Rice’s Diplomacy: the Art of Backpedaling

From North Korea Says It Has Nuclear Weapons, the Associated Press, Feb 10, 2005:

“The North Koreans have been told by the president of the United States that the United States has no intention of attacking or invading North Korea,” Rice told a news conference in Luxembourg.

From The President’s State of the Union Address, January 29, 2002:

North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.
And all nations should know: America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation’s security.

19 replies on “Rice’s Diplomacy: the Art of Backpedaling”

I have a very very basic “world politics” question, that seems so stupid I’ve been afraid to ask it in public, but I’ll ask it here. Don’t WE have nuclear weapons? Is this really a thing where we’re telling everyone in the world they can’t have something, only us, the shiny good, happy country can have them? Isn’t it sort of hypocritical? Why in the world would a country voluntarily rid itself of weapons that we have and could level them with?
I’m not trying to be a smartass, I actually don’t get it. Am I missing something?

anyone want to answer my question seriously? I wasn’t trying to start a bipartisan catfight, I just want to know what the real deal is. Are we in the process of dismantling our own program as well? Or are we telling other countries to dismantle theirs while we build ours? Who is allowed to have weapons of mass destruction without sanction?

Christ, Hornsy, you’re a dick.
Diff, for years there were only five countries with nukes, US, USSR, China, UK, France (India and Pakistan also tested devices in the late 90s). The five of us decided to make everybody else sign a non-proliferation treaty (NPT). Not everybody signed the treaty. Signatories were also obliged not to help anybody else get atomic weapons. Anyway, this may seem somewhat unfair but the NPT and this iniquity, like the curiously similar permanent members of the UN security council, are the baseline of subsequent considerations. We are telling them not to have something we have but we are within our legal obligations to do so. For actually useful general background this link:

Thanks. It still seems a bit…wierd. I mean, I’d love it if we all got rid of nuclear weapons, but I know that will never be the case. It just seems…patronizing or whatever to be saying “look, you’re a little too crazy to have these things…we’re smart, we know what we’re doing, but you’re in way over your head.”
you know? But thanks for the link.

I think that, to some extent, the NNPT was written because the nuclear nations at the time recognized that nuclear weapons were bad but that, politically speaking, it is very difficult to get rid of them once they’re there. While it is probably wrong that we have nuclear weapons, the reality is we do and we will keep having them because there would be to many people that cried out against it if we got rid of them. Besides, the USSR and China, countries that are only nominally our allies will also keep them, so we insist on keeping them as well. On the other hand, the treaty was written at a time when the evil of nuclear weapons was starting to be more recognized. The US, along with the USSR, agreed to decrease the size of their stocks around that same time.
The other argument that I’ve heard for us keeping WMDs and keeping other nations from doing the same is that we are supposedly the world’s police. It is very difficult for police to enforce anything if they don’t have access to something worse than the criminals. I believe that was the idea behind Horn’s post; we don’t let child rapists do whatever they want, just like ganglords aren’t supposed to have RPGs. I may be wrong about Horn’s post, maybe it was truly meant to be hateful, but I don’t think so. Of course, I still disagree with him, but that is a debate for another time.
In short, I believe that you are indeed correct when you suppose that we are hypocrites on the nuclear issue. But those are the arguments that I’ve heard and/or conjured up on my own to support that hypocricy.

also, though our actions sometimes seem to contradict this, we hold close the rhetoric of peace, at least. there have been leaders of muslim states who have advocated the death of all isrealis by hellfire. some seem to think it’s a moral imperative to clean the earth of isreal. this makes isreal nervous. i’m not sure why, but they seem to be a nervous people anyway. maybe that’s why when fundamentalist muslim nations want to develop these weapons, some western nations get twitchy.
it’s like me and my neighbor, dale. i hate him and want him dead at all costs and i let everyone in my neighborhood know. and then i start building a cannon in my front yard and everybody gets all upset. it’s my right to build a cannon! so what if i’ve promised to reduce the children of dale to ash? that doesn’t mean i’ll actually do it. i need the cannon for self defense. not to blow dale and his evil spawn straight to the bowels of hell from whence they sprang, or anything.

I guess nameless soldier hit on the main issue. I don’t know why in the world we think WE’RE the world police? Because we’re bigger? Because we’re richer? Why? How was that appointed to us? I’ve always hated that attitude.

and lets keep in mind that, although Kim Jong KooKoo has come forth to state that he HAS nuclear weapons…
(this kind of announcement is a golden chip to get to a bargaining table in seeking relief for the desperate state of his nation where people are literally digging trenches for food)
… there is no evidence that he does.
no one, not one single person has SEEN a nuclear weapon of theirs.
just food for thought.

