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Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Beast Appeased

Protesters march with defaced portraits of North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, left, and his son Kim Jong Un, denouncing North Korea's artillery barrages...
Protesters march with defaced portraits of North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, left, and his son Kim Jong Un, denouncing North Korea's artillery barrages... View Enlarged Image

Terror State: It's no coincidence that North Korea chose now to attack our ally, South Korea. Who will be the next aggressor on the world stage who detects opportunity in American weakness?North Korea fired rockets at South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea on Tuesday, killing two South Korean Marines and several civilians, and wounding more than a dozen. It's the latest provocation from a regime that combines a poisonous mixture of megalomaniac dictatorship, its own strange brand of Marxist totalitarianism, less concern for its people than perhaps any other government in the world, and — not least — economic dependence on China.

With North Korean "supreme leader" Kim Jong-il's health failing, and an influential army general vying with Kim's three sons and son-in-law to succeed him, North Korea seems to test U.S. nerve every chance it gets.

 Consider Pyongyang's long history of aggressive acts, and the West's tepid responses:

• 1989: U.S. intelligence interprets new construction at Yong-byon as the early stages of atomic weapons building.
• 1992: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors blocked from visiting two Yongbyon nuclear waste facilities.
• 1994: The Bill Clinton/Jimmy Carter "Agreed Framework" deal lets North Korea "freeze" plutonium production in exchange for oil and construction of two light-water nuclear power plants.
• 1998: Pyongyang's "space program" launches Taepodong-1 missile — more likely a prototype ICBM.
• 2003: North Korea pulls out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, charging that the U.S. was not honoring the Agreed Framework — which turned out to be a ruse allowing the regime to buy time to turn its nuclear program toward weapons production.
• 2006: Pyongyang tests a nuclear device and test-fires at least six missiles, including a long-range Taepodong-2.
• 2007: Israel bombs North Korean-supplied nuclear cache in Syria.
• 2009: The U.N.'s IAEA declares North Korea a full-fledged nuclear weapons power after it tests its second nuclear device.
• March, 2010: North Korean torpedo sinks South Korean navy ship, killing 46 sailors.

Can Kim Jong-il, the North Korean military and those waiting to succeed Kim be blamed for concluding they can do most anything without any meaningful response from the free world?

What must they think when they see the latest advice from former president Jimmy Carter, who negotiated the 1994 Agreed Framework that they calculatingly exploited — thus helping Pyongyang become a nuclear weapons power? Writing in the Washington Post, Carter ruminated that it was "possible" North Korea's shenanigans are "designed to remind the world that they deserve respect in negotiations that will shape their future."
According to the worst president of the 20th century, "Ultimately, the choice for the United States may be between diplomatic niceties and avoiding a catastrophic confrontation."
In other words, more appeasement is our only course of action.

As Herbert London of the Hudson Institute points out on, "What the U.S. does in North Korea — or doesn't do — is regarded as a portent of the U.S. position on Iranian nuclear weapons as well."

Our other enemies — from al-Qaida's mountain retreat to Tehran — are watching to see how much war our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president is willing to tolerate in East Asia.


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