Saturday, September 06, 2003

oh, please

Go read the Marmot's recent post, "Shut up, Peanuts!"

Then get a load of this:

TOKYO - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said on Friday a "combined commitment" by the United States and other nations to guarantee North Korea's security could help defuse the crisis over the communist nation's nuclear weapons program, a standoff he called the "greatest threat in the world" to peace.

Carter blamed Washington and Pyongyang for the unraveling of a landmark U.S.-North Korean agreement that he helped mediate in 1994 but said he believed the current crisis could be resolved diplomatically with concessions on both sides.

The man's just upset his legacy turned out to be a freakin' sham.

Over at the trusted BBC, we read:

North Korea's alleged threat at last week's diplomatic talks in Beijing to test a nuclear weapon sent a chill through the region.

Most analysts believe the threat was most likely to be a negotiating ploy, as the secretive state attempts to extract maximum concessions in return for ending its nuclear ambitions.

But given the unpredictable nature of Kim Jong-Il's regime, few are prepared to dismiss the threat out of hand.

"It just isn't in their interests right now," said Gary Samore, from the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

"It would make it easier for the US to mobilise international support to sanction North Korea," he told BBC News Online.

Even China and Russia, North Korea's closest allies in the region and those most opposed to sanctioning the impoverished state, would likely turn against Pyongyang if it went ahead with a test.

And of course, Japan's not liking this.

Investment in the region would be affected and Japan - China's main diplomatic competitor - might feel the need to bolster its defences, even to the extent of considering a nuclear arsenal itself.

This pretty much sums it up:

Threatening a nuclear test gives North Korea diplomatic leverage.

But carrying one out would set off a chain reaction of crisis moves by the international community which could jeopardise Kim Jong-il's regime.

"I think (a nuclear test) would be a costly mistake. But that does not mean that they won't do it," said James Clay Moltz.

In-young Chun at Seoul National University agreed that such a warning could not be simply ignored.

"We cannot take lightly that kind of threat," he said.

A nuclear test would answer the long-debated question as to whether North Korea really has nuclear weapons and would give further ammunition to hawks in Washington who are pushing for regime change in Stalinist North Korea.

I did notice some online comments, however, that if we've suspect that NK's had nukes all this time... why should we be acting surprised now?

Good point.

Colin Powell, meanwhile, claims he's unimpressed by NK blather:

"We are looking for a diplomatic solution," Powell said. "We have no intention of invading North Korea or attacking North Korea."

In contrast, he said, North Korea has engaged in "threats and truculent statements that are designed to frighten us. We will not be frightened, nor will we be caused by such threats to take actions that we do not believe are in our interests or the interests of our partners."

Go, Colin.

Maybe we should have Al Sharpton speak directly to NK. Or Arnold.

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