North Korea announced late Sunday night that it had completed its first successful test of a nuclear weapon. Combined with their July 5th test of long-range offensive missiles, they have just become the world’s newest nuclear threat.
How did it come to this? How could we have let this happen? Sadly, this is the result of a policy of sanctions, concessions and appeasement.
The Clinton administration of the 1990s sought to contain the threat of North Korea by granting concessions and offering appeasement packages. Bill Clinton sent former president Jimmy Carter over to North Korea to negotiate with the defiant regime and Carter came back declaring peace in our time.
In exchange for an agreement to stop nuclear weapons development, Carter and Clinton agreed to send millions of dollars in aid, oil, food and even nuclear technology to the rogue state. Tragically, Carter didn’t think to include even the simplest means by which to verify North Korea’s compliance. It turns out that North Korea used the money and technology to enhance its weapons development while its people continued to starve.
When President Bush outlined the so-called “Axis of Evil” in his State of the Union speech in 2002, he was gravely serious about the threats in our world. Laughed at by many people; he identified Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the three biggest threats to America’s national security because they sponsored terrorism and sought weapons of mass destruction.
When rogue nations voluntarily forego peaceful negotiation, the only option they leave responsible nations is military enforcement. It is then up to sensible nations to decide whether or not to use force to uphold the U.N. regulations.
Worldwide intelligence agencies, international allies, our congress and our President agreed at the time that Iraq was the biggest of these threats, and thus the regime needed to be overthrown. The United States took the lead in ousting Saddam Hussein from power and we have helped to foster the growth of the Middle East’s youngest democracy.
Iran and North Korea only faced U.N. resolutions and diplomatic condemnations because America lost the support of the international community. The U.N. alleged that we were frivolously looking to start more wars and refused to do their part to confront these threats.
Say what you want about America’s War on Terror, but Iraq remains the only country from the “Axis of Evil” that has not since threatened the world with nuclear weapons. Negotiation failed to deter either Iran or North Korea. President Bush, like Reagan and Churchill before him, turned out to be right about evil in our time, and we are only just beginning to understand that.
As a result of these failed policies, the balance of power in the world is shifting away from peaceful democracies and falling into the hands of Machiavellian dictators. Unless the world unites to act forcefully against these growing threats, it won’t be long before Iran will be next to threaten us all with nuclear weapons.
Matt Bushman is a civil engineering senior and Mustang Daily political columnist.