2003 August 11 Monday
WMD Proliferation Control Becoming More Difficult

The New York Times, in a story about the suicide of late Hyundai Asan chief Chung Mong Hun, mentions that South Korean trade with North Korea is growing rapidly.

Conservatives saw the project as a cash cow that funneled Pyongyang money that could be used for nuclear weapons. More to the liking of all South Koreans is straightforward inter-Korean trade, which jumped 25 percent in the first half of this year, to $269 million.

"I was in Kaesong a week ago, there were a lot of South Koreans there, still talking about details," said Tony Michell, president of Euro-Asian Business Consultancy, a British company that does business in North Korea. "They are checking the soils and surveying. Work is continuing on the road and railroad."

This makes it harder to apply economic pressure to North Korea.

South Korea is not the only country that is taking steps that make it harder to stop WMD proliferation of course. David Lampton of the Nixon Center says that the US is turning a blind eye on China's export of WMD technology to the Middle East in order to try to win Chinese cooperation on North Korea.

"Iran is a very worrisome problem and they're moving along on their nuclear program, but they're not as far as North Korea and I think we're just saying, 'Let's deal with this problem and then we'll take the next one.' There is no effective policy with respect to North Korea unless China cooperates," Lampton said.

This is a sign of the weakness of the hand the US leaders think they have to play with China on both North Korea and the Middle East.

In the face of a growing likelihood that North Korea will have nuclear weapons that can reach Japan the development of a nuclear arsenal is no longer taboo in Japan.

This month, The Shokun, a major right-leaning magazine, gathered essays from more than 40 prominent writers to debate the issue.

Even journalists with dovish reputations said the option was a valid card to play for political leverage, not only against North Korea but the United States and other nations. Some questioned whether Japan was ready for the responsibility; others preferred Japan to get a missile defense system.

Nuclear North Korea and Iran could set off regional arms races.

For instance, North Korea's testing of a nuclear device might persuade Japan to quickly go nuclear itself, arms-control experts suggest. A nuclear Japan, in turn, might force China to increase its arsenal. That could put pressure on Taiwan to seek such weapons.

A nuclear Iran, meanwhile, could make it harder to establish pro-American governments in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US is approaching a point where its attempts to stop WMD proliferation may become a complete failure. Technological and world economic development trends increase the number of countries that can supply relevant technology and the technology becomes steadily cheaper to acquire. Containment strategies based on trade controls and diplomatic agreements are simply inadequate. But so far the Bush Administration has been unwilling to use either trade sanctions to compel more countries (most notably China) to cooperate and the will does not exist to pursue a military option to remove regimes that are pursuing WMD development.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 August 11 03:12 PM  US Foreign Weapons Proliferation Control

John Moore (Useful Fools) said at August 11, 2003 6:54 PM:

You are absolutely correct.

Bush had such a clear post-9-11 vision, but where is it with regards to Korea and Iran, and especially China, their nuclear patron. They have held firm to the multilateral talks with North Korea, but have done nothing (publicly) to China except put trade sanctions on specific firms that can be caught proliferating.

This is not enough. China (and Russia also) is behaving like a strategic antagonist to the US, operating through proxy countries to cause us harm. This is very much like the cold war, except that the proxies, with WMD's, can cause us much worse damage via terrorist delivery of weapons.

What happens when a whole bunch of suspicious countries have nukes? How do we deter anyone from selling one to a terrorist for detonation on our soil?

I'd like some answers from the Administration on this!

Randall Parker said at August 11, 2003 7:13 PM:

John, It will take the loss of a US city for a full implementation of the preemption strategy. See this previous post and also see Stanley Kurtz's article from March 2003 Itís All About North Korea: Beyond the Iraqi sideshow. Nothing has really changed since those analyses. The general trends are still unrolling as they seemed likely to do then.

Short of a nuclear attack on the US the only thing I can foresee that will change that general trend would be a conventional terrorist attack of sufficient deadliness to make the American people extremely angry.

At this point I've kinda run out of things to say about North Korea and Iran. The general trendlines are clear. Sometimes really bad trends have to reach a horrible climax in order for people to wake up.

Michael B. Hickland said at March 20, 2004 6:40 AM:

Did Saddam send his WMD's to Sinochem in the PRC?

The above question is a logical one considering both what we know and what we do not know!

What we know-
1) The PRC was the leading supplier of weapons to Saddam.
2)China National Chemical Import & Export Corporation
(Sinochem) a formerly state owned firm is the PRC's
largest chemical supplier and trading company.
3)We have documentary evidence proving that Sinochem
was trying to collect a US$4.2 Billion pre-Gulf War debt
from Saddam.
4) The Sinochem joint-venture's, Sinohawk (Overseas) Ltd.,
managing director told me in 1996 that Sinochem had supplied Saddam with the material that caused Gulf War
5) We know that a Sinochem Director denied that the joint-
venture, Sinohawk, ever existed, even though we have evidence to the contrary and two U.S. judges found that it
6) The PRC's Embassy in Baghdad was kept open throughout the Gulf War and the Asian Wall Street Journal
Stated that the Saddam/ Sinochem trade continued well
after the war's end.

What we do not know-
1) What exactly did Saddam buy from Sinochem/PRC
for US$4.2 Billion?
2) Why is Sinochem offering no explanation of the details
of their trade with Saddam?
3)Did Saddam send or return WMD's to Sinochem/PRC
in lieu of debt repayment?
4)Is there too much pressure on the media for an in-depth
investigation to take place?


Michael B. Hickland
Global Healthcare Technologies, Inc.
1173 Rivage Cr.
Brandon, Fl.33511

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