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October 16, 2002
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North Korea is working on a nuclear weapon?? Maybe that whole Axis Of Evil thing wasn't too far fetched.
posted by Degaz (99 comments total)

 
umm. . . link doesn't seem to be working
posted by culpable at 7:12 PM on October 16, 2002


No it's not. And given the way NC trades technology for money, I wouldn't be surprised if Al Qaeda will eventually get a little nuke from them. Incidentally, if Iraq will be neuralized in a matter or weeks, I suspect it would take a fraction of the time to get rid of the NC menace.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:13 PM on October 16, 2002


Works fine for me. Btw, we have a nuclear weapons program. Why are people shocked to find out other countrys have them? Of course they are crappy countries but there isn't much we can do about it.
posted by madmanz123 at 7:13 PM on October 16, 2002


a little behind the times are we?
posted by ihyperion at 7:15 PM on October 16, 2002


"Incidentally, if Iraq will be neuralized..."

Neuralized?

"No, that was not a mushroom cloud. See, there was this swamp gas that reflected off of Venus..."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:15 PM on October 16, 2002


Maybe that whole Axis Of Evil thing wasn't too far fetched

North Korea was up to something? Shocker! But if attempting to develop nukes gets one on the evil card, what to do those who threaten to use the nukes they already have? India and Pakistan casually chat about limited exchanges and the world seems to nod. The big dollar question has to be though, is a regime change in order?
posted by holycola at 7:16 PM on October 16, 2002


Works fine for me. Btw, we have a nuclear weapons program. Why are people shocked to find out other countrys have them? Of course they are crappy countries but there isn't much we can do about it.

Because they agreed not to? :-)
posted by Plunge at 7:16 PM on October 16, 2002


Because lunatics with nukes or mass destruction weapons cannot be allowed to exist. Why is that so hard for you to grasp?
posted by ParisParamus at 7:18 PM on October 16, 2002


I don't see anyone nodding. I see the whole world putting pressure on India and Pakistan to chill the F out.
posted by Degaz at 7:18 PM on October 16, 2002


I think North Korea is the perfect opportunity for stealth aircraft. Once we locate the right sites, we can do what the Israelis did to the French, er, I mean Iraqi reactor.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:20 PM on October 16, 2002


Because lunatics with nukes or mass destruction weapons cannot be allowed to exist. Why is that so hard for you to grasp?

Possibly because you're Ariel Sharon's human bidet, and he's got nukes under his command.
posted by riviera at 7:33 PM on October 16, 2002


And according to the AP article the reason we can't go after them is because we would be over extended, what with this Iraq business and all. Good job Dim Son!
posted by spilon at 7:33 PM on October 16, 2002


Because lunatics with nukes or mass destruction weapons cannot be allowed to exist. Why is that so hard for you to grasp?

Right. Got it. Now all we need is to make chart of the world's nations with two columns: Lunatics and Not Lunatics. We just go down the list and check one or the other off for each country. Any country with a check mark in the "Lunatic" column which posesses nukes or "weapons of mass destruction" (an extremely flexible term whose precise meaning depends a lot on the agenda of the person using it) gets bombed back to the stone age by good old infallible and limitlessly powerful and wealthy you and me.

There's only one problem with this scenario: I defy any remotely sensible person to take a good hard look at the world and put any nation confidently in the "Not Lunatics" column.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:34 PM on October 16, 2002


N. Korea has driven itself into the ground and its people suffering because all their money going into military. Buyt Iran the next country to get nukes. and they too on Axis of Evil list, though unbeknownst in our media is the simple fact that the last hit in Iraq was from US planes allowed to fly over Iranian airspace (see Debka)
posted by Postroad at 7:35 PM on October 16, 2002


What we need to do to North Korea is drop satellite televisions, dvd players, satellite-networked computers, and propaganda pamphlets. Blanket the countryside. Once those people realize that they're living in a medieval prison, they will rise up en masse and overthrow their rulers. It'll be like Russia in the late eighties magnified by a factor of 100. The US government should be doing all it can to pry that country fucking open. Isolation isn't the solution; if the modern world embraces the North Korean people, the North Korean people will embrace the modern world.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:37 PM on October 16, 2002


Riviera: than you for disclosing yourself as the consumate vulgar moron of Metafilter--quite an accomplishment.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:38 PM on October 16, 2002


Yo, George_Spiggott: I am a "remotely sensible" person, and after taking a good hard look at the world, I can CONFIDENTLY place the U.S.A. in the "Not Lunatics" column.

riviera: Possibly because you're Ariel Sharon's human bidet, and he's got nukes under his command.

WTF?
posted by davidmsc at 7:38 PM on October 16, 2002


Problem is: they have neither the electricity nor batteries to react. They're starving.

If ever there was an argument for humanitarian invasion, Korea is it. Where's the Left on this one?
posted by ParisParamus at 7:41 PM on October 16, 2002


The United States is (still) working on nuclear weapons?? Maybe we're not in a good position to moralize about other countries' attempts to do same.

