Well, This Is Fairly Terrifying

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Under the headline "U.S., N. Korea Drifting Toward War, Perry Warns":

Former defense secretary William Perry warned that the United States and North Korea are drifting toward war, perhaps as early as this year, in an increasingly dangerous standoff that also could result in terrorists being able to purchase a North Korean nuclear device and plant it in a U.S. city.

"I think we are losing control" of the situation, said Perry, who believes North Korea soon will have enough nuclear warheads to begin exploding them in tests and exporting them to terrorists and other U.S. adversaries. "The nuclear program now underway in North Korea poses an imminent danger of nuclear weapons being detonated in American cities," he said in an interview.

Now, invasion just ain't an option this time around. But unlike Iraq, North Korea is so desperately economically isolated, so lacking in resources, that selling off nukes to terrorists just might seem appealing to Kim Jong Il, who's easily as crazy as a dozen Saddam Hussein's on bad bathtub blotter acid. Keep your fingers crossed, I guess. (Via Free-Market.Net)

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  1. yikes!

  2. I expect International ANSWER to be ready to protest the US in the event of war.

  3. I saw we hit ’em now just to calibrate our nukes

  4. Imminent threat? Nah, that’s Iraq and we already took care of them.

  5. I don’t think Kim Jong-Il is truly crazy. He’s just quite sadistic and ruthless, and smart enough to realize that giving off the impression of being crazy works to his favor in a standoff such as the one he’s in. The million-dollar question is whether and when the Chinese will conclude that tolerating his antics is no longer in their interests.

  6. Well hopefully confronting North Korea will allow Bush to ride through the next election. It’s funny though how we’re all shouting “no nukes” as if that were the answer. Personally, I’m for more WMD around the world. I don’t see how people can rationally believe in the second amendment and yet don’t want more countries to have nukes. Look folks, it’s out of the bag. It was fine when it was just us, but now there’s at least a half-dozen countries holding. The more people that have them now, the better everyone will behave.

  7. “The more people that have them now, the better everyone will behave.”

    does this include terrorists?

  8. Yeah…that whole Machiavellian-kick-the-shit-out-of-Iraq-and-everyone-else-will-fall-in-line strategy is really paying off now, isn’t it?

    Laz! Where are you?

  9. I don’t understand what’s so difficult about creating peaceful relations with our nutty neighbors. Don’t drop bombs, drop a Starbucks and a Walmart or two. Sit back and wait a few months, and *poof*! Instant capitalism!

    Or better yet, let’s hold a big G-8 summit in N. Korea. Let all the protesters to the destruction for us.

  10. I want to know what the pacifist think the answer is here. It’s not legitimate to say “We need to dialogue some more. We need to send in Jimmy Carter.” I’d seriously like to know what kind of resolution is even a plausible scenario that avoids eventual war. So where are the peace-niks? What does the almighty UN have to say about this and what do they plan to do to avoid an “armed” resolution?

  11. Anyone else think this is just N. Korea’s last gamble?

  12. there are two options we control here
    1. war at our behest (not at the behest of north korea which is out of our control)
    2. no war that we provoke

    we need to just keep vigilant fighter plaens ready to shoot any and all nukes otu of the sky and keep north kroea covered with CIA types

  13. “Personally, I’m for more WMD around the world. I don’t see how people can rationally believe in the second amendment and yet don’t want more countries to have nukes.”

    Anyone who can’t tell the difference between his peaceable neighbor owning a gun and a Communist dictator owning a nuke probably _should_ post anonymous.

  14. since when can vigilant fighter plaens shoot nukes otu the sky? And since when have the CIA types covered anyplace well, north kroea or elsewhere?

