Tuesday, October 10, 2006

DPRK: The Road Ahead 

The DPRK's claims this past weekend to successfully conducting a nuclear test have (thankfully) shifted most observers' focus off the tawdry but honestly insignificant details of Rep. Foley's failings as a mentor and adult and to other topics. Unfortunately, for many this focus is represented by the dichotomy of the "it's Bush's fault" and "it's Clinton's fault" camps, completely ignoring that at the core it is Kim Jong Il's fault. It is accurate to say that little the Bush administration has done over the past six years effectively deterred or prevented the DPRK from pursuing and, apparently, achieving its nuclear ambitions. It is, however, equally accurate to say that Clinton was equally unsuccessful in the six years between the agreed framework and Bush taking office. When the DPRK wasn't enriching uranium or extracting plutonium it was busy doing all the other technological research and work it get ready for the big day. The ugly truth that both camps should be facing is that absent convincing China to hold them back (and it seems that this recent development was actual contrary to China's desires) we had no way to stop this from happening short of military intervention.

People are going to do what they want unless there is sufficient motivation to restrain their personal desires. Granted, nations do not operate exactly analogous to individuals, but in the case of totalitarian regimes like DPRK and Saddam's Iraq it is about as close as you can come to the actions of a nation reflecting the personal desires and motives of an individual. The greater and more noble motivator is, of course, just reward for desired behavior. When that fails, though, there must be suitable and sufficient punishment for undesired behavior. For some, the positive motivation is more of an incentive to deceive, receiving bounty without having to sacrifice. As it was with Saddam, this too is the oft demonstrated pattern we see with Kim Jong Il and DPRK. It is apparent, too, that our punishments were woefully inadequate to achieve the desired goal. When I was a child I famously told my mother to go ahead and spank me twice, as the promised punishment was worth the personal reward of the soon-to-be repeated offense, so I fully understand how an individual can make such a trade. Moving forward, we must ask what is the behavior we desire from DPRK and what are suitable punishments to achieve this behavior.

Of course, if we could waive our magic wands and sprinkle Kim with fairy dust we'd have him completely and verifiably destroy all existing weapons and dismantle the production capability. This is an important goal, but we must understand that absent the tools mentioned above the likelihood of such occurring is very slight. At a minimum, though, we must strive to ensure that neither nuclear materials nor knowledge is exported from DPRK. The question is what, short of intrusive military action, will accomplish this goal. Allow me to offer the following for consideration:The dovish amongst us would look at my recommendations and decry it an act of war. As I pointed out before, though, was are already at war with DPRK. We cannot shut down their nuclear program with the current regime in place nor can we change the regime without all-out war, an option that noone wants to see. However, we equally cannot allow DPRK to use or export their nuclear weapons or nuclear knowledge. Frankly, I think we should be beyond any illusion that what we do will make one ioia of difference to what they do. At this point it is more important to make sure our actions are correct and sufficient to accomplish what we want rather than aimed at trying to make them do anything specific.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?