Monday, March 26, 2007

North Korea and Uranium

This is a bit old, but it is one of the more significant failures of this administration. The evidence is mounting that the North Korean program to enrich Uranium is, and has been, much smaller and much less advanced than the Bush Administration, or Republicans in Congress prior to 2001 have been claiming. This is important because it is yet another example of what seems to me to be the most striking characteristic of Republican and conservative positions on foreign policy and national security. Namely, wherever the major threats are that face this nation, Republicans are somewhere else. For years now, the one large danger for American security in and around Korea, has been the possibility of North Korea getting a nuclear weapon. By far and away the greatest danger of that was that the North Koreans would collect the plutonium from spent fuel rods from their graphite moderated nuclear reactors and build a bomb from that. In 1994 Clinton established the Agreed Framework with the North Koreans precisely to keep the North Korean plutonium locked up. It worked well. The Republicans, however, were outraged because the agreement left open the option for the North Koreans to develop means of enriching uranium. Now, uranium enrichment is much more difficult, takes much longer and requires much more space and so is far less of a danger than plutonium enrichment. The Republicans just knew, however, that the North was now well on its way to getting a uranium bomb and had run circles around Bill Clinton. So since 1994 the Republicans have been trying to do in the Agreed Framework to save us from the dreaded North Korean uranium program. Well, the succeded and with the Agreed Framework dead before George Bush's first term was over, the North processed the spent fuel rods (remember with the plutonium, that were locked up under the Agreed Framework that the Republicans had killed) put together and exploded a plutonium bomb. Now we learn that the dreaded North Korean uranium program that the Republicans were so concerned to protect us from, was never much of a threat. That is conservative, Republican national security in a nutshell.

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