The apparent nuclear test in North Korea last night is yet the latest in a long string of foreign policy failures from the Bush administration. Bush’s purported nuclear nonproliferation policy is a flop — just like the rest of his policies.
Since George W. Bush became president, North Korea has restarted its nuclear reactor and increased its stock of weapons-grade plutonium, so it may now have enough for 10 or 11 weapons, compared with one or two when Bush took office.
North Korea’s test could also unleash a nuclear arms race in Asia, with Japan and South Korea feeling pressure to build nuclear weapons for defensive reasons.
Senator John Kerry, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Ranking Democrat on the committee’s Asia Subcommittee, issued the following statement on reports of North Korea’s successful test of a nuclear missile:
“Reports of North Korea’s test of a nuclear weapon is an extremely dangerous and destabilizing event. Weapons of mass destruction pointed at our allies and strategic partners represents a shocking failure of President Bush’s security policy, and a threat to the interests of peace and stability in the world.
While we’ve been bogged down in Iraq were there were no weapons of mass destruction, a madman has apparently tested the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.
Tough talk followed by weak action or no action isn’t a policy. The Administration must finally wake up and start doing the diplomacy necessary to address this threat. The North Korean regime should be condemned in the strongest possible terms, and the international community must together take the steps necessary to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons once and for all.
We can’t afford a nuclear arms race in the region, with Japan, South Korea and even Taiwan believing they have to match North Korea. Nor can we afford to have a rogue nation even Donald Rumsfeld labels “an active proliferator” sell nuclear weapons to hostile regimes or terrorist groups.
Getting this right will require this Administration to demonstrate the leadership they’ve failed to provide as years of absent or bungled diplomacy allowed the threat to grow exponentially. Even when told this test was coming, the Administration sat on the sidelines and hoped others would do the job. If Japan and South Korea could send their leaders to China, surely George Bush could have sent a top level negotiating team with a mandate to stop this test from going forward. We need to get off the sidelines.”
Bush said today that “he “remains committed to diplomacy,” but that any transfer by North Korea of nuclear or nuclear-related missile technology to “any state or non-state actor” would “be considered a grave threat to the United States.””