  15. c:

    are you saying there are no possible ways to defend cities from nuclear attack?

    if not, what was “star wars” all about?
    if so, i mean: lets do that.

    mebbe you’re right re. CIA, but think of the silver lining. if CIA types must exist let them besmirch the north korean landscape, not ours

  16. Well, the Chinese [Communist? check, Dictators? check] has lots of nukes and they’re one of our largest trading partners. Go figure. If North Korea had nukes, they could sell them on the open market and maybe generate some income for their starving citizens.

  17. Does anybody remember that we lived with a Commie country for 40 years who pounded their shoe on the table and claimed they were going to bury us? MAD worked then and it’ll work now.

  18. Once upon a time, the security benefit the USA gained from having the world’s greatest nuclear arsenal outweighed the threat posed by other countries having their own arsenals. That is no longer the case. The number of countries with nukes has drastically expanded, the reliability and stability of those governments is typically low, and our conventional arsenal has developed to the point that we can have a pretty effective MAD deterrence based entirely on conventional weapons.

    The only wise policy, long term, is the global elimination of all nuclear weapons. I’m not saying tommorrow, and I’m not saying we should go first, but when Pakistan or whoever asks, “You have nukes, why can’t we?” we don’t really have an answer. The logic of proliferation is undeniable.

    Not very helpful for the issue at hand, I’m afraid.

  19. though the guns — nukes analogy is more than a bit thin, there’s one solid thread. the thing which keeps the armed neighbor peaceable, ostensibly, is the threat of retaliation by his similarly armed neighbors.

  20. I’m too young to remember and I was no history major at college: what was MAD, Lefty?

  21. C, Most early-program nukes are aircraft delivered–putting them on a ballistic missle requires a higher level of engineering than a onesy-twosy nukes program typically has available to it.

    The NK have an advanced missle program and I’ve read speculation they could soon build nukes small enough for missle delivery, but everything I’ve read says they can’t do it yet. So fighters would have a chance of knocking down the nukes prior to delivery….

  22. Citizen,

    MAD = Mutually Assured Destruction

    Regards,

    Steve

    🙂

  23. MAD=Mutually Assured Destruction. A belligerent country has the big-time disincentive of knowing its land will have a one-inch coating of 20,000-degree glass covering it as soon as their missiles start flying.

  24. MAD did avoid nuclear catastrophe but to say it worked is a bit sinister to the people of
    Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Albania,
    Yugoslavia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, North Korea, China, East Germany, Hungary, Tibe,t Outer Mongolia,
    North Vietnam, Cuba, South Vietnam,
    Cambodia, Laos, South Yemen, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Afganistan, Nicaragua……

  25. “Laz! Where are you?” asks Brian at 04:08 PM

    Lazarus is ON VACATION, Brian. Somewhere in the South Pacific, cavorting around with young native (naked?) girls. Pago-Pago, I think.

  26. You mean they raised him from the dead, and he goes hog wild like that?

    Cheeze!

  27. ^
    ^
    ^
    ^
    || Wow, Julian you of all people profess free markets, yet you would have the government regulate WMD. You are so principled. No, you sir are wrong. Government involvement is the problem.

  28. I lost all respect for William Perry after he lost that boxing match to Manute Bole.

  29. “MAD did avoid nuclear catastrophe but to say it worked is a bit sinister to the people of Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Albania, Yugoslavia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, North Korea, China, East Germany, Hungary, Tibet, Outer Mongolia, North Vietnam, Cuba, South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, South Yemen, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Afganistan, Nicaragua.”

    They’re alive. And many are now free. The Central European and Central/East Asian states would have been gone (along with their populations) had there been a war.

    Somehow, I really doubt any of those people would say they would have preferred a nuclear exchange.

  30. ^
    my point was that MAD prevented anyone from doing anything about Soviet influence in these countries.

  31. Our intelligence agencies and North Korea have both been making claims about North Korean nuclear weapons for over a year. In that time, Bush led us into a war in Iraq, to deal with WMDs that don’t appear to exist.
    We have almost 150,000 troops in Iraq, and no troops to rotate in to relieve them, and we are in no position to confront North Korea.
    Will the hawks start to question the Bush foreign policy now?