(glass houses... and all, no more trolling, ever again... I swear)
posted by cadastral at 7:45 PM on October 16, 2002


Where's the Right on this one?
posted by The Great Satan at 7:45 PM on October 16, 2002


Problem is: they have neither the electricity nor batteries to react. They're starving.

I'm sure the boys in R&D can tackle that battery problem, and we could drop food while we're at it. I'm serious, though; if we could make the people of NK realize what kind of country they're living in, the regime would last all of 15 minutes.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:46 PM on October 16, 2002


Speaking of lunatics with nuclear weapons, did anyone hear of this bit of recently uncovered Cuban Misile Crisis history which came to light as the Americans involved in the crisis met their ex-Soviet counterparts (in Cuba, no less!)? -- the crisis came closer to all out Nuclear War than anyone in the West had ever imagined. The US did not know - as it attempted to enforce it's blockade against Cuba - that in the waters off Cuba there were Soviet subs armed with nuclear torpedos. As the US ships were dropping depth charges to enforce the blockade, some charges exploded very close to one of the Soviet nuclear armed subs. The captain became so pissed off that he ordered his crew to prepare the nuclear torpedo. Frantic discussions ensued, and cooler heads talked him out of it.

Speaking of Cold War lunacy, can anyone give an accurate attribution of THIS quote? - "This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. And all this talk about, well, first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq, then we will take a look around and see how things stand, that is entirely the wrong way to go about it. Because these guys are all talking to each other and are all working with one another. . . . If we just let our own vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to be clever and piece together clever diplomatic solutions to this thing, but just wage a total war against these tyrants, I think we will do very well, and our children will sing great songs about us years from now."
posted by troutfishing at 7:48 PM on October 16, 2002


I defy any remotely sensible person to take a good hard look at the world and put any nation confidently in the "Not Lunatics" column.

Fairly simple test:
(1) Dictatorial leader/no representative government; and
(2) Demonstrated sale of weapons abroad or waging of war
(3) Demonstrated actual or likely development of weapons of mass destruction.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:50 PM on October 16, 2002


ParisParasmus, the US qualifies better than any nation on Earth for numbers 2 and 3. (I'll spare this forum the can of worms that #1 represents at the moment...)
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:53 PM on October 16, 2002


Yep.

Thanks Clinton. Thanks, Carter. You guys really did a great job. Carter, maybe you and Kim Dae-Jung can compare Nobel Peace Prizes and realize that they mean squat.
posted by hama7 at 7:54 PM on October 16, 2002


Paris, get a grip man. Your reactionary behavior is as ugly as the lefty kneejerk crap. N Korea having Nukes is a bad thing, I hope everyone agrees with this? Now how to deal with N Korea having Nukes is the situation, it would be nice if we could just infect them with our consumer culture, and make them a trading partner, but I doubt that. Does the US go in, and disarm N Korea? I don't think this is our problem, Russia created this monster, and it should be Russia's problem to clean up.
posted by jbou at 7:56 PM on October 16, 2002


the US qualifies better than any nation on Earth for numbers 2 and 3

I dunno; I'd put France or the various Former Unions at the top of the list of "Will sell Boom Toys to any scumbag with money." At minimum, they're up there in the same neighborhood with the US.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:57 PM on October 16, 2002


No George_Spiggott. PP clearly states that as the "Not Lunatics" test and even I must concede that the US meets the criteria.
posted by The Great Satan at 7:58 PM on October 16, 2002


jbou: It's 2002. China is no longer communist, stricto senso. Cuba is about to collapse. Albania, and Romania: had their revolutions. Soviets: gone. North Korea? No budging, really. I think the suggestion you make is demonstrated to have failed. Time to get serious with NC.

By the way, it's a three-part test: (1) AND (2) AND (3).
posted by ParisParamus at 8:02 PM on October 16, 2002


Yo, George_Spiggott: I am a "remotely sensible" person, and after taking a good hard look at the world, I can CONFIDENTLY place the U.S.A. in the "Not Lunatics" column.

I think you are mad, quite mad.

But it's America, so you're entitled to be. Up to a point.
posted by rushmc at 8:02 PM on October 16, 2002


Does this mean I can say: "TOLD YOU SO!" ?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:03 PM on October 16, 2002


Russia created this monster, and it should be Russia's problem to clean up.

I am not familiar with said history. But what you may not realize is that there's an arms pipeline between North Korea and the Middle East. So it's not just a local problem.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:04 PM on October 16, 2002


The bad people have bad things so the good people should do bad stuff for good reasons so the bad stuff and bad people are gone for double plus good.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:06 PM on October 16, 2002


This is a head-spinner. It's ... encouraging that they are being open about this. But it's a huge black eye for recent Nobel recipient Jimmy Carter, who worked out the 1994 agreement they've breached; it also, by any sane measure, severely limits the credibility of continued advocates of appeasement and containment policies with regard to other WMD-seeking states.

It was widely assumed that North Korea, to the extent it was acting rationally and not exhibiting any of its typical schizoid tendencies, was in effect blackmailing the West. That may continue to be the basic analysis here.

