The Evil Axis Lost a Bushing

Remember my post last week about the Democratic party needing four more political bullets before the November elections? Pyongyang just gave them one. Last week Pyongyang announced it was planning to test a nuclear weapon; according to the Washington PostThe New York Times and Spiegel-Online, they have done just that.  This from the Washington Post

North Korea said Monday it has performed its first-ever nuclear weapons test and the blast had been successfully set off underground with no radioactive leakage from the site.

An official at South Korea’s seismic monitoring center confirmed a magnitude-3.6 tremor felt at the time North Korea said it conducted the test was not a natural occurrence. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition his name not be used, because he was not authorized to talk about the sensitive information to the media.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that information still needs to collected and analyzed to determine whether North Korea truly conducted its first nuclear test.

U.S. and South Korean officials could not immediately confirm the report.

The ramifications of this test will likely send tremors not only to seismic monitoring stations but into the political conference rooms in Washington, Brussels and New York.

First, this test is a political, not a scientific message. It is highly unlikely that the North Korean government would have really needed to test this weapon unless it was trying to send a message. The message is not addressed to the world but to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. After the change of watch in the White House, all advances made during the Clinton administration broke down; the American hawks in the guise of eagles stopped all discussions with the Norks, forcing the dangerous but small country to take even more extreme measures to be heard. I would compare this to a child who gets guns in order to feel safe in the playground. He is disturbed but the children tormenting him don’t make the situation any better.

This test will force the Bush administration into overload. It is one thing to overlook missing WMD’s in Iraq after claiming America is in danger. Here we have a very clear and present danger. Proof of a nuclear weapon, the means of delivery – if not to the American mainland, at least to two of her most important allies in the region, South Korea and Japan – and that coupled with a dictator who is less stable than Saddam Hussein. North Korea knows that an American military without a draft, doesn’t have enough men and women, not to mention material, to be a major threat to Pyongyang. With the American military stretched to the limit in Iraq, the president is unable to any project power into the region. Indeed troop levels in South Korea have been reduced in recent years.

On 06 October 2004 the Department of Defense announced that after several months of close consultations, the United States and the Republic of Korea had reached final agreement regarding the June 2004 US proposal to redeploy 12,500 US troops from Korea. [my emphasis]

  • The first phase was conducted in 2004 and included the 2nd Brigade Combat Team that was sent to Iraq in August 2004, and associated units. The redeployment in 2004 totaled about 5,000 troops.
  • During the second phase, 2005-2006, the United States will redeploy a total of 5,000 troops (3,000 in 2005, 2,000 in 2006), comprising combat units, combat support and combat service support units, units associated with mission transfer areas, and other support personnel.
  • In the third and final phase, 2007-2008, the United States will redeploy 2,500 troops consisting primarily of support units and personnel.  

How will the Administration spin this in the last weeks before an election? Here we have a NIE showing that the number of American hating religious fanatics has increased, now we have proof that one of George W. Bush’s special enemies has WMD’s. And he can’t do anything about it. This has to become the Democratic party’s number one theme, America is less safe with a hawkish Republican House, Senate and White House. The current administration has been pushing the fear button for years, now it is time to push back. While I really don’t think the Norks are an immediate threat, they do represent a destabilizing factor in the region. One that needs to be addressed with realistic discussions and not just a big stick.

One thing is certain. Pyongyang has thrown a nuclear wrench in the Republican machinery and nothing will run smoothly for a while. Perhaps the best way of solving the problem is to remove the screeching part. Simply replace the Bush-ing.

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