Sunday, September 18, 2005

North Korea Agrees to Give Up Nuclear Weapons Program

A joint statement from the six-nation multi-national negotiation team has announced an agreement in which North Korea will abandon its nuclear weapons program. In exchange, the United States has promised that it has no nuclear weapons in South Korea and does not intend to invade North Korea. According to the agreement North Korea's energy needs would be suplimented by electrical power from South Korea and further discussions will include the possibility of the procurement of a light-water nuclear reactor.

I am absolutely amazed by this announcement which seems to come almost out of nowhere. The past months have seen virtually no movement and no meetings taking place at all. It is only in the past month that formal contacts had been renewed.

In any case, the agreement is a stunning victory for President Bush, who has consistently stood by his demand for multi-national rather than bi-lateral negotiations as had been demaded by North Korea.

The world is slowly, slowly realizing that George W. Bush is the real deal. What you see is what you get. When he says something, he means it. No double talk. No prevarications. No, "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' means."

When a country, like the United States, can negotiate from a position of strength, it can, and should, set the perameters for the negotiations. President Bush has done this and has done it very effectively.

People have criticized him for being "stubborn" or "inflexible" or even "naive" because of this habit of saying what he means and meaning what he says. Other nations, who are used to saying much without meaning anything at all, or saying one thing while meaning another, have been baffled, bewildered and threatened by Bush's lack of international sophistication in this subject. For them, Bush is completely unintelligible.

Now, however, both the President's domestic international critics will have to take notice and accept the cold reality that George W. Bush does really "carry a big stick" and knows how to use it.

With North Korea out of the nuclear arms race, the eyes of the world will no focus even more on the brazen and undisguised efforts of Iran to develope its own nuclear weapons program.

Until now, the possibility of strangling that program short of a military attack seemed highly doubtful. But the position on the field has changed dramatically today and Iran is in a much weaker position that it was before. Bush's success with North Korea, and his success in working with six nations to close the deal will most certainly put pressure on Iran's European "allies" to rethink the appeasement strategy.

I have no doubt that soon, the United Nations will be confronted by a formal proposal to impose international economic and diplomatic sanctions on Iran. It is unlikely that, even if such a proposal should be passed, that Iran would call it quits. Unless there are some impressive diplomatic moves by other Muslim nations to "persuade" Iran to change its mind, I fear that the military option will loom larger in the coming months.

Iran will become increasingly isolated during this period and, with its back against the wall, will have to decide whether, in the long term, the possibility of possessing nuclear weapons outweighs the possibility of the total breakdown of its political structure as a result of a strangled economy.

These are dangerous times. But, by God's grace, less so today than yesterday.

ht: Captain Ed