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September 18, 2004

North Korea Nuke Mess Made by Bush


by Gordon Prather

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) recognizes the "inalienable right" of all signatories to "the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information" related to the "use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes."

That means that Iran has the "inalienable right" to acquire nuclear reactors or uranium-enrichment centrifuges from Russia.

On the other hand – thanks to Bush-Cheney-Bolton – the Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK) is no-longer a NPT signatory, and hence, has no such "inalienable right."

Each no-nuke signatory agrees to conclude with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a Safeguards agreement. All "source" and "special fissionable materials" as well as any activities involving them are to be made subject to the IAEA Safeguards agreement. The IAEA is thereafter responsible for preventing their "diversion."

That means that Iran is required to subject to IAEA Safeguards all uranium, plutonium and thorium – in whatever form and however obtained – as well as all activities wherein safeguarded materials are transformed, produced or processed.

On the other hand, – thanks to Bush-Cheney-Bolton – the DPRK has no such requirement.

Under Article II, each no-nuke signatory agrees "not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons."

Iran, in agreeing to an Additional Protocol to their Safeguards Agreement, has essentially given the IAEA the authority to police that agreement.

But – thanks to Bush-Cheney-Bolton – the DPRK is no longer subject to the NPT and can now develop, test, manufacture and sell nukes.

Alas, until more no-nuke signatories follow the DPRK example and withdraw from the NPT, the Koreans will just have terrorists as customers for their nukes.

Candidate Kerry castigated President Bush last week, arguing that his preoccupation with Iraq had allowed the current DPRK nuke mess to develop. He claimed Bush had "pulled the rug out from under Kim Dae Jung," then president of South Korea, by refusing to endorse the Clinton-Kim policy of engagement with the DPRK.

The basis for the Clinton-Kim policy had been the U.S.-IAEA-DPRK Agreed Framework of 1994.

In 1992, the IAEA had essentially accused DPRK of having a clandestine nuke program.

The DPRK denied that it did, but agreed under the Agreed Framework to "freeze" all its nuclear programs, including abandoning the construction of additional Russian-supplied reactors from whose spent-fuel weapons-grade plutonium could be recovered, and make them subject to IAEA Safeguards. In return, an international consortium – led by South Korea – would construct in the DPRK two free conventional nuclear power plants.

In the interim, Clinton had agreed to provide 500,000 tons of free fuel oil, annually, to the DPRK.

Say what? Provide a half-million tons of free fuel oil every year for at least five more years to a Commie country that – technically – we have been at war with since 1950?

What to do?

How about this? In the Agreed Framework we promised on a stack of Bibles that we wouldn't attack them with nukes so long as they remained a no-nuke NPT-signatory. Why not provoke them into withdrawing from the NPT?

Why not?

First, tell South Korea's Kim in March 2001 that President Bush and Secretary Powell would not continue the talks with North Korea representatives begun the year before by President Clinton and Secretary Albright.

Next, have Bush say this about DPRK in his 2002 State of the Union Address:

"Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens

"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world."

Finally, in October 2002, have some anonymous State Department munchkin tell a few media sycophants that some anonymous DPRK official admitted to him at a cocktail party that they had a clandestine uranium-nuke program.

Never mind that the DPRK vehemently denies to this day having any such program. Never mind that to this day our intelligence community hasn't got the foggiest notion where this clandestine uranium-nuke program may be hiding. Cancel the free fuel-oil to DPRK.

And launch a preemptive attack at the other end of the axis of evil.

Well, that did it. DPRK withdrew from the NPT and has since recovered enough weapons-grade plutonium from its frozen spent fuel to make a half-dozen nukes.

You know, Kerry may have a point.


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Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.

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