The long road to North Korea's atomic test is one that trails through several decades. However, the problem became particularly acute during the period where the Republican Congress of the late 1990's focused all of the country's attention on a sex scandal witch hunt. There is a fearful symmetry in a party that decided that partisan advantage permitted the use of trumped up sex charges to paralyze the country, finding, in turn, that their own sexual predators are dragging their chances at election into the swamp.So what are we going to do about this international disaster? More from Newberry:
North Korea pursued a two track strategy towards achieving atomic weapons, a plutonium program, and an enriched Uranium program. It admitted to the first, and began negotiations to end the program in return for light water reactors, fuel deliveries and cash. By 1998, the Clinton administration was aware of the second track, and negotiated a framework to end the plutonium program, believing, correctly, that the uranium program was years away from success, and would be less dangerous in the long run. Simple containment would have been sufficient to end the Uranium program on similar terms. In the words of America's chief negotiator: "We can lease, but not buy, the North Korean atomic program."
When Bush took the executive powers, one of the first actions was to deep six the agreed framework, freeing the North Koreans, in their own minds, to return with full speed to their weapons work. Confident that China would not allow the regime to collapse into a failed state black hole, particularly because of the economic and political consequences, the decided that whatever the international community could do would be ineffectual. With the invasion of Iraq, North Korea moved to a stance of testing as an objective.
During this same period, North Korea began doing more than advancing its own program - it began proliferating. It traded technology with Pakistan, allowing Pakistan to weaponize its atomic program more quickly. It sold centrifuges to Iran and Libya. Libya would later make an handsome profit selling these out in return for a reentry into the international community.
By 2002 the US intelligence community was estimating that North Korea would be atomic capable. This was pushed aside in favor of forgeries accusing Saddam of acquiring Uranium in quantity, and being years closer to an atomic weapon than he was. The obsession with Iraq allowed a far more dangerous, and difficult to deal with, regime to flower into a proliferator and deterent state.
The United States is paralyzed by an idiot king, and a corrupt Congress. It has no military capability which frightens Pyongyang, simply because Pyongyang has both a protected research capability, and disproportional retaliation within its reach. This combination means that whatever sanctions are on tap, they will simply result in North Korea passing the pain on to China's border region, and selling more atomic technology to more willing bidders. North Korea does not even need to knowingly aid proliferation, merely sell technology which is "dual use" on terms which are easier than could be obtained from other nations.Sterling is being much too polite. This is the result of the utter failure of the entire conservative movement. Barry Goldwater would be disgusted.
Ideology matters more to the conservatives than does effectiveness. They will permit the North Koreans to develop nuclear weapons rather than to admit that the people who can stop them may not be the most verbal conservative collaborators.
This is a total failure of the Bush/Cheney administration. The only solution to this problem is regime change – in America.