Sunday, August 08, 2004

Iran and North Korea - Why Not?

Something I've been meaning to address for awhile. During this entire operation against Iraq, there have been foolish calls to invade Iran and North Korea from somewhere on the left. The ones that are saying, "Why Iraq? Iran and North Korea are greater threats." You think? Let's take a quick look:

  1. North Korea: Has limited Nuclear abilities. This was developed after the fantastic Democrat Duffis, between bouts of cigar fetishes, offered this country nuclear material in exchange for a non-proliferation treaty, the right to inspect their facilities and manage any waste materials through the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). A brilliant plan, touted by the Clinton administration as one of their key successes during their tenure in office. This turned out to be one of the stupidest blunders ever made as North Korea began to immediately violate the "non-proliferation" part of the treaty and developed nuclear weapons, tossed inspectors and generally began to wave their saber around.

      North Korea is now only being off set by it's big brother China, who has nominal influence over Kim Il Jong, the nutbar, wannabe Elvis in Hollywood, leader. China has great desire to see Kim remain on stand down as they are currently enjoying an economic boom with a large amount of American capital investments and purchasing of their products. However, this is only a small part of the strategy of negotiations. According to the CRS Report For Congress, 1994, additional options included "Negotiated Reduction of the US Military Presence In South Korea" which appears to be the current administrations policy. This is most likely influenced by South Korea's desire to back the current confrontation down and continue to develop an economic relationship with their northern neighbor. Considering it's economic and humanitarian condition, largely catastrophic, this would appear to be a simple enough policy. North Korea also continues to be rather slow in their development of said nuclear arms. Their threat must be considered marginalized by these issues, regardless of their continued saber rattling. Some would claim that this makes them more dangerous. However, it is likely that China, though bound to defend their neighbor, is not interested in upsetting the economic status quo. North Korea now gets a large amount of it's materials, food and energy through China. This gives China the upper hand in negotiations and effectively allows them to keep their boot hill on Pyonyong's neck. It is not in China's best interest to allow North Korea to threaten South Korea or any economic relations they may have with the US

  2. Iran: Currently engaged in talks with France, Britain and Russia, have been building nuclear reactors, but lack the final ingredient to make these reactors a go. According to current information, Iran is looking to build 15 Nuclear reactors for "energy" purposes and has been working with France and Russia to obtain the materials. They currently are suspected of having a secret nuclear weapons program that is spread out amongst several research sites. However, they do not have actual nuclear weapons and the countries formerly engaged in assisting them with their civilian program have put a halt to their assistance and are actively engaged in dialogue with Iran to keep this from happening.

      There have been multiple suggestions floating around that either Israel or the United States would participate in "surgical strikes" to take out their nuclear reactors and potential weapons abilities. Obviously, 15 reactors would mean 15 strike zones that would have to be taken out by stealth and maximum coordination for timing. That option is probably very low on the list of potential strategies. Considering France, Britain and Russia's current engagement with Iran, is not likely to happen.

      Iran is in a vulnerable situation with the US on either side of it's borders and it's internal politics in disorder. This morning, on CNN, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer who pressed her on the issue of Iran. She indicates that the greater world body is now aware of Iran's desire for nuclear capability to expand it's hegemony over the Middle East and does not find it acceptable. Blitzer continued to ask if the US was prepared to act unilaterally against Iran if it continued to try and develop nuclear weapons. Dr. Rice smartly told Blitzer that she would not engage in hypothetical discussions, but re-asserted that the world was aware of Iran's desires and would not accept such actions.

      The Kerry campaign, via James Rubin, has indicated that they would engage in the same policies of the Clinton administration and consider giving Iran it's fissile material in exchange for the same agreement that was taken with North Korea. They are insisting that this method of engagement with Iran would better serve our needs in the Middle East by "bringing them into the fold". Apparently, they feel that they would be better able to make this failed policy work than the Clinton administration with North Korea.

In essence, North Korea already has nuclear weapons which places the military option at the lowest rung of potential options. While they may be a "threat" they are largely marginzalized. Continued dialogue is the appropriate action. Even the Kerry campaign is not advocating military intervention, so we should understand that calls for military action on this front are ridiculous.

Iran is being dealt with in a similar manner. For all of those who are wondering why we continue to refer to France and Russia as an ally when they have opposed other actions in the middle east, we should understand that they have their purpose within the Iran situation and are not likely to be referred to as anything other than "ally".

Both North Korea and Iran have their security issues, but simply did not present the same threat as the potential for Iraq's involvement in funding, giving shelter and training terrorist groups. Tied with information that they had WMD (true or false) or were attempting to re-constitute such a program, continued hostility towards American aircraft in the No-Fly zone, continued interference in inspections by UNMOVIC and subsequent violations of the UN resolutions, also, intelligence that Iraq had multiple contacts with Al-Qaida over the past decade and we had been attacked on 9/11/01, Iraq could be considered a threat worthy of military intervention and it was.

Today, Iran may be considered the higher priority now as they are interfering in Iraq with agents, money, materials and weapons to the insurgence along with their continued known attempts to push their nuclear program forward. Potential that they are currently harboring some aspects of Al-Qaida ups the ante considerably. Engagement through our European partners will continue while we are engaged in Iraq, but we must now be considered be in a proxy war with Iran as they struggle to become THE POWER in the middle east and greatly influence Iraq's future politics. These actions we will not condone and certainly puts Iran at the top of the threats list now that Iraq has fallen.

Don't look for military action at this time. Completing the Iraq mission and finishing Afghanistan will be top priorities. France and Russia remain allies and are engaging Iran. Political options will remain the priority.

1 comment:

Pat in NC said...

In reading the Iranian forum it appears those who would overthrow the mullahs do not want outside help. Five young men were sentenced to death this week and were to be publicly executed. They managed to hang one of the victims before the police were overcome by dissidents. I am hopeful that they are able to organize internal resistance and overthrow the government. Our troops are building guard towers on the Syrian border and I hope they can do similar thing along the Iranian border. If Sadr falls, the Iranians will have lost their major puppet.