Il (N. Korea, S. Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and us). The talks have been multilateral, and the work has been pursued without violence or "cowboy diplomacy." It has also been an utter failure, just like the negotiations Europe has tried to pursue with Iran.

We talk and we talk and we talk. And then we bargain and offer incentives and carrots, and talk some more. The North Koreans listen and smile and talk back, and occasionally make promises and temporary gestures regarding their nuclear program. But then they go right back to doing what they damn well please, restarting their nuke plants and building and testing nuclear weapons. We know they've been building long-range rockets, and are poised to launch another one, perhaps as early as this weekend. Diplomacy has failed, despite years of castigating Bush for not using diplomacy enough.

And now Obama is out there threatening North Korea. Why the sudden urge to look tough? Is it because Obama hopes to "look tough" with some smaller opponent he thinks we can beat while giving over our financial sovereignty to other, stronger nations? I don't honestly know. But nuclear war on top of our current financial crisis is another way not to improve the general situation of the country. With any luck, this rocket will blow up like the other one, and we'll get another six- or twelve-month breathing space. But what happens if it doesn't? Well, then I guess we'll see what Barack Obama really is made of, and what his actions will do to or for this country.

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