The only real upside to this is that North Korea often precedes periods of rapprochement with childish acting out. This year it was shooting up the ROK coast guard during the World Cup, which brought a return to negotiations; in the past they've used DMZ incursions and spy-submarine incidents.

I don't suppose they're going to give our money back.

Given this new information, I would so love to be a fly on the wall of the October 30 trilateral strategy talks between us, Japan, and South Korea. The bulk of the financing for the civilian-use reactors has come from them, and as Japan prepares to loan the People's Republic still billions more, are we going to have the balls to halt any of that?

troutfishing: I'm starting to understand why you named yourself the way you did.

madmanz123: A little thing called the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Surprise, it's one of those rare things -- a treaty the Bush administration likes.
posted by dhartung at 8:07 PM on October 16, 2002


troutfishing: Apparently, it's Bush 'advisor' Richard Perle.
posted by carter at 8:07 PM on October 16, 2002


Isn't this the six or seventh time this has happened? They say "We're developing nuclear weapons. We'll stop if you give us food.". We give them food. "We're developing nuclear weapons! We'll stop if you build us a breeder reactor!". We give them a breeder reactor. "Well, here we are! Developing nukes! Fancy that! We need more food!". The food isn't going to civilians, its going to prop up the army. Japan and the US can pump all the food in they want - it won't help one starving civilian.

The US (and Japan) need to stop feeding their army. North Korea has about as much chance of building a nuke as I do.
posted by swell at 8:09 PM on October 16, 2002


ParisParasmus: Like I said, I'm showing restraint about #1 as it currently applies. With difficulty. But I'm not real sure about that one either: at the risk of flirting with Godwin's law, wasn't *cough*N*zi*cough* Germany democratic (or at least under a government which had originally been democratically installed) when they invaded Poland? (Quite prepared to be wrong about this.)

Also, Nixon was a democratically elected leader when he illegally bombed Cambodia. That would certainly put the US in the Lunatic category from the Cambodians' perspective.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:10 PM on October 16, 2002


Yo, davidmsc -- Re: "I am a "remotely sensible" person, and after taking a good hard look at the world, I can CONFIDENTLY place the U.S.A. in the "Not Lunatics" column":

Try "looking" less and reading more -- such as about "Operation Paperclip" (the US gov has a nutshell on the web which conveniently omits the Nazi bits) or MKULTRA. Or the "School of the Americas" - ever wonder why people keep getting arrested and sentenced to VERY long jail sentences about that place? Or maybe start with the Tuskeegee Experiment? Remember that it's very likely that the US has current "projects" ongoing which are even more atrocious. For that matter, the US CIA has recently admitted, in testimony to the Senate Intelligence committee, that it comitts 100,000 serious crimes abroad every year (they keep records on their foreign crimes!). Speaking of which, this quote -- " advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool" -- comes from the document, "Rebuilding America's Defenses" which has served as the framework for the new Bush Adm. foreign policy. Wolfowitz was one principle author. Cheney, Lewis Libby, others central to the current Bush adm. were also involved with this.......... I guess your definition of "lunatic" diverges radically from the standard accepted English dictionary definitions. Or, maybe you try to parse state sponsored violence into "rational" and "irrational" kinds. That's OK.

But a word of advice ---- it's helpfull to try and grasp the parameters of the alternate reality one lives in. One never can really, not even with moderate success. But it helps to constantly make the effort.
posted by troutfishing at 8:16 PM on October 16, 2002


I'd be more impressed if those so keen on policing the world decided to do something about existing war crimes. After all, that's mass destruction, and it's caused by weapons. However, I guess if they're pals with the West, then it's not a crime.
posted by carter at 8:18 PM on October 16, 2002


Cmon, mefis. Look at the timing of this. My guess is that North Korea cut a deal with the US for straight-up propaganda purposes. Sure, NK has nukes. Most militaristic governments do, including our own. I'm guessing that if this story is genuine (unnamed administration officials?) the North Koreas made a small deal to admit to having a nuke program in order to bolster the public image of the Bush administration. N. Korea gets some breathing room from US pressure as it tries to patch up things with S. Korea and Japan, and in return the US gets to look like it was right and by extension it will help the image of their campaign to takeover Iraq. People will think, gee if N. Korea has nukes and they denied it, why I bet Iraq has nukes too just like the US says! It's psy-ops, it's purely for public consumption. This war's backing is very weak despite the rubber stamp from congress. I don't hear people talking about taking over Israel and they are estimated to have hundreds of nuclear warheads. They've also shown themselves to be not overly concerned with the consequences of using them. This is all politics. That's what this whole war is really about. It's the "great game", the charade that nations engage in while jockeying for advantage.
posted by letterneversent at 8:20 PM on October 16, 2002


And what Mr. Spiggott says. (No relation to Farah Faucett-Major, I'm presuming)..
posted by carter at 8:21 PM on October 16, 2002


... if we could make the people of NK realize what kind of country they're living in, the regime would last all of 15 minutes.

