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John Kerry Weighs in on Reports of North Korea’s Nuclear Missile Test

by Pamela Leavey

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.””

4 Responses to “John Kerry Weighs in on Reports of North Korea’s Nuclear Missile Test”

  1. Bush’s commitment to ‘diplomacy’ has resulted in America being the country least welcome to intervene in international problems of any magnitude.

    W flunks diplomacy every time he takes a test. Talk about being left behind in the school of life.

  2. Great piece. I especially liked James Baker interview in the last day or two when he pointed out that it wasn’t a failure to talk to our enemies….sort of make you wonder what he thinks of W’s approach.

    The sad thing about this acceleration of nuclear adventurism by the North Koreans that as bad a development as this is, it is probably being cynically applauded by the Rovians who feel that anything that makes Americans less secure will be a win for the Republicans EVEN IF THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE for the added dangers. Most Americans haven’t in the past simply ‘gotten it’.

    In addition, anything that will get that pesky Mark Foley story off of page 1 will also be appreciated by the Rovians who are not really interested in pursuing world peace but in advancing their own cynical causes.

    But I expect Americans are getting sick and tired of all of the failures, all of the fear, all of the hypocrisy. I think that once and for all they shall be going to the polls in droves (will their votes really be counted?) to vote for a new direction!

    Bob Freedland

  3. Kim Jon Il – Perhaps Time For a World Wide Nuclear Disarmament

    Kim Jong Il, perhaps wanting to recapture attention as the Nuclear Boogieman of the World back from Iran, publicly announced and then detonated a nuclear device. The world’s leading powers, including Asian, have united in condemning this provocative act, and called for a cease to North Korean’s pursuit of nuclear armaments, or the imposition of new sanctions.

    Some could argue that this is an overreaction, especially by nuke rich countries, to this economically weak, starving country. However North Korea is, of course, militarily strong, even though their nuclear weaponry and delivery systems are still unproven.

    Kim Jong Il, who could be described as Idi Amin on radioactive kimchi, appears to go beyond cleverness at times, in his unstable behavior. Being God of a country can do that.

    Leaders of the Democrat Party should assemble a coalition of retired military leaders, diplomats, scientists, religious, business, union, and other leaders, to demand that the United States lead efforts to bring Worldwide Nuclear Disarmament. Democrats should immediately speak out for this goal, and commit to accomplishing it. The Bush Administration’s neo-conservatives probably won’t buy into this. Is that anything new?

    Furthermore, many of the religious right might oppose this as another postponement of their dearly awaited Armageddon and Rapture. Some Christians, for nearly two thousand years, have mistakenly predicted the imminent end of the world. But then again, “Hope Springs Eternal”.

    It’s hard to think of any other act which could improve the image of the United States more, than leading the World to universal nuclear disarmament. Some would oppose this, such as some radical or dictatorial countries. We hope it would draw the support of most of the world’s leading countries; even India and Pakistan, with mutual de-nuking. With strong enforcement teeth, Israel might join the Cause.

    An international agreement, with a UN adoption, would probably be necessary to put this into effect. Perhaps a few bombs might be kept under international control, to deflect an approaching asteroid.

    Many will ask, “What if a ban is implemented, and a renegade state or radical group retains or makes a new bomb? Let’s not kid ourselves, if diplomatic and other peaceful methods don’t persuade compliance, and they may need to be first tried and tried again, strong military enforcement means would be required.

    Before the armies are sent in, we could send in a new international strike force to deal with these troublemakers. It might be called “Nuclear Emergency Unified Terminating Enforcement Regiment”, or “NEUTER” for short.

    The absence of nuclear weapons worldwide would not lessen the military effectiveness of the United States. It might reduce the clout which we hold over everyone’s head, but we could still respond, as we have, using non nuclear means. In fact it should diminish tensions, and eliminate some of the hate from those who call us The World Bully.

    What other way could we counter, so rapidly and meaningfully, the Ugly American image, counter the arguments of terrorist, and lead the world in a truly momentous march toward reason and harmony.

    And if the Republicans and the “Want a War Religious Right Folks” don’t support it? Touché!

  4. Kerry Blasts Bush’s N Korea Policy at Campaign Stop for Jack Carter in Nevada

    More news tonight of John Kerry on the road… Today Kerry was in Nevada to endorse and campaign for Jack Carter for Senate. Jack Carter, son of Jimmy Carter, is running against Republican incumbent Sen. John Ensign. Ensign is your atypical Bush r…