‘How to deal’ with North Korea
In Sunday’s Commentary, “Negotiating with North Korea,” Paul Chamberlin and Bill Taylor claim that the White House strategy has failed because of its hard-line approach. Yet, from all reports, it appears that the United States would offer North Korea a security and economic package if the North Koreans would agree to begin dismantling their nuclear sites and allow for follow-up intrusive inspections. Kim Jong Il, who cheated on the previous nuclear agreement, does not seem interested. Instead, he seems determined to make North Korea a first-class nuclear power.
This crisis has reached a precarious stage because the White House, early on, all but ruled out the use of military force. Mr. Kim sensed weakness and, thus, proceeded to cross one red line after another with impunity, all the while cleverly employing his strategy of intimidation. Next on his red-line list is to test a nuclear weapon and then sell nukes to the highest terrorist bidder. After this, North Korea will test a long-range missile capable of hitting California. At this point, the United States will have a nuclear gun held to its head by the North Korean dictator — a truly frightening scenario.
The authors claim there is no feasible military solution, since millions could be killed. These casualty projections seem to be an exaggeration. Other military experts believe a pre-emptive attack using sustained massive air power would be successful and result in far fewer casualties. For sure, a war in several years with a full-fledged, nuclear-armed North Korea would exact a much higher toll, with American cities coming under nuclear attack.
The White House should stop dithering and give North Korea one final chance to negotiate in good faith for a quick resolution to the nuclear crisis. If this fails, the United States unfortunately has no choice but to prepare for war, while North Korea’s nuclear threat is in its infancy. To do otherwise is irresponsible and would almost guarantee a nuclear September 11 in the near future.
I agree with Paul Chamberlin and Bill Taylor that a pre-emptive war against North Korea is not desirable, but I don’t agree that U.S.-North Korean talks will solve the issue of North Korea’s nuclear program. The bilateral approach was tried in the 1990s, and it failed. Indeed, its failure is what precipitated the current situation. The recent round of six-party talks in Beijing was a first step, not the failure that the authors portrayed. The authors call for the United States to be humble, but I can imagine few things more arrogant than to shut our partners out of negotiations that will affect their collective futures, and to ask them to help foot the bill for an agreement that they had no hand in crafting.
The authors mention three examples of bilateral U.S.-North Korean agreements that worked, but all three examples prove just the opposite. The 1953 armistice was made possible by the combined efforts of the United States and other nations, under the aegis of the U.N. Command (UNC), waging a multinational campaign to defend South Korea against invasion.
The 1994 Agreed Framework did not stop North Korean nuclear weapons programs until December 2002. The Washington Times reported on Oct. 17, 2002, that U.S. intelligence detected North Korean attempts to import nuclear-related technology in 1999. Furthermore, a November 1999 report by the U.S. House of Representatives North Korea Advisory Group (Rep. Benjamin Gilman, New York Republican, chairman) said that there was evidence that North Korea was pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program based on highly enriched uranium.
The third example the authors gave was the 1999 moratorium on North Korean ballistic missile test launches. This, too, was honored more in the breach. On Feb. 28, 2003, the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported that North Korea had conducted a ground test of what appeared to be a Taepo Dong-2 rocket engine in January. Since this test was conducted on the ground, it did not violate the letter of the agreement, but it does show that North Korea continues to develop its ballistic missile technology in spite of the agreement. The Yomiuri quoted a Japanese official as saying that North Korea had conducted one or two such tests every year since 1999 — the year the moratorium was established.
The authors are correct that our allies and Americans in Northeast Asia are at risk, but that is what makes it more important than ever to prevent war by bolstering our deterrent and demonstrating solidarity with our allies. I have read that then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s omission of South Korea from America’s Pacific defense perimeter during his remarks at the National Press Club in January 1950 may have inadvertently encouraged North Korea to invade South Korea that June. If this is true, then North Korea was not provoked by American aggressiveness, but by a misunderstanding. Giving Pyongyang the idea that nuclear blackmail pays is the misunderstanding to be avoided now.
Diversity in higher education
Thank you for Valerie Richardson’s report on Students for Academic Freedom, our new movement to promote intellectual diversity and academic freedom in higher education (” ‘Pluralism’ manifesto lights a furor,” Page 1, yesterday).
Mrs. Richardson’s reporting was excellent in most respects, with the exception of her assertion that the eight-point Academic Bill of Rights “calls for increasing intellectual diversity in academia by urging universities to seek more conservative professors, include more classics in the curriculum, invite conservative speakers to campus, and protect students who disagree with liberal professors from academic harassment.”
This statement entirely mischaracterizes the Academic Bill of Rights, which is available for all to see on our Web site at www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org. The word “conservative” does not appear once in this document. We are not seeking any special privileges for conservatives or for faculty and students of any other political persuasion. The Academic Bill of Rights specifically rejects the idea that anyone should be hired on the basis of their politics: “No faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure solely on the basis of his or her political or religious beliefs.” The entire document is a call for tolerance and respect for intellectual difference in higher education, not a plea for affirmative action on behalf of conservatives, as many in the media have misreported.
Such incorrect reporting of our aims may cause many to mistakenly reject them out of hand, without ever reading the Academic Bill of Rights.
National campus director
Students for Academic Freedom
Don’t ‘dis’ Dennis
In response to Monday’s Op-Ed, “Who’s in Dean’s way?”: Stop “dissin’ ” Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley-Braun and Al Sharpton.
It particularly offends me that your paper and others consistently deride Mr. Kucinich as unelectable. He’s been elected to the House of Representatives four times. When I hear various candidates’ forums on C-SPAN, Mr. Kucinich often receives the largest applause. He has a huge grass-roots following. People who meet him recognize that Mr. Kucinich is fearless in what he says, speaks from the heart and mind, and is a visionary whose ideas could lead us to a safer, saner, fairer future.
Some papers ignore or scoff instead of publishing the man’s words. That’s a real shame, because our country is in a shambles, and we need truly good people with visionary ideas in the presidency if Americans, and humanity, wish to survive.
Please stop putting negative thoughts into people’s minds and allow us to judge for ourselves which candidate we want as president. These people all deserve equal time and respect. Please publish their positions on various subjects, verbatim.