Monday, September 03, 2007

North Korea gets less frightening

It's hard not to understand why the United States wouldn't try pretty much the same approach with Iran that it has with North Korea. As the last reclusive communist state, and apparent intentions to acquire a nuclear weapon (although some doubt that the explosion last October was really a nuke, or if it was whether it worked), North Korea is plenty strange, and has sold weapons (perhaps the only things it does well) to other countries. But despite a certain amount of Bushian bluster, the U.S. has been working fairly steadily with NK's neighbors to try to neutralize the dangers. And now Pyongyang has agreed to disable all its nukes by the end of the year, and claims the U.S. plans to take it off the terrorist list.

Of course North Korea hasn't been a real danger to the United States since the Korean war, and hasn't been a serious danger to South Korea for decades. It has been trying to rejoin the world for some years now, but our neocons would rather pick a fight. The tendency to create demons out of admittedly lousy governments around the world mainly serves to frighten the children and bolster the military-industrial complex.

The next logical step would be to remove the 30,000-plus U.S. troops in South Korea, which used to serve mainly as a tripwire, but now serve no strategic function at all. Say they're being redeployed to fight real terrorism threats, or just bring them home and don't replace them when they retire.

To be sure, Iran isn't the same as North Korea, but the best intelligence is that if they're seeking a nuclear weapon they won't have one for years, so there should be time to try negotiating instead of trying to find a justification to start the bombing.

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