North Korea lied to us. In exchange for two light-water reactors and 500,000 tons of fuel per year until the reactors are completed, all they had to do was not develop nuclear weapons.
But since they didn’t think we would meet a 2003 deadline to have the reactors completed, they decided to violate the agreement. So, really, it was our fault. Does anybody really believe they came to this conclusion just now? They started as soon as the reactors were unwrapped (and while they had the delightful “new reactor smell”).
This is why diplomacy does not work on dictatorships. With North Korea, we had an agreement, and we upheld our end of it. Kim Jung Ill just decided it wasn’t fast enough for him. At least our government was prompt in shutting the proverbial barn door long after the horse was gone. Both the United States and North Korea have abandoned the agreement, but I doubt we’re getting the reactors back.
What I’m saying is that an agreement like this is useless. Basically we had North Korea’s word that they would stop their nuclear weapons program. Does anybody really think Saddam Hussein is any more credible? Hussein can’t even stick to a simple verbal agreement to let in inspectors.
The situation with North Korea demonstrates why we should take away Iraq’s capability to manufacture nuclear weapons as quickly as possible and in whatever way necessary. Saddam Hussein has used gas in the past. I doubt he would hesitate to use nuclear weapons if he had them. In 1988, he gassed about 25,000 Kurds, according to MSNBC. Saddam did the same to the Iranians during their extended spat. Even during the Gulf War, he repeatedly hit Israel with missiles. Imagine the situation if Iraq had nuclear capabilities and medium range missiles.
North Korea and Iraq are different. Action should be taken against North Korea. There is a summit of Asian Pacific nations being held in (where else?) Mexico this week, so hopefully some ideas will come out of there. My personal suggestion is a set of really draconian sanctions in addition to the ones already in place. Under the terms of the 1994 treaty, North Korea was required to allow inspections to verify they weren’t developing weapons. They never allowed the inspections. Sound familiar? What do you think Hussein has been doing during the lull in inspections? I bet he hasn’t been playing Super Mario Sunshine.
Some of you are probably itching to point out that America is the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons. That’s true. They were used to avert an invasion that could have cost thousands, maybe millions of lives. Using nuclear weapons is not something that we take lightly in America. We are aware of the consequences of using them, as opposed to someone like Hussein, who does not care what the consequences are.
We kept our eyes closed when it came to North Korea, and now they have nuclear capabilities. Iraq is trying to keep us out so they can do the same. It’s clear that we never fully trusted North Korea, since they were members of Bush’s “Axis of Evil,” but we still stood by and trusted they would abide by our agreement. We cannot let them do that to the region and the world. The fewer rogue countries, which both of these are, that have weapons of mass destruction, the better. There is still a chance that we can stop Iraq before their nuclear program is complete.
Chris Ricketts is a junior majoring in English.firstname.lastname@example.org