Jay Reding.com

Was It A Dud?

DefenseTech argues that the North Korean nuclear test was a failure, with a yield of substantially less than a kiloton. However, Donald Sensing argues that may be by design.

In terms of weapons design, it could go either way and both sides have persuasive arguments. From a standpoint of policy, that’s not good news for the North Koreans. A fizzle diminishes the deterrence factor of a nuclear weapon — especially since both Japan and South Korea will almost certainly be able to possess working nuclear weapons (probably with large MADE IN THE USA stamps on them) in short order if so desired. Given that the DPRK can’t get it up (its missiles at least) and can’t prove they have a working nuke, beyond the initial shock of a DPRK nuclear test, there’s not much else.

All in all, this was probably a major strategic mistake for the Kim Jung Il regime. They’ve been pulling the tail of the Chinese dragon for a long time now, and if the Chinese start saying that enough is enough, it’s quite possible that the Chinese will start really playing hardball — as in having PLA agents start assassinating leaders and disrupting the regime. Quite frankly, that’s not at all a bad thing for the rest of the world. In fact, that’s probably one of the few truly effective things that can be done about the situation.

This does reflect badly on American policy, however. President Bush had been talking a tough line about not letting North Korea get nuclear technology. Granted, there’s not much we could do other than risk a major destabilizing war that would leave South Korea a smoldering ruin and risk major attacks on Japan as well. However, there can be no doubts that the Iranians are looking at our reaction with great interest and it is perfectly fair to ask whether we’re really serious about counterproliferation. As they say, talk is cheap, and if we’re not willing to take real action to prevent the spread of deadly weapons to rogue regimes, then we’ll have to live with the consequences.

27 responses to “Was It A Dud?”

  1. Seth says:

    Wait–did you just say our only option was to start a war?

  2. Jay Reding says:

    Wait–did you just say our only option was to start a war?

    Realistically, yes. The only way to get rid of the DPRK’s nuclear tech would be to destroy it, which would cause a major regional war. Which is precisely why we haven’t done such a thing. The costs are simply too great.

    The DPRK won’t give up nuclear weapons unless absolutely forced to, and they know that we don’t have the leverage to do that without the DPRK laying waste to most of South Korea and possibly Japan in the process.

    The technical term for that is “having us by the short and curlies” — which has been the status quo from the end of the Korean War on…

  3. Seth says:

    So you’re saying there’s nothing we can do?

  4. Jay Reding says:

    So you’re saying there’s nothing we can do?

    If by “we” you mean the United States, basically yes. We could take out North Korea’s nuclear facilities, but that would create an unacceptable risk to South Korea and Japan. Diplomatic pressure on the North Koreans is ultimately futile. Sanctions wouldn’t work in North Korea any better than they did elsewhere.

    Our best option is the same thing that’s really our only option: work on putting pressure on the North Koreans while creating a viable defense against a North Korean first strike.

    The Chinese can possibly have a lot more sway with the DPRK, but the North Koreans have also been unafraid to annoy the Chinese anyway. Personally, I hope that the Chinese finally say enough and put bullets in the heads of key North Korean officials and then come across the Yalu River and occupy the DPRK. However, the Chinese aren’t any more likely to do that then we’re likely to invade North Korea from the south.

    It’s a shitty situation, and it’s what happens when you have an international system that’s based on talk rather than action. And we’re only a few years away (at most) from having the same thing happen in Iran.

  5. Nicq MacDonald says:

    I’m placing bets that this was actually a large pile of Russian plastique that the DPRK detonated to make everyone think they’d tested a nuke; it’s a bluff.

    On the other hand, I have a feeling that the Japanese aren’t going to call this bluff. It’s a perfect pretext for a new defensive buildup, which is exactly what Koizumi, Abe and the LDP have been looking for an excuse for for the last decade. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, giant robots or not… it could pull Japan and it’s economy out of the decade and a half of ennui they’ve been going through, and give the US the help it needs in keeping NK and China in their place…

  6. Erica says:

    You’re right. Less talk, more dick-waving.