I have a question. Rev. Moon, owner of the Washington Times, sold 12 missile launching Russian subs to North Korea. Why isn’t he in jail as a terrorist? Why aren’t his assets seized here in the US?
Excerpt, original here:
Jane’s Defense Weekly is reporting this week that Kim Jong-Il, unstable North Korean dictator (I wrote about his kidnapping habit in the British Guardian) may be able to target California with sea-launched missiles. His know-how, the Reuters story relates, comes from 12 ex-Soviet submarines that fell into his hands. They came with their original launch tubes and stabilizing gear intact. Where does Kim get those wonderful toys?
Funny story: According to U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency documents from 1994 (which you can browse here), they were furnished by Reverend Moon.

Because they can target California.
I wouldn’t mind if we were the world’s police if we did it consistently, honorably, and thoroughly. Better us than someone else I say. But the fact that we don’t attack DPRK because they may have nukes and we do attack Iraq just shows the current administration is more into bullying the weak than policing. If we were cops we’d’ve invaded Iraq, DPRK, Cuba, Pakistan, China, Zimbabwe, Syria, Saudi, etc, etc.

hey horns, i especially hope you like the spot in the game where “”Bush compares Kim Jong Il to “a spoiled child at a dinner table.'”
sound familiar?

I think it’s time to tell Big Daddy Bush he has to make sure his American kids are fed, clothed, taken to the doctor, and put through college before he buys his big shiny truck, boats and guns and goes of to play “cowboy” with his buddies.
Cheap bastard.

North Korea has learned that if you’re going to be an international pariah, it’s better to be one that can nuke your neighbors – it’s all about respect see. As to the U.S.A. being the world’s policeman – we have little choice – even China, a country which would like to see itself as a major global player, expects the U.S. to step in when it’s neighbor starts acting crazy. The same goes for Europe, old and new. Just like with the real police, everybody resents your authority until they need you. Our problem is that the current “head cop” is a myopic incompetent who thinks he has vision.

I enjoyed your game. Although it does sort of trivialize N Korea a little. As far as I can tell, Kim has indeed starved his own people, and he is sort of acting like a “a spoiled child at a dinner table.” Of course, I would bet a large amount of money that Bush doesn’t handle it correctly. On the other hand, what would you do? I’m just saying that the Kim regime is horrible to it’s people in ways that can only be imagined. Kim Jung Il makes Saddam Hussein look like a cute puppy whose main crime is over-licking.
But then, he’s clearly not that smart. If I was him I would be invading South Korea right now. The US doesn’t have much to stop him with right now since we’re sort of tied up in Iraq. I know Rumsfeld thinks we can, but then Rumsfeld also thought that we could fight the Iraq war without any troops.
Anyway, my point is that the Korean issue is one of the most difficult issues right now. Bush will probably screw it up, possibly getting all of us killed, but at the same time the Clinton administration obiously didn’t do a great job getting him to disarm either.

hey soldier, i was just trying to inject some fun here..things have been a little…tense around here the past couple days–thought we could use the diversion-
i thought the game was a little trivializing as well, until i read the article that inspired it. nk’s first mention of pulling out of the 94 agreement happened in march 02–there was never any evidence that they had begun before that date. plus, the 94 agreement was to stop the development of plutonium.
kim is one of the most vulgar people on earth, and his human rights record is atrocious, i think we can ALL agree on that! but he got his buttons pushed by a bumbling foreign policy which up till 2002 had been (presumably) working- he’s a madman and a despot, and what bush fails to recognize (over and over) is that the world is a little more complicated than a few soundbites from a speech or press conference-“smoke em out”, “bring em on”, “dead or alive”, “you’re either with us or with the terrorists”, “want some wood”.
what i find even funnier is that a certain cheerleader for the war would suddenly say, “oh, but we’re not sure that he even has the nukes”–whereas powell’s little dog and pony show at the un had an actual live vial of anthrax and a cartoon rendering of a mobile weapons lab– that intel was 10-15 years old, but i guess it was good enough to drag us into mess-o-potamia (with all apo
logies to jon stewart)

You’re right minotaur. I took a couple days off for some training and everyone was jumping down each other’s throats. Jessica and didi especially. Take it easy guys, same team. Also the anti-horns retoric seems to have picked up a bit too. Take it easy on the little guy, huh.
You’re also right about the game, it can be good when taken in the right light. I’ve also been a little stressed out, if I’ve unintentially burned anyone, I apologize. 🙂 Also, I have some interest in the outcome in Korea, for personal reasons, more than I really do in other areas.

Comments are closed.