Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by candletrader, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. U.S., N. Korea Drifting Toward War, Perry Warns
    Former Defense Secretary Says Standoff Increases Risk of Terrorists Obtaining Nuclear Device
    By Thomas E. Ricks and Glenn Kessler
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Tuesday, July 15, 2003; Page A14

    Former defense secretary William Perry warned that the United States and North Korea are drifting toward war, perhaps as early as this year, in an increasingly dangerous standoff that also could result in terrorists being able to purchase a North Korean nuclear device and plant it in a U.S. city.

    "I think we are losing control" of the situation, said Perry, who believes North Korea soon will have enough nuclear warheads to begin exploding them in tests and exporting them to terrorists and other U.S. adversaries. "The nuclear program now underway in North Korea poses an imminent danger of nuclear weapons being detonated in American cities," he said in an interview.

    Perry added that he reached his conclusions after extensive conversations with senior Bush administration officials, South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun and senior officials in China.

    After weeks of debate, President Bush and his senior foreign policy advisers this week are expected to meet to resolve the administration's next step in the crisis over North Korea's nuclear programs. Officials have discussed how sharply to ratchet up the pressure, and how to react to a series of possible North Korean provocations, including nuclear tests.

    Perry is the most prominent member of a growing number of national security experts and Korea specialists who are expressing deep concern about the direction of U.S. policy toward Pyongyang. As President Bill Clinton's defense secretary, he oversaw preparation for airstrikes on North Korean nuclear facilities in 1994, an attack that was never carried out. He has remained deeply involved in Korean policy issues and is widely respected in national security circles, especially among senior military officers. They credit him with playing a key role in developing the U.S. high-tech arsenal of cruise missiles and stealth aircraft and also with righting the Pentagon after the short, turbulent term of Les Aspin, Clinton's first defense chief.

    Only last winter Perry publicly argued that the North Korea problem was controllable. Now, he said, he has grown to doubt that. "It was manageable six months ago if we did the right things," he said. "But we haven't done the right things."
  2. He added: "I have held off public criticism to this point because I had hoped that the administration was going to act on this problem, and that public criticism might be counterproductive. But time is running out, and each month the problem gets more dangerous."

    Since the crisis over North Korea's nuclear ambitions erupted last October, when officials in Pyongyang disclosed they had a secret program to enrich uranium, the Bush administration has sought to pressure the regime into giving up its nuclear programs without offering inducements or entering into negotiations. Administration officials -- who came into office highly skeptical of the Clinton administration's 1994 deal that froze North Korea's nuclear programs -- have sought to enlist Japan, South Korea and China to join in isolating North Korea, and have begun laying the groundwork for a maritime campaign to shut down North Korea's narcotics and weapons smuggling operations.

    North Korea has insisted on direct bilateral negotiations with Washington, although officials briefly participated in trilateral talks with China and the United States, and over the months it has taken increasingly provocative steps. It ousted international inspectors, restarted a shuttered nuclear facility and appears to have reprocessed at least a few hundred of 8,000 spent fuel rods that can provide plutonium for weapons. The spent fuel would give North Korea enough nuclear material to build two to three nuclear bombs within a few months, doubling the estimated size of its arsenal.

    Last week, North Korean officials told the administration they had completed reprocessing all of the fuel rods -- an assertion that U.S. officials have not been able to confirm through available intelligence.

    Officials at the Pentagon, State Department and White House declined to respond to Perry's criticism on the record. But speaking anonymously, administration officials vehemently disagreed with his analysis, saying they have succeeded in building a multilateral consensus that North Korea's nuclear program is unacceptable, leaving Pyongyang increasingly isolated.

    The administration has no intention of rewarding North Korea for giving up its weapons, officials said, adding that the new effort to target North Korea's illegal sources of revenue will only further weaken North Korea.

    The administration policy toward North Korea, however, has been characterized by fierce disputes among senior policymakers, which officials privately acknowledge have hampered the administration's response. "There is an ongoing search for consensus within the administration itself," said Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute. "The lack of a consensus to a significant extent has prevented U.S. policy from unfolding."

    In a two-hour interview in his office at Stanford University, Perry said that after conversations with several senior administration officials from different areas of the government, he is persuaded that the Korea policy is in disarray. Showing some emotion, the usually reserved Perry said at one point, "I'm damned if I can figure out what the policy is."

    Nor, having had extensive contacts with Asian leaders, does Perry believe that the multilateral diplomatic approach is working. "I see no evidence of that," he said. "The diplomatic track, as nearly as I can discern, is inconsequential."
  3. From his discussions, Perry has concluded the president simply won't enter into genuine talks with Pyongyang's Stalinist government. "My theory is the reason we don't have a policy on this, and we aren't negotiating, is the president himself," Perry said. "I think he has come to the conclusion that Kim Jong Il is evil and loathsome and it is immoral to negotiate with him."

