/* Am I A Pundit Now?: Markey Has It Backwards

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Markey Has It Backwards

My first Hufflink goes to Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who is wringing his hands over North Korea's nuclear proliferation. Markey is correctly upset that North Korea now has perhaps six nuclear weapons, and then asks "I wonder how many North Korean nuclear weapons we will have to discover in order for this Administration to conclude we can no longer continue to preach nuclear temperance from a barstool."

Does Markey advocate pre-emptive strikes on North Korea's nuclear facilities? Or cutting off aid or trade to North Korea? Or allowing Japan to arm itself with nuclear weapons?

No, because in his view the U.S. is the problem here, not North Korea. Markey believes that the way out of this impasse is for the U.S. to cancel the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, otherwise known as the bunker-busting nuke. Thus, Markey's logic seems to go as thus: the U.S. started this all, right? After all, we had the bomb first, and who are we to say that North Korea cannot have one too? Therefore, building down our own nuclear forces is the necessary and moral first step that shows a proper example to North Korea.

The DPRK will breath a sigh of relief, now assured that its deterrent is no longer at risk in their deep bunkers. And then, what?

Does Markey really believe that North Korea, touched by our display of unilateral kindness, will return the favor by giving up its nuclear program? If the congressman believes that, he places far too much faith in the willingness of North Korea to be a reasonable actor. This is the same logic that pulled us into the 1994 Agreed Framework, and what a sucker's bet that was. Before the ink was even dry, North Korea had broken the accord while walking away with all the goodies it was promised from the U.S.

I understand the impulse to 'set the good example' and light a way for other nations to follow. In many situations this is the correct thing to do. It is not the correct way to deal with North Korea, however. Totalitarian states as this are utterly immune to such kindnesses and gestures, they are merely taken as a sign of weakness.

Update: Dean's World alerts us that Hans Blix pretty much feels the same way as Markey. Surprised?

Ken Says: Hey Ariana dahling, it would have been great to be able to trackback this post to Congressman Markey so he can see it. What, don't think he can take the heat??

10:38 PM | | |