2003 March 09 Sunday
Iran and North Korea Determined To Go Nuclear

Marc Erikson argues that North Korea's regime is determined to become a nuclear power and is not just trying to extort more aid from other countries.

The standoff, then, is between a US policy of pushing North Korean nuclear disarmament and a Kim policy of developing nuclear weapons for self-preservation. Can or will Kim give up on his goal? That's not a whole lot more likely than Mao giving up on nuclear development in the 1960s. Will the US give up its demand for dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons program? That's equally unlikely, as the very logic of its Iraq policy is WMD (weapons of mass destruction) disarmament to prevent proliferation.

Erikson's argument sounds correct. Its implications are staggering. The North Korean regime can survive even if a substantial portion of its population is in total poverty and hungry. It is not motivated by a sense of economic desperation. The regime wants a nuclear capability most of all to be able to deter an attack. The regime's primary goal is to ensure its own survival. Once it has that nuclear capability it will want to try to milk it for more money by extortion and it may try to use it to unify with South Korea with the North playing the dominating role. It may also elect to sell nuclear materials and even nuclear bombs in order to raise money. But its greatest goal is to have a greater deterrent capability.

Meanwhile in Natanz Iran the Iranian regime is scaling up to become a major nuclear power.

In a nearby building, workers are assembling parts for 1,000 more centrifuges, part of a constellation of 5,000 machines that will be linked together in a vast uranium enrichment plant now under construction. When the project is completed in 2005, Iran will be capable of producing enough enriched uranium for several nuclear bombs each year.

The North Korean and Iranian regimes are both determined to become nuclear powers. They can not be bribed out if their ambitions. They can't be threatened out of them. No diplomatic process will dissuade them. Unless the regimes are overthrown or their nuclear development facilities are destroyed they will both become nuclear powers with substantial nuclear arsenals.

The question the people of the Uinited States need to consider is what are risks to the US and the rest of the world of Iran and North Korea as nuclear powers and what price is the United States willing to pay to prevent each of these regimes from becoming nuclear powers.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 March 09 09:06 PM  Axis Of Evil

John Moore said at March 9, 2003 11:16 PM:

We are clearly going to have to stop both nations.

North Korea reportedly has ICBM's ready to test that can loft a nuclear payload to the United States. This must be stopped very soon, even if it means war. If it comes to the choice between the destruction of Seoul or Los Angeles, we will have to choose Seoul! And it may very well come to that.

North Korea will very likely require a major war within the year or may start one. We must consider ourselves very lucky that they are not currently holding hostage our RC-135 fliers!

Iran is more vulnerable to pressure. It has a populace that likes the west and hates the rulers. It is a more open society than North Korea. It's leaders are not as desperate, although some of them are willing to sacrifice millions in their ambitions. Hopefully we can deter them, and also work to overthrow their government.

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