    The immediate cause of concern, Perry said, is that North Korea appears to have begun reprocessing the spent fuel rods. "I have thought for some months that if the North Koreans moved toward processing, then we are on a path toward war," he said.

    Perry's comments, while unusually blunt from a former senior policymaker, reflect an increasing consensus among other specialists that the administration, distracted by Iraq, has allowed the North Korean crisis to spiral out of control.

    "I'm not sure where our policy is going," said retired Army Gen. Robert W. RisCassi, a former U.S. commander in Korea. But, he added, "I don't know if I would be as doomsday as Bill Perry is at this juncture," in part, because he believes a diplomatic solution is still possible.

    James M. Bodner, a former top policy official at the Clinton-era Pentagon, said that the Bush administration essentially has a policy of ignoring North Korea as much as possible. The trouble, he said, is that it doesn't have time on its side, because North Korea's moves are likely soon to begin altering the politics of East Asia in a way that undermines U.S. interests in the region.

    Even some specialists who support Bush administration policy think the situation is moving toward confrontation. "I think it will be enormously significant" if North Korea tests a nuclear warhead this year, said Paul Bracken, a Yale University expert on Asian nuclear issues. "It'll force the administration to take action -- surgical strikes, perhaps."

    Eberstadt described the current situation as "sitzkrieg," saying neither side has made its most obvious move. In North Korea's case, that would be detonating an underground nuclear device, he said, while for the United States it would be to organize an international program of maritime interdiction -- a kind of loose embargo -- to shut down dangerous North Korean exports, including missile sales.

    Perry argued that an interdiction strategy "would be provocative, but it would not be effective" in preventing the sale of nuclear material. "You don't need a ship to transport a core of plutonium that is smaller than a basketball," he said.

    Rather than escalate in this way, Perry said, the administration should engage in "coercive diplomacy," which he explained as, "You have to offer something, but you have to have an iron fist behind your offer." He didn't specify what should be offered, but others have suggested that North Korea would like economic aid, trade deals, diplomatic recognition or a nonaggression pact.

    © 2003 The Washington Post Company
  4. This is a very troubling issue that will not go away. Clinton should have dealt with it, but characteristically papered it over with the ill-fated appeasement policy. Now it is Bush's problem and a mighty tough one at that.

    How can you negotiate with them? They already breached the last deal, the Clinton payoff. What good is international isolation or embargoes? They are a pariah state with no economy.

    No one actually wants war, but it appears inevitable. I can't see this one getting better with time. Will we be in a better position if they get three or four actual bombs? Either we are going to allow these minor thug regimes to threaten us with total destruction or we are going to act like a superpower. Do we have to wait until a major US city is nuked to get serious? Even then we would have no way of proving they were behind it.

    It's bad enough that a corrupt and unstable country like Pakistan has nukes. We simply cannot allow axis of evil charter members N. Korea or Iran to develop them.

  5. Lol. AAA, is there anything that's not the fault of a Democrat?

    What do you mean you have no way of knowing who it is that lobbed a nuke at you?

    "axis of evil charter members". Oh ho ho. :) That's a good one!
    I wonder if you might want to take out a pen and paper and just jot down the list of international incidents N Korea, Iran and the US have been involved in and the nature of the involvement. (Actually, better get two pens -- US list is kinda long.)

    Seriously now, I had already been starting to question your sanity, but this post just about confirms that you've lost it. Anyone that thinks N Korea is trying to obtain nukes in order to use them against the US is clearly out his mind.
  6. Scary stuff I think. Would make a good poll on elite, whether guys think we will go to war in the next few years with North Korea. And if there was a war, if it would be easier, somewhat harder or much much harder than was Iraq.
  7. War inevitable? Sure is when you have a chicken hawk war monger in the white house.
  8. man


    a thread is started and you are instantaneously insulting. it is quite obvious how this thread will continue - as hundreds of others did before. annoying arguing between nasty teenagers.
    i do NOT agree with everything said by AAA, but that does not mean that i have to be extremely provocative like yourself.

    i have sympathy with some of your arguments, but your style sucks enormously ... and that reduces the strength of these very arguments.


    you are obviously against war in korea, yet you do not care to seed little battles on a board, which obviously is not at all violent, evil or threatening. diminishing your persuasive power substantially IMHO.

  9. help me help you get rid of these nuclear weapons
  10. man


    rather cryptic post ...
    #10     Jul 16, 2003