Category Archive 'North Korea'

23.11.05

U.S. and partners scrap North Korea Reactor Project

News Articles, North Korea, PNAC.info Commentary


Now there isn’t even an illusion to cling to, in terms of thinking that North Korea and the U.S. might be able to make some sort of peace deal involving light-water nuclear reactors in exchange for nuclear disarmament by North Korea. The project overseeing the building of the actual reactors for that deal has been shut down. While it does make for a symbolic defeat, it’s really just a reflection of a deal-killing stalemate anyway. Both the U.S. and North Korea are knowingly making demands and requests that the other side cannot accept. North Korea is not going to unilaterally disarm, and give up its #1 (and possibly only) bargaining chip, without exacting excruciating (and probably unfullfillable) demands first. And the U.S. keeps moving closer toward a stance of not giving North Korea a single thing unless they do just what it demands, and no less, and does it first.

It’s easy to see why each country is staking such tough ground to stand on– after all, these nations still have not officially ended the war between them from more than 50 years ago. And it’s hard to see a positive place they might go from here. It’s just more “demand, and resist”.

It’s worth considering that there are two most common situations which end in stalemates: the bank robbery/hostage-type of stalemate between police and criminal, and the business stalemate between two negotiating parties. Consider that those two types of stalemates have very different ways of resolving themselves. In the “we’ve got you surrounded” scenario, it ends with surrender, or death. The business negotiation, or peer-to-peer stalemate, can end by the two parties just agreeing not to work together–and often, with no hard feelings.

The kneejerk reaction to that might be “but they have nukes, or are making them! We can’t allow that. North Korea is a dangerous country.” Well, for 50 years or so, the U.S.S.R was a dangerous country, with quite a lot of nukes, and a large empire to boot. And they never used them against anyone else, because to use nukes against another country basically means you will be annihilated in retaliation, or so the thinking goes. If North Korea was looking to get annihilated by the U.S., it has had plenty of time and opportunity to actively provoke such a thing. Just a quick dip into South Korea by the thousands of troops North Korea has at the border would suffice to trigger a response from the U.S. And yet in all these years of prickly and uncomfortable isolation, North Korea has not done so.

That’s worth thinking about, in the context of what sort of stalemate (and stalemate resolution) the United States chooses to be involved in.

(By the way, the fact that North Korea could sell nukes to terrorists doesn’t change the formula much. The terrorist would use the nuke, it would get tied back to North Korea, and they would get punished as though they had used the nuke themselves. It’s just as suicidal as the scenario where they are the nukers, and therefore as counterindicated as that scenario as well.)

U.S., partners end N. Korea nuke project

By PETER JAMES SPIELMANN
Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The United States and its partners in an energy consortium have terminated a project to build two light-water atomic reactors for North Korea as an incentive to convince Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, officials said.

The decision was a sharp rebuff to the North’s demand that it be given light-water reactors before it would open its nuclear program up to international inspection. Read the rest of this entry »

10.11.05

China: Little Progress on N. Korea Talks/ N.Korea Offers Reactor-for-Concessions Bid

News Articles, North Korea


This story about disarmament talks with North Korea is basically a “nothing happened” story, and normally, it probably wouldn’t be worth commenting on, or posting. But given that the U.S. is actively engaged in diplomatic tugs-of-war with three of the PNAC’s (and the administration’s) remaining least favored nations– Iran, Syria, and North Korea– it’s worthwhile to see all three negotiations in context with each other. The big question, really, is does the U.S. have the functional capability to get what it wants in terms of concessions from these nations, without resorting to force? I say “the functional capability” because I believe that the U.S. certainly has the capability in terms of the tools and resources. The question lies in whether a) this administration has the diplomatic skills to pull it off, and b) if the U.S.’s reputation in the world, which isn’t likely to get much better any time soon, has damaged our negotiating footing too much.

When you are dealing with two belligerent nations who are on the verge of nuclear weapons capability, like Iran and North Korea, your ability to resolve conflict through diplomacy is essential. We’ll see how it goes.
Read the rest of this entry »

23.11.04

Rebuilding America’s Defenses

Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Research Materials, Syria


The PNAC’s “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” position paper can be found in PDF form at the PNAC site, or here at our site:

http://pnac.info/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

05.07.03

U.S. pullback in S. Korea also alarming to N. Korea

News Articles, North Korea


Alarming other nations and making them feel threatened by our power and our maneuvers are important elements of the PNAC’s strategy, and of the United States’ current foregin policy stance. So North Korea’s reaction here would not necessarily be seen by PNAC proponents as a bad thing.

James Brooke, New York Times

Published June 22, 2003

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—When the United States announced plans to pull its troops away from the border with North Korea, attention focused mostly on South Korea and its objections to losing the protection of the so-called tripwire. What was largely overlooked were the protests from the party that felt most threatened by the change: North Korea.

In a new twist, North Korea now fears that if the United States rolls up its human tripwire, it will free U.S. military planners to go north, bombing nuclear sites near Pyongyang, the capital. In the military chess game on the Korean Peninsula, by moving U.S. troops out of range of North Korea’s border artillery, the United States gains a strategic advantage.

“Our army and people will answer the U.S. arms buildup with a corresponding powerful deterrent force and its pre-emptive attack with a prompt retaliation to destroy it at the initial stage of war,” North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said recently.

Lacking targets

Alexandre Mansourov, a former Soviet diplomat in Pyongyang who now teaches security studies in Hawaii, translated North Korea’s concerns to mean, “If the U.S. pulls out of the bases, North Korea knows that the U.S. is preparing a pre-emptive strike.”

Full story…

12.04.03

North Korea and the US ‘on a slide towards conflict’

News Articles, North Korea


This article about current U.S. and North Korean relations provides a good illustration of one of the biggest problems with having a foreign policy that is dependent on other nations yielding to the threat of overwhelming U.S. military force, or “falling into line” if you will. Many countries’ governments will see such a policy as a threat to their country’s sovereignty and to their own administration. Instead of embracing a peace on terms defined unilaterally by the U.S., they will instead prepare for the eventual conflict between their interests and “American interests”, as defined by the U.S. government.

One would be hard-pressed to find a better example than North Korea, which has maintained a defensive posture toward the United States since the two countries became enemies upon the United States’ entry in the Korean conflict over 50 years ago. The North Koreans have one of the world’s largest armies, they are believed to possess the ability to hit the U.S. with a nuclear weapon, and they are (if you’ll pardon the phrase) hell-bent on not being controlled or conquered by the U.S.. They’ve stated openly their desire to develop their nuclear weapons capability as quickly as possible, for the stated reason that they feel the U.S. is an active threat to their national security.

Here’s an excerpt from this disturbing article:

North Korea fervently believes it is next on America’s list for pre-emptive strikes, says Strong. It takes George Bush’s rhetoric in his ‘axis of evil’ speech as a very real threat to its national security. Washington says it seeks a diplomatic end, but has not ruled out a military solution.

‘There is such a complete breakdown of trust and confidence between these two countries that they are now unable to read the intentions of the other so there is real potential now for this to escalate into conflict,’ Strong said.

He said the North Koreans were prepared for war but ‘anxious for peace’. The stand-off between the two nations first flared in October when US officials said North Korea had admitted having a secret nuclear programme in violation of a 1994 agreement. As punishment, Washington and its allies suspended promised oil shipments.

North Korea retaliated by taking steps to reactivate mothballed facilities capable of making nuclear bombs and withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It also deported UN monitors.

It claims it pulled out of the treaty because non-nuclear countries were supposed to be protected by nuclear powers like the US, not threatened.

Full story: North Korea and the US ‘on a slide towards conflict’


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