Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Are North Korean Nukes So Bad?

The revelation that North Korea apparently tested a nuclear device set off a flurry of tongue wagging and finger pointing.

Republicans, unwilling to shoulder any responsibility for their failures, blamed Bill Clinton. Meanwhile, the Democrats blamed Dubya for his unwillingness to "engage" directly in unilateral discussion with the Dear Leader. Yeah, you know, the Dems are all about acting unilaterally when unceasing multilateral approaches are on the menu.

But instead of lamenting the latest news, perhaps we should seek out the silver lining instead.

It is past time to junk the hegemonist mindset of Neocons who view global diplomacy as a game a Risk, and admit that American interests would be greatly advanced by encouraging South Korea, Japan, and India, for that matter, to arm themselves as a check on Chinese influence and power. Likewise, the nuke test has put the North Koreans at odds with their Chinese benefactors and represents an opportunity for the U.S. to exert greater influence in the region, not less.

Further, it is now clear that American soldiers manning the DMZ "are now as much hostages to the North Korean military as they are defenders of the South." In short, this provides an opportunity to pull up a tripwire in Asia.

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