  7. Jay Reding says:

    You’re right. Less talk, more dick-waving.

    We’re fine with talking, so long as all participants get a seat at the table. To torture your metaphor so much that John McCain will want me locked up, it’s the DPRK that’s trying to wave their dick around (which apparently isn’t a very large one). Everyone in the world knows we have the biggest dick on the planet. What we’re trying to do is cockblock the North Koreans so that they can’t piss on everybody.

    Dear God, I can’t believe I just wrote that…

  8. Seth says:

    Wow. Nothing we can do if we can’t bomb away. What a wonderful foreign policy you neocons would have us follow.

  9. Jay Reding says:

    Wow. Nothing we can do if we can’t bomb away. What a wonderful foreign policy you neocons would have us follow.

    No, it’s called “facing reality.” The North Koreans have no interest in a diplomatic solution. Sanctions won’t work, and haven’t historically.

    Of course, since you think you can do better, I’d love to hear your proposed solution to the situation…

  10. Jay Reding says:

    Oh, and secondly, I’m not a “neocon.” I was born about 50 years too late for that. Since you apparently have no conception of what the term actually means, I suggest you read Irving Kristol’s Neoconserativism: Autobiography of an Idea which explains what the term actually means.

  11. zzx375 says:

    We could introduce a UN security council resolution condemning the action, we could invite Kim Big-Glasses to Washington for high level talks about the weather or the diminishing forests in China and what that means to all of those who eat kim-chee with chop sticks or what it would take for Kim to get a new hair stylist, or we could get Karl Rove to start working on a scheme that would surely cook NK’s goose and make it look like someone else did it since Karl is the prince of darkness, or we could do nothing.

  12. Justin says:

    “Neoconservatives describe their shared view as a belief that national security is best attained by promoting freedom and democracy abroad through the support of pro-democracy movements, foreign aid and in certain cases military intervention. This is a departure from the traditional conservative tendency to support friendly regimes in matters of trade and anti-communism even at the expense of undermining existing democratic systems.”

    I dunno, Jay. That sounds a lot like you. (Handing out a reading assignment is a pretty transparent dodge, by the way.)

    50 years too late? I don’t see what that has to do with anything. Can I not be a Jeffersonian liberal because I’m not 200 years old? Can you not be a Christian because you weren’t alive to meet with Christ?

  13. Seth says:

    Jay–
    Your haughty and better-than-thou temperment shows you fit right in with the neocons. You are closer to Rummy and Wolfowitz than just about any blogger out there.

    If you aren’t a neocon, what then? A Friedman whack job? A Paleocon? Or one of the Horowitz eggheads that really is a neocon but just says there’s no such thing as a neocon anymore? I don’t know, I think we should come up with another name for you guys, something like the amalgamated confused conservatives or something. Or maybe you’re one of the “Whatever Norquist says I faithfully repeat-a-cons.”

    I’ve read Kristol, but feel free to throw out some names of other books you’ve heard about if it makes you feel good.

  14. Justin says:

    Oh, Seth, I’ve got it – Jay is a Decepticon.

  15. Jay Reding says:

    Your haughty and better-than-thou temperment shows you fit right in with the neocons. You are closer to Rummy and Wolfowitz than just about any blogger out there.

    You must not read many blogs then.

    If you aren’t a neocon, what then? A Friedman whack job? A Paleocon? Or one of the Horowitz eggheads that really is a neocon but just says there’s no such thing as a neocon anymore? I don’t know, I think we should come up with another name for you guys, something like the amalgamated confused conservatives or something. Or maybe you’re one of the “Whatever Norquist says I faithfully repeat-a-cons.”

    A neocon is specifically someone who was a leftist who then became a conservative because they saw the internal contradictions of Communism. I’m pretty much a straight-line National Review conservative, no prefixes necessary.

    Plus, what is usually meant by “neocon” is usually “Jew” anyhow…

  16. Seth says:

    I think you’re confusing the people who started the neoconservative movement with the ideals they represent. If it’s just the people, you’d want me to read Strauss and not Kristol, but I’ll not confuse you with books of which you know the titles.

