Monday, June 26, 2006

North Korea, Iran, the Difference

"nuclear iran"--I'm away today at a family wedding, but if I were writing, it would be about North Korea or Iran.
North Korea seems off the hook for now -- no missile launch -- and the proposal of former Clinton Secretary of Defense Bill Perry to undertake a preemptive strike even before all of the facts are in, seems to have cleared everyone's sinuses. If this was Perry's underhanded goal, to show how intellectually appealing "global strike" can be in Washington while in reality, it means war and catastrophe far greater than just a puny missile test, he did a nice job.
North Korea will probably back down, that is, they will probably recognize that the cost of breaking their 1999 testing moratorium is too great, if in fact that is what they were preparing to do. The country seems to have gotten what it wanted, which is attention and a recognition that perhaps the Bush team should actually speak to them.
This just goes to show that North Korea is rational, as I've argued in these pages. Weird yes; but also rational. Maybe Perry's super double Top Secret agenda was to convey to North Korea that if even someone as normally as level headed as him could suggest an American first strike, they should really watch out.
I’m sure the whole crisis has been one of those “real world” experiences where the Air Force and U.S. Strategic Command are now examining the what if’s, to see how “global strike” would have worked had North Korea been preparing an attack. My guess is that all of the kinks of U.S. preemption still are being worked out; good thing North Korea didn’t do this in 2008. Then, the allure of a really good PowerPoint briefing implementing the Perry plan might be enough to convince a President not only of the need to strike but also the ease.
By the way, Dick Cheney denounced the notion of preemption in response to Perry, leaving me wondering what the Bush administration's national strategy is. I guess it is preemption when we feel like it, which sounds a little irrational.
Iran, unlike North Korea, seems destined for confrontation with the United States. It is not just over Iran’s nuclear weapons though. U.S. commanders in Iraq, and Washington desk warriors increasingly talk of Iran's meddling in Iraq, as well as their active support for Hamas. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh is pushing Iran's culpability and guilt at the highest levels for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia where 19 Americans died. I'm increasingly seeing and hearing stuff about Iran's clandestine involvement in terror financing, espionage, and the illicit drug and weapons trade in my day-to-day information gathering.
This kind of reminds me of April 1990 in Iraq when all of a sudden, Saddam Hussein, former strategic ally against Iran turned into nuclear goat as the WMD aficionados in Washington – the Perry types – decided he was a threat that had to be countered. Today, the terrorism aficionados are in ascendance, but the WMD allure is always lurking in the background. What makes Iran number one for the next bull’s-eye is the combination of WMD and terrorism.
Source:Washington post
posted by ali ghannadi-irannuk

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