So North Korea is going down the Tripoli Road to unilateral disarmament:
The U.S. began removing North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism after the communist regime released an inventory of nuclear plants and materials, removing an obstacle to future ties between the two countries.
The declaration was required under a September 2005 agreement by the government in Pyongyang and the U.S., China, South Korea, Japan and Russia to rid the Korean peninsula of atomic weapons. North Korea’s refusal to submit information on its programs had stalled the negotiations for months.
The question is, why? We’ve been using carrots (and the occasional small stick) for fifteen years now, trying to get Pyongyang to drop its nuclear program. What changed? Why now?
I think the answer goes back to last fall, and the we have Israel to thank. Remember Osirik II? It went like this:
U.S. officials are sorting through what they say are private Israeli claims that on Sept. 6 they struck targets tied to nuclear weapons activity, not merely to missile production.
U.S. concerns about ties between Syria and North Korea have long focused on a partnership involving missiles and missile technology. Even many hawks within the Bush administration have expressed doubts that the Syrians have the money or technical depth to build a serious nuclear program like the one in Iran.
But the Israeli airstrike inside Syria on Sept. 6 has reignited debate over whether the Syrians are trying to overcome these obstacles by starting their own small nuclear program, or by trying to buy nuclear components from an outside supplier.
The most thrilling part of the Israeli Air Force operation wasn’t that they destroyed a terrorist state’s nascent nuclear program. It wasn’t even that the North Koreans were involved on the ground. It’s that Israeli warplanes got through one of the world’s most advanced air defense systems, unharmed and (so it seems) undetected. And the IAF doesn’t even own any stealthy jets. They did it electronically.
Which means we can, too. With impunity.
So. Pretend you’re the Dear Leader. Your choice is between losing your nuclear program to the United States Air Force in the middle of the night sometime, or selling it for cold, hard cash. Kim Jong-il took the money.
Now let’s see if he’ll run.
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