    Although we’re very happy that you know ‘neo’ means ‘new,’ you didn’t have to be around in 17th century Egland in order to consider yourself a Lockean liberal. Nor did you have to be politically active in the 1980s to consider yourself a Reagan Republican.

    I hate to point out the painfully obvious to you, but if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.

    Also, a National Review con???? You lecture me about books to read and that’s the best you can come up with?

  17. Justin says:

    “A neocon is specifically someone who was a leftist who then became a conservative because they saw the internal contradictions of Communism.”

    Right, just as a Nazi usually means a German national who was a member of the National Socialist party during the 1930’s and 40’s.

    On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that somebody who marches around in jackboots and an armband calling for the extinction of Jews can’t be called a Nazi, even if they’re just some teenager from Houston.

    (Sorry for the Godwin-skirting Nazi example but, hey, you’re the one who brought anti-Semitism into it, after all.)

    Honestly? Plenty of people have called themselves “neocons” who weren’t liberals at any time. I’m honestly not sure what bothers you so much about the term that you refuse to allow it to be applied to yourself. It’s just a position on American foreign policy.

  18. Dave says:

    Yet, Seth fails to make any policy suggestions in regards to the North korean situation. After Jay pragmatically list the few options and get at best a snid comment from him. Seth then continues his personal attacks without a glance at an engaging argument. Seth is a libral tool no more, no less, feel free to ignore him as I will.

    Dave

  19. Seth says:

    Dave–
    I’m pretty sure in the next post I’ve said that involving the North Korean people in trade for luxury items and pursuing market economy reforms would work better to undermine the regime from the inside, as well as actually engaging NK instead of just calling Jong Il names. Also, the agreement Clinton had, while imperfect, was better than the current situation, and we should form another sort of working agreement along the lines of the one Clinton worked out.
    Pulling out of the ABM was also a disaster, and we should enter into another sort of agreement with SE Asia to show them we are serious about limiting nukes. This would also help us with regards to China–if we can show China we’re willing to negotiate in good faith, they will be more willing to side with us against NK.
    That about cover it?

  20. Jay Reding says:

    I’m pretty sure in the next post I’ve said that involving the North Korean people in trade for luxury items and pursuing market economy reforms would work better to undermine the regime from the inside, as well as actually engaging NK instead of just calling Jong Il names.

    First of all, those are prima facie ridiculous arguments when you’re talking about a country where people are committing cannibalism to stay alive. There is no economy in North Korea right now. It is an abject dictatorship, and the single worst-off nation in the world. Who would buy “luxury goods” other than the leaders we wish to depose?

    That argument is like saying that during a famine we should send the starving people toothpicks, after-dinner mints, and cigars.

    Also, the agreement Clinton had, while imperfect, was better than the current situation, and we should form another sort of working agreement along the lines of the one Clinton worked out.

    The Brookings report makes it clear that the Agreed Framework was less than worthless, and the North Koreans ignored their end of the deal.

    And if your proposed policy prescription is to once again repeat the failed mistakes of the past, then that only shows what a poor solution it truly is.

    Pulling out of the ABM was also a disaster, and we should enter into another sort of agreement with SE Asia to show them we are serious about limiting nukes.

    North Korea was developing both nuclear technologies and ballistic missiles long before we pulled out of the ABM Treaty.

    Again, we have another prima facie ridiculous policy. In no way would leaving ourselves defenseless improve our situation with the North Koreans. Another meaningless, pointless, ineffectual treaty won’t do us a damn bit of good.

    You continue to miss the point: The North Koreans will not negotiate away their nuclear capability. There’s no carrot large enough to convince them otherwise. What you would have us do is once again play the naive fool who thinks that Kim Jung-Il can be appeased. It wasn’t true then, and it’s even less true now that Kim Jung-Il may possess nuclear weapons.

    This would also help us with regards to China–if we can show China we’re willing to negotiate in good faith, they will be more willing to side with us against NK.

    The Chinese already know our intentioned – Japan has nuclear capability, they just haven’t made their programs active. Within 24 hours, Japan could be a nuclear state. The Chinese don’t want that to happen, and so they have every reason of self-interest to contain North Korea. That is precisely why they’ve indicated their support for sanctions.