Yes, I'm sure they have NO idea what kind of country they're living in. Maybe you should go over there and explain it to them.

Unbelievable.
posted by zanpo at 8:42 PM on October 16, 2002


Dhartung - You are both right and wrong about my moniker. Presumeably, you know things about me of which I am unaware: this is the nature of perspective. But the name actually somes from the book "Trout Fishing in America" (not about Trout Fishing), by Richard Brautigan. Brautigan wrote one last book, "So the wind won't blow it away" before he used his toe to pull a shotgun trigger and blow his head off (mid 1980's). The title of that book was, I imagine, about his fears that the world would be consumed by Nuclear War. I wish he had chosen to stick around a bit longer.

George Spiggot - The bombing of Cambodia! Good body count point! A friend of mine who is a (paid) historian and I were comparing the relative body counts of the US and the USSR. We concluded that the USSR's body count was a bit higher, but that this was largely due to it's habit of killing vast numbers of it's own civilians, whereas the US tends to kill mostly outside of it's borders.

Carter - how about that Richard Perle! He gets all worked up sometimes. Speaking of which, I hear that the US, and US corporations, have become the #1 world arms dealer. Maybe I misheard?
posted by troutfishing at 8:48 PM on October 16, 2002


"Because they agreed not to? :-)"

Your joking right? What fantasy world do you live in where countries obey the laws of other nations let alone their own. So how do you like it over there in fantasy land eh bud? :D
posted by madmanz123 at 8:56 PM on October 16, 2002


North Korea has about as much chance of building a nuke as I do.

Hmmm... we seemed to say the same thing about them building a long distance missile. Next thing we know, they are launching a "satellite" over Japan with a 3 stage rocket.
posted by Plunge at 8:58 PM on October 16, 2002


madmanz123: Yes, that was a joke. Should have put the /sarcasm tag there.
posted by Plunge at 9:01 PM on October 16, 2002


I am a "remotely sensible" person, and after taking a good hard look at the world, I can CONFIDENTLY place the U.S.A. in the "Not Lunatics" column.

Perhaps not complete lunatics. Certainly suffering from delusions of grandeur and a savior complex, though.

N. Korea has driven itself into the ground and its people suffering because all their money going into military. Buyt Iran the next country to get nukes. and they too on Axis of Evil list, though unbeknownst in our media is the simple fact that the last hit in Iraq was from US planes allowed to fly over Iranian airspace

In other news, someone has bombed Postroad's syntax into the Stone Age.
posted by hippugeek at 9:12 PM on October 16, 2002


According to this article in the Korea Herald, which appears to be genuine, NK is particularly short of underwear (scroll down to bottom half of article).1
posted by carter at 9:21 PM on October 16, 2002


dhartung: It's a huge black eye for Carter? Sheesh, I read this in the first few paragraphs of the Clinton transcript:

These developments mark not a solution to the problem, but they do mark a new opportunity to find a solution. It is the beginning of a new stage in our efforts to pursue a nonnuclear Korean Peninsula. We hope this will lead to the resolution of all the issues that divide Korea from the international community.

In short, no one claimed total success here - not Carter, Clinton or anyone else involved. Sheesh. Maybe being called part of an "Axis of Evil" didn't help here, I can't say. Maybe the government is in decline, and needs to stand up to Uncle Sam, which has given it the perfect opportunity. Again, I can't say. But it's not Carter's fault.
posted by raysmj at 9:42 PM on October 16, 2002


dhartung: Also, what was supposed to be done in lieu of an agreement and an attempt at negotiation, or something similar to the Cold War's containment? Was Carter supposed to urge Clinton to attack North Korea? Are you thinking along halfway serious lines here?
posted by raysmj at 10:05 PM on October 16, 2002


Remember that it's very likely that the US has current "projects" ongoing which are even more atrocious.

Possible, but I wouldn't call it likely. It's worth differentiating between a U.S. whose leaders were convinced they were Locked In A Death Struggle With The Evil Empire and one in a time of relative peace. (Yeah, I'm leaving 9-11 out of the picture; maybe a mistake, but I assume you're not just talking about projects begun in the last few months.)
posted by Tlogmer at 10:09 PM on October 16, 2002


Why would any sane crazy dictator admit to having nukes while our crazy dictator is going all crazy about people having nukes?

Obviously, this guy is a crazy crazy dictator. Not that ya'll didn't know that.
posted by delmoi at 11:29 PM on October 16, 2002


Carter gets his Nobel Peace Prize. North Korea hears about it. North Korea admits to said nuclear weapons programme. Carter/Clinton look like fools. North Korea has a good laugh. North Korea notices it is 1 of 3 on the axis of evil count. George Bush calls up KIM Chong-il..."Checkmate."
posted by Ron at 11:55 PM on October 16, 2002


ray, many news articles about the Nobel prize award mentioned Carter's 1994 trip to North Korea, citing it as an example of his peacemaking abilities. Coming right on the heels of that announcement, this is to say the least embarrassing. There's a whole list of people who come in for greater criticism -- the North Koreans for being lying, nuke-building bastards, Clinton for his lackadaisical approach to foreign policy, and certainly most recently our intelligence assets for being unable to warn us of the possibility. Though it seems they switched over to high-grade uranium, and thus avoided using existing known facilities, such as the reactors the IAEA is supposedly now able to monitor (when they were first allowed in, though, several years ago, there had been a concerted and obvious effort to scrub evidence that could point to military uses; in one reactor the fuel rods had been completely removed).