  32. William Perry? I always wondered what the Fridge was doing these days!

  33. Losing control? When did we ever have control? I had temporary control of a very small plot of ground [one foxhole] of North Korea quite a while ago.
    At any rate, we have to take South Korea’s lead here since they have several million people within range of NK artillery.

  34. “Wow, Julian you of all people profess free markets, yet you would have the government regulate WMD.”

    Actually, I don’t recally advocating anything in particular this time around (well, beyond not invading a nuclear-armed nation withing firing distance of Japan and South Korea). Though if you mean that I think the government should prevent private citizens from developing smallpox and nuclear armaments… well… guilty as charged, I guess.

  35. “my point was that MAD prevented anyone from doing anything about Soviet influence in these countries.”

    MAD was the means by which these countries were liberated. A regular shooting war between the US and Soviet Russia would have made WWII look like a stroll in the park.

  36. Yeah, but just one hydrogen bomb dropped on US soil won’t do all that much damage, would it?

  37. Josh:

    I would think a Starbucks or Wal-Mart would do an awful lot of damage when it hit the ground. Anyway, isn’t that pretty inefficient?

    Julian:

    I suppose that even in a stateless society, mutual defense associations would have a rational defensive interest in preventing private individuals from possessing nukes. But on the plus side, a handful of nukes would be a great way for a secessionist movement to guarantee the U.S. government keeping its hands off. Ever read “Ecotopia,” by Callenbach?

  38. Ecotopia was founded when northern California, Oregon, and Washington seceded from the Union to create a “stable-state” ecosystem: the perfect balance between human beings and the environment. Now, twenty years later, the isolated, mysterious Ecotopia welcomes its first officially sanctioned American visitor. This is a classic environmental novel, offering a vision of a future both socially and environmentally sane.

    Like a modern Gulliver, the skeptical Weston is by turns impressed, horrified, and overwhelmed by Ecotopia’s strange practices: employee ownership of farms and businesses, the twenty-hour work week, the fanatical elimination of pollution, “mini-cities” that defeat overcrowding, devotion to trees bordering on worship, a woman-dominated government, and bloody, ritual war games. Bombarded by innovative, unsettling ideas, set afire by a relationship with a sexually forthright Ecotopian woman, Weston’s conflict of values intensifies-and leads to a startling climax.

  39. I’m sure we could offer the North Koreans a better deal for their spare nukes than al Qaeda can.

  40. Unless . . . we can stop this malaise in time by returning to our true constitutional roots with the help of some strong libertarian leadership.

  41. http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2003/07/Nextstepinthewar.shtml
    “The overall war is continuing more or less as envisioned. Now that we’re beginning to get established in Iraq, and now that Iraq’s oilfields are coming back online and exports are beginning again, we’ve reached the point where we can begin to seriously confront the Saudis.”

  42. How can you be focused on my fumbling of the economy and my soaring government spending when our enemies are at the front door?

  43. The real threat from North Korean nukes is that they’ll get into the hands of terrorists… obviously, NK won’t just nuke the US… that would be suicide. What I’m curious to know is whether or not, in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, the source of the bomb(s) could be ascertained.

    If so, I doubt the US has much to fear from NKan nukes; if not… then may God have mercy on the burning crater that was LA (or maybe Honolulu?):(

    Andy

  44. Yeah, but just one hydrogen bomb dropped on US soil won’t do all that much damage, would it?

    “I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed, but I am saying no more than 10 to 20 million dead, tops! If the breaks fall our way.”

  45. War is the health of the state. It is virtually always conducted for its own benefit, not for the benefit of its citizens. War is the means by which government expands its power and extinguishes liberty.

  46. Here’s my take:

    Governments with Nukes: Nuclear proliferation good, MAD in effect.

    Terrorists with Nukes: Nuclear proliferation bad, terrorist get or buy Nukes from corrupt or broke countries to use on enemies anonymously.