    That about cover it?

    In terms of containing a set of incredibly naive policies, that runs the gamut. It is yet another example of why left-wing foreign policy is best described as feckless. Willfully ignoring North Korean intentions is simply not sound policy.

  21. Seth says:

    Ok, we won’t get into a discussion about how the first signs of a developing market economy are the purchase of luxury goods.

    Let’s talk about your position versus mine.

    You prefer isolating NK. Isolating them takes away any incentive they have for cooperating or becoming part of the international community. Including them does not ensure that they will cooperate, but it does increase the costs to NK for not cooperating. So your strategy ensures cooperation won’t work, mine gives it a shot.

    You prefer showing NK that we are ready and willing to attack them and develop technology that will stop them from attacking us. This does two things: first, if NK thinks we are going to attack anyway, then China has no bargaining power with NK. Second, if we start building huge defensive mechanisms, we show NK they have a finite amount of time to use their nuclear weapons against us for effect(you’ve said above that you’re perfectly happy to have plutonium raining down on our troops on the border, in Japan and in the waters surrounding the area, but I and the rest of the sane wourld would submit that is not a good option). I prefer a much more refined diplomatic tone and entering into agreements that strengthen China’s hand and take away the “use it now or lose it” incentive for NK. Again, your approach ensures NK moves toward a militant foreign policy based around the use of nuclear weapons. Mine is far from ideal, but gives us a shot and stretches out our timeline for developing a diplomatic solution.

    My solution gives us a chance, yours invites brinkmanship and ensures a militant and nuclear-capable North Korea–and soon.

  22. Jay Reding says:

    Ok, we won’t get into a discussion about how the first signs of a developing market economy are the purchase of luxury goods.

    Non sequitor. You can’t even begin to talk about having a market economy without the rule of law, individual rights, and some kind of stability. North Korea has none of those things. Again, who in North Korea, a country in which people are resorting to cannibalism to survive, is going to buy a bloody BMW? The whole argument is just prima facie ridiculous.

    You prefer isolating NK. Isolating them takes away any incentive they have for cooperating or becoming part of the international community. Including them does not ensure that they will cooperate, but it does increase the costs to NK for not cooperating. So your strategy ensures cooperation won’t work, mine gives it a shot.

    Again, the fundamental issue here is that North Korea wants nuclear weapons. There is no carrot big enough to dissuade them on that, and any action we take that would prevent them from obtaining and keeping a nuclear capacity is unacceptable to them.

    Kim Jung Il is not a rational actor. “Cooperation” is utterly meaningless in the context of the DPRK, which is why everyone in the region is looking at tightening sanctions. Even the Chinese, the DPRK’s chief benefactor, have had enough.

    You prefer showing NK that we are ready and willing to attack them and develop technology that will stop them from attacking us.

    A strategy which defeated Soviet Communism, I might add.

    This does two things: first, if NK thinks we are going to attack anyway, then China has no bargaining power with NK.

    No, that argument doesn’t follow at all. For one, the North Koreans know we’re not going to risk Seoul, and we won’t attack. Secondly, the Chinese have leverage because of their economic ties with North Korea, not because of their relationship with the US.

    Second, if we start building huge defensive mechanisms, we show NK they have a finite amount of time to use their nuclear weapons against us for effect(you’ve said above that you’re perfectly happy to have plutonium raining down on our troops on the border, in Japan and in the waters surrounding the area, but I and the rest of the sane wourld would submit that is not a good option).

    Actually, since we have already deployed Aegis cruisers with System 3 missile to the region, they probably know that it’s too late. Besides, we’ll have working ABM before the Taepo Dong II is ready to be mated with a working nuclear warhead. Right now we’ve successfully tested ABM. The North Koreans haven’t launched a successful ICBM, nor have they gotten their nukes to work.

    Secondly, given the choice between a few kilos of plutonium and a nuclear detonation, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which is preferable. The argument that we shouldn’t shoot down an active nuke for fears of spreading some plutonium around doesn’t even remotely begin to make sense.