The inevitable WaPo article, which has some insider quotes and background, as well as hints at how the WH might handle this. It still could be seen in a positive light, one supposes, but it does complicate their message, which could also be one reason for the timing (I wonder if the Pyongyang crowd is that tuned in, or subtle, though).

George: Most observers would say democracy ended in Germany the day the Chancellor was handed dictatorial powers by the Enabling Act, which was March of 1933. There was a plebiscite in 1936, though, that gave him a comfortable 98.9% favorable vote. If you want to know how he was seen in 1938, read TIME.

As for judging North Korea, Ralph Peters has some interesting criteria.

delmoi: Look at this way, Kim's regime gives inscrutability a bad name.
posted by dhartung at 11:55 PM on October 16, 2002


Second Comment: "...And given the way NC trades technology for money..."

Those North Carolinans! Giving away their secrets on football and moonshine for hard cash? What shall we do? ;)
posted by FilmMaker at 12:21 AM on October 17, 2002


on tuesday, i met a ministirial delegation from DPRK who were discussing future relations with the EU. they spoke candidly about their missile programme and what it would take to halt it. a deal on ICBM's was almost signed in the final days of the clinton administration but the incoming bush govt had little interest in promoting it, and the axis of evil speech ruined everything.

they were very clear that they needed the hard currency income from missile sales and acnowledged that such sales are harming relationships.

but progress is being made on nuclear and other military issues, progress by dialogue and discussion.

dialogue and discussion, why can't we try that with iraq?
posted by quarsan at 1:05 AM on October 17, 2002


Filmmaker, perhaps Paris was using the alternate spelling, Corea.

NYT says US confronted NK with intelligence, mollifying me as regards earlier remarks. This also likely explains why they were put in the "Axis of Evil"; at the time they were believed to be in compliance regarding nuclear weapons, but still developing missile technology. It also indicates that the WH knew all along during Iraq planning that this could become an issue, and in the event they took the initiative themselves (perhaps intending the timing to influence the UN). It also explains the perfunctory nature of the Kelly visit, and the diffident attitude they've taken to the diplomacy angle over recent months. NYT also says the civilian reactor project, after raising nearly $5 billion in financing, is definitely dead.

The NYT is foolish, though (as was the AP) to suggest that this would mean immediately imminent military action, which the WH seems at pains to avoid even implying. They probably hope that decisive action against Iraq will provide an object lesson in possible outcomes.

quarsan: That's an excellent idea. I'll send a message back in time to the UN that dialogue and discussion will prove fruitful in bringing Iraq back to the world community. Surely it couldn't possibly result in anything as ludicrous as ten years of evasion and obstructionism. Why, the mere idea that the UN is finally trying dialogue and discussion will probably bring Saddam to bear in a matter of weeks, if not days.
posted by dhartung at 1:15 AM on October 17, 2002


thanks dhartung. but let's hope we don't have a war that will divide muslim from non muslim, lead to an increase in terrorism and bring chaos on an unprecedented scale to the middle east and beyond.
posted by quarsan at 1:59 AM on October 17, 2002


quarsan, I don't want that either. But I want it with a nuclear-armed Saddam less.

Final thought: This is astonishingtly good publicity for 007, which was trying to be topical but only on the periphery of world events.
posted by dhartung at 2:23 AM on October 17, 2002


dhartung: sadddam is years away from having a nuke.
posted by quarsan at 2:47 AM on October 17, 2002


George: Most observers would say democracy ended in Germany the day the Chancellor was handed dictatorial powers by the Enabling Act, which was March of 1933. There was a plebiscite in 1936, though, that gave him a comfortable 98.9% favorable vote.

Quite right Dhartung. I think the big lesson to be learned about the Third Reich (at the risk of spinning out a Godwin), is that democracy is no guard against dictators. They just change the rules (so maybe no 1 of PP's list isn't so relevant). Be careful of phrases such as 'emergency laws' 'state of emergency' 'war-time powers' etc.
posted by Summer at 2:57 AM on October 17, 2002


"advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool"

Trout: The idea of 'smart' weapons isn't new, so I don't get your preoccupation with this statement. When I read it, I thought, 'at least the current administration isn't completely out of touch with biotechnology.' This may be the direction science is leading, and if it is it will be regardless of what the Bush (or any future) admin's position is.

If you think this makes them lunatic, you're the one who needs to do some looking and reading.
posted by shoos at 3:30 AM on October 17, 2002


Those North Carolinans! Giving away their secrets on football and moonshine for hard cash? What shall we do? ;)


Sorry. In French, Korea is spelled with a "C", and it was real late when I wrote that.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:39 AM on October 17, 2002


Obviously, this guy is a crazy crazy dictator.

