Mixed Signals to North Korea

As the small and poor communist nation continues to make its way toward developing a nuclear arsenal, State Department nominees and officials have clearly stated their absolute intolerance of such a situation:

Speaking at his Senate confirmation hearing Kurt Campbell, the administration’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian affairs, declared that if confirmed he would “make clear that neither the United States nor its allies will accept a nuclear North Korea.”

“And there should be no mistake: the United States is firm in its resolve to uphold its treaty commitments regarding the defense of its allies,” Campbell declared. Campbell’s comments were not entirely unique, but rather echoed similar statements made by Defense Secretary Robert Gates near the end of May.

What this will mean in practice is less certain. Having appropriately withdrawn from the Nonproliferation Treaty and to all appearances successfully tested a nuclear weapon, North Korea is kind of already nuclear.

Yet in spite of its firm or even belligerent rhetoric, the federal government has also stated its intention of avoiding an invasion or other use of force to change regimes or eliminate nuclear capabilities in North Korea. U.S. Special Envoy Stephen Bosworth explained that our government is looking into other options for dealing with these developments, and “We have no intention to invade North Korea or change its regime through force, and this has been made clear to the DPRK repeatedly.

Whether this statement can be trusted at all is difficult to say…after all, North Korea is a member of the Axis of Evil, which also comprises Iran and Iraq. One down, two to go, right? Let’s hope and pray (and petition? or something?) not.

Published in

Post a comment