    I prefer a much more refined diplomatic tone and entering into agreements that strengthen China’s hand and take away the “use it now or lose it” incentive for NK.

    Which is a really mealymouthed plan. Exactly how would we “strengthen China’s hand”? That’s an utter non sequitor. Furthermore, the Chinese are speaking of sanctions as well.

    Our strategy should be to allow South Korea and Japan to go nuclear if necessary. The Chinese don’t want Japan to go nuclear, nor do they want the ROK to follow suit. The correct course of action is to isolate and contain North Korea, while waiting for the inevitable collapse of that regime.

    Any action we take that justifies the North Korean position will reward them for going nuclear and is unacceptable.

  23. Seth says:

    1.) Could you impress me with some more latin phrases?
    2.) No developing market economy without rule of law, individual rights and some sort of stability? Ever heard of a country called Russia?
    3.) You make the statement that KJI is not a rational actor and then make the argument they know we won’t attack them because they won’t risk Seoul. So you’re assuming that an irrational actor can make rational assumptions about our objectives. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
    4.) I always like the argument that military buildups took down communism. This a.) ignores a little country called China, b.) assumes that communism can be a viable economic system over the long run, meaning that the Soviet Union’s inept economy would not have taken it down without the military spending and c.) ignores history–the ABM, passed in 1972, actually reduced the need for the Soviet military spending.
    5.) You say we’re not willing to risk Seoul, but we are willing to risk plutonium falling on Seoul, our troops, and Japan. Perfect.
    6.) The Chinese are speaking of sanctions. The point, which I wrote in plain English, is that if they think we’re going to attack them anyway, sanctions from the Chinese are not effective at all.
    7.) The solution to one mad man having nukes should not be to give all of his neighbors more nukes. That makes the mad man nervous, and when mad men get nervous, people get killed.

  24. Jay Reding says:

    1.) “Claude os, aperi oculos!” comes to mind as being rather appropriate…
    2.) Except Russia is quickly becoming an autocracy, rather than a democracy. My point still stands, the idea that selling luxury goods to North Korea is any sort of plan is completely daft.
    3.) KJI is not a rational actor, but even an irrational person can see the plain truth in front of him. He knows we’re deterred, and if we weren’t he’d be dead. An irrational actor doesn’t have to be completely irrational.
    4.) For starters, it happens to be true.
    a.) China is communist in name only, and has been so ever since Deng Xioping said “to get rich is glorious.”
    b.) Read any of the histories written at the time. Very few people predicted the downfall of the Soviet Union before it happened.
    c.) Your argument is completely and utterly wrong. President Reagan proposed SDI in the 1980s, which as the Mitrokhin Archives revealed scared the living hell out of the Soviets and precipitated the collapse of the USSR:

    The Soviet Union did not collapse by osmosis nor because time was somehow on our side. Had the Kremlin not faced the cumulative effects of SDI and the defense buildup, geopolitical setbacks in Poland and Afghanistan, the loss of tens of billions of dollars in hard currency earnings from energy exports, and reduced access to technology, it is reasonable to believe that it could have weathered the storm…. American policies could and did alter the course of Soviet history.

    Peter Schweizer, Victory: The Reagan Administration’s Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1994), p. 282.

    5.) Again, your argument is completely ridiculous. Again, if armed nuclear weapons are flying through the air, the last thing we should be worried about is the consequence of shooting them down. Either you release plutonium or you get nuked. Your argumentation here borders on the idiotic.

    6.) For one, they don’t think that. Secondly, the Chinese threat of sanctions is very effective as China is the DPRK’s chief benefactor.

    7.) Japan and South Korea have the right to defend themselves, and their possession of nuclear weapons would be a further deterrent against the North Koreans using theirs. Plus, the whole purpose of that is to put pressure on the Chinese.

    The Japanese are already nuclear-capable as it is. Within 24 hours the Japanese could assemble working nuclear weapons. They just choose not to for political reasons, but if pushed they will do so.