And just in case anyone has forgotten, Saddam is a bad, bad man. And they are all evil (God told him so.)

[the annointed appointed one speaks]
Economy, what economy? Ken who? The CEO of what? Corruption, what corruption? Privatize SS? Did I say that? Let's go back to "Saddam is a bad, bad man!"
[/the appointed one speaks]
posted by nofundy at 5:25 AM on October 17, 2002


Quoth CNN:

The North Korean official then shocked Kelly when he looked at him and said "something to the effect of, 'Your president called us a member of the axis of evil. ... Your troops are deployed on the Korean peninsula. ... Of course, we have a nuclear program,'" according to the senior administration source, who was briefed on the meeting.

Makes sense to me. If I had a belligerent superpower on my doorstep, I'd want nukes, too.
posted by kewms at 6:10 AM on October 17, 2002


Does this mean I can say: "TOLD YOU SO!" ?

If you really, really want to, Steve. Not that you need supply any concrete proof to know you're engaged in a secret programme to talk bollocks.

It's a curious double-standard, of course. Catch a regime that's downloaded the 'Making Nucular Weppons FAQ', and it's red alert. Secretly develop them, and indeed, you too can be a reprehensible leader blackmailing the world's superpower (Hello, Israel. Afternoon, Pakistan.) Bush should give one warhead to every nation, with the promise that if it's used, the US will obliterate it within minutes. That'll address the charade of 'aspiring towards' nuclear weapons, which certainly piques the curiosity of the majority of world leaders. (I think the Pope can do without.)
posted by riviera at 7:03 AM on October 17, 2002


Makes sense to me. If I had a belligerent superpower on my doorstep, I'd want nukes, too.

Right. Just look like you're going to use one and the next day your whole pissant country is a parking lot. That's a useful weapon. Solves the problem of your starving people, too.

The funny (?) thing is, if W had started his whole Dr Evil thing about Kim Jong Il rather than Saddam, I would have been much more sympathetic to his arguments. The history of North Korea under Kim Il Sung and his son makes Iraq look positively pleasant. But now all I can think about is; there's no oil under there so who gives a shit.

Troutfishing - didn't know that about Brautigan. I was a big fan of his in the 70s. Now I'm really bummed. My favorite book of poems was The Pill Versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, but I liked all his stuff. Shit.
posted by norm29 at 7:14 AM on October 17, 2002


dhartung: You still have to take into account what happened after 1994 - or put the talks of '94 in any sort of context - to judge Carter's actions. It's as if you're saying he doesn't deserve the Peace Prize because this occurred - and, by using the word "appeasement" (and condemning something similar to Cold War "containment")," you're suggesting a) that Carter came out saying he had secured "peace in our time," which he most assuredly had not, and b) that the only option in 1994 was a preemptive strike against North Korea. If you believe the latter, I can only imagine that your posts here are of the intentionally absurdist MeFi variety.
posted by raysmj at 7:29 AM on October 17, 2002


Jimmy Carter got his Nobel Peace Prize, time for another Georgian to step to the plate. Sam Nunn heads the Nuclear Threat Initiative. If North Korea's after money, maybe Warren Buffett could buy their nukes and destroy them.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:43 AM on October 17, 2002


Shoos - re your comment on my posted quote ["advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool"] from the Neocon PNAC document ("Rebuilding America's Defenses")......"Trout: The idea of 'smart' weapons isn't new, so I don't get your preoccupation with this statement. When I read it, I thought, 'at least the current administration isn't completely out of touch with biotechnology.' This may be the direction science is leading, and if it is it will be regardless of what the Bush (or any future) admin's position is......If you think this makes them lunatic, you're the one who needs to do some looking and reading."

First of all, Wolfowitz and especially Rumsfeld, are VERY smart men. But I think their judgment has become suspect. For a number of reasons, including the fact that really good poker players (politicians) don't telegraph their intentions so far in advance. But........

----Am I missing something here? I read a bit, and my understanding is that although the genotype provides the "raw material", phenotypic development ranges fairly far the genotypic "base". Hence, the popular idea of "identical" clones is a myth. This means that, in developing a weapon which targets "genotypes" - YOU DON'T KNOW WHO THE HELL YOU ARE TARGETING -except in very broad terms. You could probably target whole populations, which have some distinct genetic marker, quite effectively, as in ALL BLACKS, ALL ASIANS, or even ALL AMISH or ALL Ashkenazi JEWS....or, given that genetic tracing has shown that the majority of current European populations originated with one small band of, perhaps, 50-100 individuals, ALL EUROPEANS (that might mean most AMERICANS, too).

How could the creation of viruses or infectious agents which would target whole (genetically distinct) populations EVER fall into the realm of the "politically useful"? Explain that to me. Help me get that damn quote out of my head, show me what I am missing! I must be missing something, right? Again that damn quote: ".....may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool."

