posted on May 28, 2009 09:16
Dick Morris posted a very interesting column yesterday in which he laid out the major foreign-policy challenges facing the Obama administration right now. Here's the penultimate paragraph of that piece (emphasis mine):
In the case of North Korea, of course, military action is off the table since it already has the bomb. But if the United States stiffens Japanese and Chinese resolve and takes the lead, there is no doubt that economic sanctions - real sanctions which include energy - would bring North Korea to its knees quickly.
Let's spply some good old-fashioned strategic reasoning here:
- The North Koreans are a belligerent nation with a massive inferiority complex and an aching need for hard currency.
- Apparently they have finally managed to detonate a nuclear weapon, just a few days ago.
- There are lots of very bad guys out there with heaping piles of cash and a slobbering hunger to get their hands on a nuke.
- Those first commercially-available nuclear weapons have a pretty good chance of detonating in Israel. If they don't, they're coming here!
So. It sounds to me like we could make a pretty good case that we have a strong interest in preventing North Korea from manufacturing and selling nuclear weapons, hmmm?
Morris thinks we can't risk taking North Korea on now because they have nukes. But they successfully created a nuclear blast just a few days ago... just how many weaponized nukes does Morris think those guys have?
Probably none, unless they weaponized their design more than once without testing it first. Even they aren't that stupid. And even if they do have warheads mounted, didn't we just learn a few weeks ago that their delivery system isn't even close to ready for prime time?
So odds are the North Koreans aren't ready for nuclear war now, and if they are, it's by the slimmest of margins. But the one thing we now know is that they will be ready... and soon!
And we know that, just as soon as the North Koreans are ready for nuclear war, so will be Al Qaeda and all the rest of them.
So where's the smart money? Are we willing to bet our lives that diplomacy will prevail within the next few months and prevent the establishment of a nuclear-armed Al Qaeda? Or do we strike North Korea now, while they remain only marginally dangerous, and eliminate the threat?
Because the only survivable response to an existential threat... the only survivable response... is to eliminate the threat.