    It is quite clear that your arguments aren’t informed and are based on a complete and utter lack of knowledge on the basis of the situation. I would highly suggest you do some research into the situation (and no, reading left-wing blogs does not constitute research) before continuing to embarrass yourself. (And believe me, you are fortunate that I still allow anonymous comments.)

  25. Seth says:

    2.) I’m not saying selling luxury goods will solve the problem. I’m saying sanctions will have the opposite of the desired effect.
    3.) Now you’re getting to pick and choose where you think KJI is rational and where you think he’s irrational without any evidence. That must be nice. But if KJI knows using a nuke will assure his destruction, and he will avoid his own destruction, then he will never use a nuke unless he is certain we are going to end him either way.
    4.) a.) using that rationaly, the Soviet Union was communist in name only after Gorbie’s reforms in about 1984.
    b.) few people predicted it at the time, but looking back, people can see serious and fatal economic problems starting in the early 1970s. Because people failed to predict it does not mean there weren’t problems.
    c.) by the 1980s the Soviets couldn’t keep up with our military spending and they knew it and were no longer trying. However, the 1972 ABM treaty meant they didn’t have to–and there was still no nuclear strike.
    5.) Again, if you have a choice between provoking armed nuclear weapons through the air and not provoking armed weapons through the air, I would choose not proviking a conflict in which nuclear weapons are flying through the air.
    6.) Again, in plain English: Chinese sanctions are effective unless KJI really thinks he needs the nukes to survive. A few tons of rice don’t help a dead man. If we’d lay off the “you’re gonna be blown up” rhetoric, Chinese sanctions could be quite effective.
    7.) Assuming both the Chinese and North Koreans know we can blow them up 10,000,000 times, a nuclear-armed SK and Japan really don’t change the balance of power much.

    It is quite clear that your arguments aren’t informed and are based on a complete and utter lack of knowledge on the basis of the situation. I would highly suggest you do some research into the situation (and no, repeating the National Review and spouting the five phrases you know in Latin does not constitute research) before continuing to embarrass yourself. (And believe me, you are fortunate that I still attempt to educate you.)

  26. Jay Reding says:

    2.) You specifically said luxury goods. I quote: “I’m pretty sure in the next post I’ve said that involving the North Korean people in trade for luxury items and pursuing market economy reforms would work better to undermine the regime from the inside” In any event, the idea that opening up trade relations would work has already been disproven — South Korea’s “sunshine policy” was exactly that, and it failed.

    3.)

    if KJI knows using a nuke will assure his destruction, and he will avoid his own destruction, then he will never use a nuke unless he is certain we are going to end him either way.

    Just having a nuke gives him leverage. Furthermore, we don’t know how many safeguards there are against some rogue general going nuts and launching a weapon. That also ignores the idea that KJI may miscalculate and assume plausible deniability, or pass a nuke on to a third party like al-Qaeda.

    4.)
    a.) Gorbechev’s reforms weren’t nearly as ambitious as China’s.
    b.) The North Korean people are already resorting to cannibalism of the dead to stay alive. Hoping for an organic collapse may be our only option, but it doesn’t advance us anywhere. Furthermore, if the North Korean system is bound to collapse, why should we bother engaging with Kim Jung Il anyway? This argument undercuts your own position.
    c.) Your first sentence is correct. Your second sentence is completely wrong – Reagan was threatening that we would break the 1972 treaty and develop SDI. The USSR’s military leaders correctly realized that Soviet technology couldn’t match that, and our threat at breaking the ABM treaty was one of the causes of their fall. Furthermore, the Soviets were spending about 40% of their total GDP on military spending — your statement that they were “no longer trying” is completely false.

    5.) The whole point of ABM is that hoping that nukes never do get launched is completely foolish — it’s idiotic not to have a system in place that can deal with that threat should it arise, from North Korea or elsewhere.

    6.) I understand your argument, I just don’t think it has anything to do with reality. KJI knows he doesn’t need nukes to survive, he can level Seoul and send the world economy into a tailspin. The whole point to him having nukes is to gratify his own ego and boss the US around. The US (and the UK, and Australia, and Japan, and South Korea and to lesser extents Russia and China) are all not letting him do that. China is the DPRK’s chief benefactor, and they have the leverage. Again, read the first couple of paragraphs from this article.