"Politically useful" to whom? Adolf Hitler? Joe Stalin? Pol Pot? Vlad the Impaler?

It's that semantic context, that linguistic shading. In one quick turn of phrase, a weapon of APOCALYPTIC NAZI GENOCIDE turns into a nice little "politically useful tool" -- kind of like a negative campaign ad, or a PAC or something.

It's a shame for the Neocons that LIBERALS or ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATORS don't have a specific genotype, such that a weapon could be devised to secretly WIPE THEM OUT TOO.

Maybe I speak too soon, though: altruism is (partially) genetically controlled. That's it! A gene for altruism! Shame that this would get "Christians" too - Maybe the price would be considered worth it. Think of it - no more troublesome domestic dissent over US wars!

I guess that, in your lexicon, a flamethrower might be called a "useful instrument of interpersonal relations"?........

I also imagine that would make nuclear weapons "politically useful tools" also. And so they are, in the nastiest Machiavellian sense. They are not, however, so grotesquely discriminating.......

Yes, I can conceive of extremely evil uses to which such weapons could be put. I don't even want to mention some of them, for fear of giving others bad ideas. And I think that, first of all, such weapons........even the discussion of their uses....should be made taboo, stigmatized far more than chemical weapons, such that they would never be called "politically useful tools" without provoking political firestorms.

Paul Wolfowitz signed off on this document. I don't think that these darker implications were what he had in mind, but I can't be sure. All I know is that the quote exists in a document with his imprimatur. Either his judgment is so whacked (in my opinion) that I have to conclude that he has a screw loose (several, even) or that he neither wrote nor read (and understood) that incriminating piece of text in the PNAC doc. and so he is another "Mr. Magoo", like Thomas White (re: White's role as head of an extremely dubious Enron-phony profit making division who saw no evil).

By the way, this also veers into some odd territory. Czech Sci-Fi writer Stanislaw Lem wrote a book called "The futurological Congress". In it, he sketches a future where - even though the world is falling apart - people are pacified through finely tuned psychedelic drugs which create the impression -in the target population- that they are living in paradise. Maybe these "advanced forms of biological warfare" would evolve into ways of changing/coercing populations without killing them? Viruses could be developed which insert genes such as the "Love the USA" gene (meekness, pacifism, whatever), or the "slavish devotion to authority" gene (just inoculate the ruling classes, and let 'er rip!).

Jeff "Skunk" Baxter has actually proposed similar ideas to receptive Pentagon Officials recently:

"(Washington - September 14, 2001)
X-Steely Dan guitarist proposes brain implants, TV, Valium for those who hate U.S.

Several days after the destruction of the World Trade Center, speaking at a seminar on terrorism before Department of Defense members, defense contractors, and military analysts at a Washington D.C. think-tank, the "Potomac Institute for Policy Studies", former lead guitarist for the rock group Steely Dan, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, made a visionary proposal for a radically new, cutting edge strategy to counter the seething hatred of the United States in the Middle east, reports David Corn writing for Alternet.org.

Acknowledging that the U.S. needs to fight a PR war on terrorism, The rock guitar legend, who has refashioned himself as an expert on the SDI initiative, the "Star Wars" Defense scheme first initiated during the Reagan years, suggested that the U.S. needed to use advertising, nanotechnology and Valium to " reengineer the perceptions of our enemies."

Dealing with the deep hatreds which led to the fiery destruction of the World Trade Center would be difficult, the rock legend noted, because "You live in a dirt-poor place, but if you blow yourself up in the name of Allah, you'll get 73 virgins, all the dope you can smoke, backstage passes to Bruce Springsteen ... How do we nullify and negate that threat?"

Answering his question Baxter, who refuses to acknowledge the origin of his nickname, noted that "The way to keep a kamikaze pilot out of aircraft ... is to deal with it at the source" and suggested a "Manhattan Project" for "perception engineering", a propaganda campaign run by the finest advertising talent money can buy - the elite ad execs of Detroit who were "selling Chevrolets when they were crap with the 'heart beat of America' "

Applying his keen grasp of futuristic technologies, Baxter suggested that the United States could develop specialized types of microscopic robots - called "nanobots" - to infect the brains of those who hate the US and re-engineer their thought patterns away from "Great Satan" sentiments and towards a deep love of Coca-Cola , the World Trade Organization, and the American way. Showering poor, U.S. hating, fundamentalist middle eastern neighborhoods with free packages of Valium or even Prozac might do the trick too.

According to Baxter, "it's an information war.... a war fought with the ideas...I can give you a Valium and make you feel good. I can give you a musical score and engineer your perceptions. All this is doable." -- (from Troutfishing Times (TM), Sept. 14, 2001)
posted by troutfishing at 8:40 AM on October 17, 2002


TLOGMER wrote, Re: Troutfishing post comment ["Remember that it's very likely that the US has current "projects" ongoing which are even more atrocious."]:

"Possible, but I wouldn't call it likely. It's worth differentiating between a U.S. whose leaders were convinced they were Locked In A Death Struggle With The Evil Empire and one in a time of relative peace."

