Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bribes for Peace

Everyone’s favorite America-hater, Nicholas Kristof, writes today about the threat from North Korea. He argues that even sanctions will only lead to escalation. He quotes from an unofficial North Korean spokesman, who said that if we attacked the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, "North Korea will retaliate immediately on New York and Washington, wipe out South Korea, wipe out Japan." It was ever so good of Kristof to tell the spokesman that he was in New York, garnering the concession of Chicago as an alternate target.

Thus for Kristof, the only solution is to cut a deal with North Korea. The deal would be essentially the same one outlined by Carter over the weekend, including elimination of the nuclear weapons program and peace talks with S. Korea in exchange for normalized relations with the West. But once again he like Carter fails to take into account the harsh realities of the situation: the North Koreans said that they wouldn’t build nuclear weapons if we just bribed them before. We put in nominal inspection, and they built the program anyway. No continuing system of bribes for peace is going to be sufficient. There will have to be real security measures--and real security measures mean having a gaggle of inspectors with free reign to go anywhere at any time. Neither Carter nor Kristof talk about how the nonproliferation is going to be enforced, presumably because they know that Kim Jong Il is going to fight any measure with teeth. Until they are willing to confront the tough issue of enforcement, their suggestions should be taken for what they are: at best fanciful hopes, and at worst the irresponsible enabling of tyrants.

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