    7.) The threat of a nuclear-armed Japan is more to put leverage on China than the DPRK. China doesn’t want nuclear weapons in Asia other than the ones that are already there, and they know a consequence of North Korea going nuclear is that will happen — which is why it’s in their own best interest to put Pyongyang on a very short leash.

    It is quite clear that your arguments aren’t informed and are based on a complete and utter lack of knowledge on the basis of the situation.

    I would expect that kind of “I know you are but what am I” shit from a third-grader.

    Again, if you can’t make a logical argument supported with authority, you’re just wasting my time.

  27. Seth says:

    2.) Yes. I plainly said engaging in trade of luxury goods would “work better” than an embargo. Which is true since embargos rarely, if ever, work. Engaging people in trade raises the price of conflict, which is why countries with market economies very rarely fight each other. You implied that I said trade was the solution to the problem when I merely said it was a better alternative. I’m not sure how I can make this much more plain to get it through your thick skull.
    3.) I’m pretty sure KJI knows that passing a nuke to Al-Qaeda would ensure his destruction just as fast as shooting one at Japan. If, as you have argued, KJI is rational enough to ensure he is not destroyed, then he would make sure Al Qaeda doesn’t get their hands on a nuke.
    4.) a.) You are seriously the king of establishing arbitrary guidelines to fit whatever line of crap you put out there. China isn’t communist because they reformed. The USSR was communist because they reformed but not quite as much as China.
    b.) We engage KJI because that is the only way to get to the Korean people. If we are committed to raising the quality of life for the Korean people so that they start putting pressure on their leaders, we can’t just pick some guy on the streets of Pyong Yang and tell him he’s our new guy for negotiating trade deals.
    c.) The Soviets were spending 40% on military prior to the ABM Treaty. After that, they had no reason to spend more money on nukes because they could already blow up the world several times, so they didn’t need to keep up in the arms race. In fact, after 1972, Soviet spending on nukes diminished considerably. If Wikipedia can figure out that “In the East, however, it was seen as a way to avoid having to maintain an anti-missile technology race at the same time as maintaining a missile race” and you still seem to have trouble with it, you might want to quit lecturing me about doing some basic research.
    5.) I’m growing tired of spelling things out for you. Pompous people on this site seem to enjoy putting things in different languages, so we’ll help you a little: Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir.
    6.) Plain English: KJI thinks he needs nukes to deter us. He only needs to deter us using these measures if he thinks we are going to attack him. You can post articles saying China has used leverage before–and I’ve said many times China’s position has helped us before. You have not addressed the fact that China’s sanctions are not helpful if NK is convinced we are going to attack. Given Bush’s foreign policy, this is a plausible conclusion if you are KJI. You’re basically repeating what I’ve already said and then discounting my conclusions using the “Because I said so” argument. They teaching you that in law school or what?
    7.) Whether the nukes are in Japan or Grand Forks, China can still be blown to bits at any time. Nukes in Japan would only turn China against us. Are you ever capable of stepping off the gas and ramming the military down the world’s throat?

    The guy who rambles in a post of “Because I said sos” wants something “supported with authority.” Ok. This about sums it up. North Korea thinks it has nothing left to lose so sanctions won’t work. From China or the U.S. or anyone. Why would North Korea think it has nothing left to lose? Hmmm. Threatening comments from Bush and his staff, a policy of pre-emtive strikes, and placing KJI in the same boat as other people Bush wants to attack.

    Seriously, you are just about the most hypocritical person I’ve ever seen that is still able to use a computer. First you whine about those mean Democrats picking on poor Jay, then start insulting people. You whine about that potty-language being used by those mean Democrats and then swear when someone uses the same language you do. You have a post filled with nothing but “it’s this way because I say so and you’re a stupid head” and then request logic and authority and elevating something above a third-grade level. I guess at some point I just have to realize that some people will never see the reality slapping them in the face and move on.