    Reality: can we really prevent either? Probably not.

    Real-world libertarian/isolationist solution: stop friggin messing around with other countries so they don’t have lunatics motivated to do us harm; trade with them (even if they practice evil things on their own people) until people exposed to the fruits of capitalism and freedom eventually revolt or peacefully change their own governments.

    That last option has shown some evidence of improvement when tried, vs. all others I’ve heard of. It’s not perfect, but I can’t think of better alternatives.

  47. ” stop friggin messing around with other countries so they don’t have lunatics motivated to do us harm”

    Is that what motivates lunatics?

  48. Eric Deamer,

    I guess that’s why The Corner doesn’t have a comments section. Don’t want the rabble making ’em look bad.

    So okay, what’s the Neocons’ enlightened solution? Or are there as many solutions as there are Neocons?

  49. “Real-world libertarian/isolationist solution: stop friggin messing around with other countries so they don’t have lunatics motivated to do us harm;”

    1) There will be “lunatics wishing to do us harm” whether or not we “mess around with other countries”. It comes with being the world’s lone military and economic superpower and being the primary symbol of western decadence and consumerism.

    2) Conducting foreign policy with an overriding goal of not pissing off lunatics who will hate us anyway, besides being impossible, is weak, strategically and morally. Doesn’t it seem analogous to never leaving your house because there are bad people outside, and surely there are some overriding principles that it would be worth pissing people off for, even if there can be wide disagreement over what the standards for that should be.

    3) We’ve already done the messing around so we have to deal with the consequences like grown-ups, even if that means more messing around. We can’t go back in time. Its a Pandora’s Box/cat out of the bag thing. “But the US used to support Saddam” Damn right, that’s why its our job to take him out and stick around to make things better, just as an example.

    4) If we don’t mess around someone else who is probably completely opposed to our interests will such as: China, a European Union lead by a Chirac/Schroder axis, or Russia.

    5) Having witnessed 9-11 in New York firsthand from a very close vantage point I wish we’d done a lot more messing around in the 90’s so Al-Qaeda wouldn’t have realized that we were weak enough to attack.

    6) Not messing around could be a pretext for lunatics to hate as much as messing around.

    “trade with them (even if they practice evil things on their own people) until people exposed to the fruits of capitalism and freedom eventually revolt or peacefully change their own governments.

    That last option has shown some evidence of improvement when tried, vs. all others I’ve heard of.”

    1) This hasn’t worked at all in China.

    2) For that matter it hasn’t even worked in France or Germany really (being semi-facetious, semi).

    3) Most governments are so corrupt that the people wouldn’t’ get the benefits of the trade.

    Is this really representative of Libertarian Foreign Policy? Please tell me there’s more to it than this.

  50. still confused eric. you and all other americans got the shit scared out of you on 11 septbr and now you feel “justified” in going out and kicking ass just because you can? it was an absolutely frightening day. i went up in the tower once. amazing view. amazing testament to freedom and free trade and prosperity. fighting in afghanistan makes sense. but going into iraq — clearly part of a different set of strategic goals (connection has most definitely NOT been established, but that doesn’t mean that iraq is necessarily a bad strategy (although it’s worth has yet to be demonstrated, too)) — needs other justifications.

    why not get out of korea — that’s the korean’s problem.

    as for messing around. afghanistan in the 80s? did the americans or didn’t they have “allies” fighting with OBL?

    as for messing around: clinton, to very little credit, kept the koreans at the table and there was no talk back then about the mess now.

    as for messing around: should we just accept flimsy excuses for war (WMD or not — none have been found, damnit; funding terror or not – where’s the link? clear danger to the us — can’t see one) and go out and fight all the time because the americans say so? and if we don’t see or share the same security interests, all of a sudden we’re “france” and then what?

    going to war is the choice that requires the proof. all we have are claims that war “will prevent another 11 september. and not war will cause more”.

    not being of the US disposition, please explain more why this aggressive, hostile foreign policy is good/preferable to the free-trade, no entangling alliances, letting regions take care of themselves (laissez faire?) FP of the libertarians.

    how did you feel about Panama and Haiti? and somalia? and liberia? and yugoslavia? and the sudan?

    tk

  51. 9/11 seems to be the perfect ad hoc hypothesis for the big government “conservatives”.

    might makes right. maybe that’s why the neocons (little pussy wimps in real life) like playing dick fencing with the US military…

    assholes.

