Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

On the North Korea Nuke Test

In case you haven't heard (i.e. you don't read blogs, or newspapers, or watch television or listen to the radio, in which case you're certainly not reading this), North Korea test-detonated a nuclear device today.


It appears that some are questioning whether the explosion was actually a nuke, or whether it was just a lot of dynamite, intended to fake a nuclear detonation.

Dave thinks a nuclear detonation in North Korea means bad news for Iran. He reasons that no one will want to attack the NorKs now, but that we've learned our lesson about the price of not taking out nuclear ambitions early on, so we'll be more aggressive against the Mullahs than we were against Lil' Kim. I think Dave got hit with the naive stick -- politicians are reliable for two things: they will say anything to get your vote, and no problem is so dire that it can't be solved about twenty years from now. No one wants to be the guy who ordered the deaths of a few hundred thousand Asians, so we have to wait until the body count gets into the millions before anyone will do anything.

Oh, and speaking of the reliability of politicians ... the Dems think that if N. Korea detonates a nuke, it's all Bush's fault. (Actually, Dems are in a bit of a tight spot, because they have two conflicting talking points: (1) there is no real threat but Bush, and any evidence to the contrary is just fear-mongering, and (2) Bush is criminally negligent for allowing the NorKs to become a threat. I'm surprised their heads haven't popped yet, under pressure from the contradiction).

"Democrats seized on North Korea's brazen act to criticize President Bush's record in confronting the communist regime, contending the administration's focus on Iraq ignored legitimate threats."

So ... if Bush had used military force to stop the Norks, the Dems would have been cool with that? Somehow I doubt that.

"Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate's second-ranking Republican, accused Democrats of playing partisan politics with a nuclear weapons threat. 'Listening to some Democrats, you'd think the enemy was George Bush, not Kim Jong Il,' he said."

Well duh. I hope McConnell isn't just now figuring this out.

"'We had the opportunity to stop North Korea from increasing its nuclear power, but George Bush went to sleep at the switch while he pursued his narrow agenda in Iraq,' added Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat in a tough campaign in New Jersey."

And what was the nature of that opportunity? Because reporters don't know how to ask follow-up questions, we'll never know. Too bad, because I'd love to get a Dem fighting a hotly-contested Senate seat to pin himself down on the issue, and explain precisely what he would have done. I'd even give him the benefit of hindsight.

Incidentally, anyone remember who gave Kim Jong-Il the nuclear material in the first place? I do.

In any case, the most recent polls look increasingly dismal for the Republicans, who (as far as I can tell) have spent this election cycle trying to see how many seats they can lose. In all of this, I can take two small bits of solace: first, I don't live in a strategically important city, so I doubt a bomb will hit here. Second, this November I have the sacred privilege of voting against Jimmy Carter's son for Senate. It's the little things in life you treasure.

Update: Liberal Larry provides perspective from the other side of the aisle.