While the Clinton administration is attempting to stand up to Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic despite years of appeasing him and his genocidal ambitions, it has just completed a deal with the worlds most dangerous regime – North Korea.
The negotiations that led to this latest agreement began after evidence began to mount that an underground facility, located in a remote mountainous site at Kumchangri, was being prepared to take part in North Korea’s nuclear program. In exchange for allowing U.S. inspections of this facility, the United States agreed to provide the North Koreans more food aid and a pilot project to help North Korea grow potatoes.
In 1994, the United States signed the Agreed Framework with North Korea in which the United States agreed to provide the North Korean regime with 500,000 tons of fuel oil and proliferation resistant nuclear reactors in exchange for North Korea freezing its nuclear program at one facility, which appeared to be close to producing nuclear weapons.
The 1994 accord came under harsh criticism at the time and the intervening five years have proved beyond any doubt that North Korea is not a nation we can, or should, deal with. It is abundantly clear that North Korea has not suspended work on its nuclear program and the Kumchangri site is but one manifestation of this program. The only question now is how can the United States deal with North Korea nuclear ambitions.
It is equally clear that the Clinton administration and the year-old administration of South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung believe the best way to deal with North Korea is through payoffs and appeasement.
The success of the United States’ and South Korea’s policies is abysmal. Ever since President Kim instituted his “sunshine policy” of engaging North Korea, the Stalinist regime test-launched a new ballistic missile over Japan with the inherent capability of reaching parts of Alaska and other U.S. territories. North Korea also continues to work on another missile that could target all of the United States. Its nuclear program shows no signs of abatement, and it continues to launch provocative incursions into South Korea with special forces troops.
North Korea is a threat that will not disappear with boats of food and fuel. The reality is that any food feeds the military, while the population suffers through a never-ending famine. The fuel only goes to support North Korea’s war machine. The United States should not be forced to pay an access fee to ensure that every rogue nation honors its commitments. This will only increase the likelihood these nations will proliferate and emboldens them to be more provocative.
We should not forget that our current problems are the result of U.S. weakness from almost 50 years ago. If President Truman had allowed General Douglas MacArthur to utilize the full weight of the U.S. military against Stalinist North Korea and its Chinese Communist allies, the world would be a much safer place.
The answer to North Korea is not engagement, appeasement or negotiations. These are tactics of the weak and will increase the threat posed to the United States and its allies. As General MacArthur himself said, “In war there is no substitute for victory. Appeasement begets new and bloodier war.”
This lesson should not be forgotten. North Korea should know that they will never be allowed to build a nuclear weapon or deploy ballistic missiles that can hit the United States. The only response to that threat is for the United States to use any and all means to ensure its destruction and finish the job MacArthur started.
-The writer is a senior majoring in political science.