  52. How about this for a libertarian solution?

    All the Reason posters chip in 5 or 10 bucks and Reason magazine can buy one of North Korea’s bombs. This could cause an arms race where The Nation, National Review, the New Republic etal will be forced to buy a-bombs to ensure their freedom.

    Seriously, with the billions raised after the twin towers came down, don’t you think most Americans would be willing to pony up a couple of bucks specifically to keep Kim from nuking San Fransisco?

  53. um, i’d *pay* to see SF nuked. can i say that here?

  54. You should do what the libertarians want and just adopt sharia law. I promise no terrorism once you replace your corrupt evil system with a just caliphate. Yeah we may need to wipe out your jews and christians, but is that so bad? Think about it, no more Jewish or Christian fundies!

    Wear your burkas and you can have peace!

    Oops, gotta go.

    Osama B.

  55. All you guys who marched with ANSWER we need you again. Our funding source (N. Korea) is in trouble. Please help!

  56. I’d buy a N.K. Nuke, but how reliable are they? I’d trust a good american and maybe even an old Soviet nuke, but these cheap Korean knock-offs have me concerned. What’s their handling like? Do they have a smooth ride or rough? And most importantly, can you ride them out of B-52s?

  57. That Osama post was great.

    Tonio-K. Really quick. I’m busy.

    What I meant was that the direct strategic cause of 9-11 was weak, isolationist responses to terrorist attacks dating back to the marine barracks bombing in Lebanon.

    Clinton and William Perry, the guy cited in this article, got us into this mess with the moronic deal they signed with North Korea.

    I just love this “entangling alliances” thing that always comes up. Not being of the US persuasion you might not know that virtually every single political group here tries to claim Thomas Jefferson as their own, most often by taking one thing he wrote completely out of context and then turning it into an all consuming mantra (see “separation of church and state”). There are a lot of posters here who seem to think that this country sprang forth whole directly out of Jefferson’s brain, like Athena from Zeus, as opposed to being created at the point of a gun with the assitance of the French military.

    “Aggressive and hostile” is a mischaracterization and not an argument of any kind anyway. I don’t think the Iraq war was agressive or hostile towards the Kurds, Shiites, Christians, or Turkmen of Iraq, though it was hostile towards the subhuman toadies of a brutal dictator and to non-Iraqi fanatical jihadists, who we merely availed of the opportunity to acheive their goal of death.

  58. “What I meant was that the direct strategic cause of 9-11 was weak, isolationist responses to terrorist attacks dating back to the marine barracks bombing in Lebanon.”

    Beirut: blow up the marines, they’ll leave Lebanon. Mogadishu: shoot up the Rangers, they’ll leave Somalia. Khobar Towers: blow up the Air Force, they’ll leave Saudi Arabia. USS Cole: blow up the Navy, they’ll leave the Arabian penninsula.

    September 11: blow up the World Trade Center, they’ll leave New York.

    Nope, it looks just as silly on the screen as in my head.

  59. And we still haven’t heard from Eric D what to do about N Korea, except to blame Clinton.

  60. zoinks!

  61. Jesus Joe, all right, here goes. What I mean is: We didn’t do much of anything to respond to all of the above terrorist attacks, beyond randomly firing off a few cruise missiles to distract from domestic “sex” (read felony perjury by the President) scandals (see our “discussion” above) ergo terrorists were able to plan and gather resources without interruption and felt emboldened by our weakness to try more and more daring and large-scale attacks, leading up to 9-11. This was cited by Bin Laden himself and by numerous captured Al Qaeda members.

  62. So it was only the word “strategic” that doesn’t fit. OK.

    BTW, Beirut occurred under Reagan. Bill Clinton did more to fight terrorism than any president had ever done before, certainly more than Reagan or Bush I.

  63. fyodor,

    I honestly have no idea what to do about North Korea. I was just saying that I’m pretty sure it doesn’t involve handing Kim Jong-Il a copy of “Ecotopia” and/or figuring out how the situation there can be spun against Bush somehow.

  64. It looks like this is another job for SUPER-BLIX!

  65. bombing a baby food factory was a great move by Uncle Bill.

  66. Like most right-thinking people I was horrified by what we did (and are doing now) in Iraq.
    N. Korea, on the other hand is full of the goddamned-craziest bunch of ideology-impaired wackos in the world. This is not invective. This is quite serious. Kim the Lesser is perhaps the most truly fearless nutso head of state on this planet. I might’ve thought it was all an act if I didn’t know so many Koreans (North AND South).
    A brief perusal of N. K.’s history is enough to freak anyone out. I’ll spare you the list, but suffice it to say that N. K. produces really terrible soldiers and first-rate terrorists.
    Of course we won’t actually go to war with them (even though we’re technically STILL at war with them) because they CAN fight. It is the essence of corruption that when a real threat presents itself our fearless leaders try to bribe their way out. A real fight will mean smuggled nukes and poisioned water and mass-murder sprees in Tokyo, London, and Seattle.
    Look for some serious attempts at destabilization of the civilized world when Dear Leader gets a bug up his ass.
    Look for Bush to arrange a huge bribe to make him stop.

  67. Eric:

    I’d say most political leaders are functionally insane, the more so the more powerful they are. When you are near-omnipotent within the area where you hold a monopoly of force, and all your perceptions are filtered by a gang of toadies who are dedicated to making you hear what you want to hear, you are going to be pretty out of touch with reality.

  68. ^
    so what’s your excuse?

  69. hey kev you want to talk a little more about how photon torpedos work on star trek? it is sooo fun to speculate on wacked out anarcho theory instead of talking bout the real world. why not just spam everyone a link to a ken macleod book and save yourself the trouble?

  70. Why hasn’t anyone taken up Mark Borok’s idea?!? Outbid al-Qaeda!! As long as our leaders could find a way to make it not look like the blackmail it is, it would be the perfect solution!

  71. Sure Kim Jong-Il’s plan is crazy… so crazy, it just might work.

    Since nobody else wants to propose any serious solutions, channeling the “A-Team” until Los Angeles gets nuked is as good a solution as anything else.

  72. This post and the comment thread show the complete lack of answers that the increasing-every-day “libertarian” (read far-left and far right unified in pacifism or isolationism at any cost) orientation of this publication and its readers have for confronting real-world threats to our national security and to world stability.

    And you wonder why foreign policy debates are ceded to those whom you derisively call “neocons”. When invited into a discussion about North Korea it took you guys about 10 posts to start hyping obscure radical agit-prop novels, bashing Bush, and decrying this country for having gone to hell for approximatley the last 150 years.

  73. “Bill Clinton did more to fight terrorism than any president had ever done before, certainly more than Reagan or Bush I.”

    Aside whatever you imagine Clinton “did” to fight terrorism, you might consider that knowing where to shoot at is half the battle in killing the snake. Reagan sent in one little bombing raid to Libya and blew up a few tents, thus apparently scaring the living shit out of Khadaffi, who has ever since been as nice and quiet as a meglomaniacal terrorist dictator can be. Before that he had been considered one of the main terrorist threats in the world.

    I can’t think of any comparable success that Clinton had fighting terrorism during his term.

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