How about this Richard Perle quote (again, I know, but it's a juicy one) "This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there.... these guys are all talking to each other and are all working with one another. . . . If we just let our own vision of the world go forth, ... [and] just wage a total war against these tyrants, I think we will do very well, and our children will sing great songs about us years from now."
posted by troutfishing at 8:46 AM on October 17, 2002


why should the US (or any other western nation) be the only ones entitled to possess nuclear weapons... i think we should all be reminded that the US is the only nation to ever use nuclear weapons against another nation at any time in history...
posted by fishtail at 8:51 AM on October 17, 2002


why should the US (or any other western nation) be the only ones entitled to possess nuclear weapons... i think we should all be reminded that the US is the only nation to ever use nuclear weapons against another nation at any time in history...

Because the likelihood of the US or other "western nation" using nuclear weapons are miniscule these days. North Korea is a different story though.

Also, bringing up WWII and the use of an atomic weapon at that time and comparing it to current times and situations is disingenuous at best.
posted by Plunge at 8:59 AM on October 17, 2002


b) that the only option in 1994 was a preemptive strike against North Korea. If you believe the latter, I can only imagine that your posts here are of the intentionally absurdist MeFi variety.

According to an interview with Kim Young-Sam, the President of Korea at that time, it was only by the grace of God and his argument with President Clinton over the phone that kept the US from striking North Korea. Supposedly the US was only minutes away from attacking. Unfortunately, the Hankyoreh is only in Korean, but there are some translations of the article both in liberal and conservative outlets.
posted by Plunge at 9:05 AM on October 17, 2002


George Bush calls up KIM Chong-il..."Checkmate."
We wish. More like "king me!"
posted by DenOfSizer at 9:47 AM on October 17, 2002


Hey Troutfishing? Maybe you could use this amazing thing called a hyperlink?
posted by DenOfSizer at 9:48 AM on October 17, 2002


According to the Village Voice, Michael Leedeen actually made the "total war" remark, not Perle, at an October 29 2001 American Enterprise Institute panel moderated by Perle. However, the remark is characteristic of the Perle/Wolfowitz circle, even if they're discrete enough not to say such things themselves.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:57 AM on October 17, 2002


In other news, Jimmy Carter was awarded the California Penal Peace Prize for his efforts at getting parole for Charles Manson by agreeing that he promises to be 'a good boy'.
posted by HTuttle at 9:57 AM on October 17, 2002


Great work troutfishing! Thanks!
posted by nofundy at 10:29 AM on October 17, 2002


Interesting how these "startling" revelations are coming out of NK recently - kidnapped Japanese & now this. Should be no big surprise to all but the most self-deluded peaceniks however - what did you expect to get when trying to bribe (read: appease) a whacked-out asshat regime from continuing a nuke arms program by offering up reactor technology instead? To paraphase (to the consternation, no doubt, of some here) Ronald Reagan, "If you can't verify, don't trust."
posted by Pressed Rat at 10:31 AM on October 17, 2002


OctoberSurprise - Thanks for correcting me. See, I have crossed synapses about that quote. Perle was moderating the discussion, Leeden made the colorfull speech. My mother has this problem too: Once, I took advantage of her (dyslexia?) and called a futon a "tofu". This crossed her synaptic memories and she started calling futons "tofus". I don't think she's ever been able to uncross those synapses, even though I did eventually tell her about my little trick.
posted by troutfishing at 11:07 AM on October 17, 2002


Pressed Rat: Ronald Reagan's mantra was, "Trust, but verify." Looks like we've verified here, after trusting to a certain degree (just not in the past two or three years, and certainly not when putting the nation on the "Axis of Evil" list).
posted by raysmj at 11:18 AM on October 17, 2002


In short, there wasn't any bit about, "If you can't verify . . ." You made that part up. If we thoroughly believed we could have verified everything during the Cold War, we wouldn't have had intelligence services.
posted by raysmj at 11:19 AM on October 17, 2002


N. Korea has driven itself into the ground and its people suffering because all their money going into military

Exactly. They should provide a public system of health care to their citizens instead of spending too much on the Defense budget
posted by matteo at 12:22 PM on October 17, 2002


genotype provides the "raw material", phenotypic development ranges fairly far the genotypic "base."

Trout: Yes, this is true, but each individual person retains a very stable, very unique set of chromosomes - in terms of the DNA sequence they're made up of (hence the existence of DNA fingerprinting). So, the possibility of using that absolute uniqueness for targeting an individual exists. This is I believe what the passage was implying. (It probably wouldn't have been politically very wise to voice support for newfangled genocide tools in a document available from the group's web site.)

This sort of individual-person-level targeting technology is not even close to coming into existence, though, and in my opinion it probably never will.
posted by shoos at 12:35 PM on October 17, 2002


Troutfishing: How could the creation of viruses or infectious agents which would target whole (genetically distinct) populations EVER fall into the realm of the "politically useful"? Explain that to me.

Who said the targets had to be humans? Modern agriculture, for instance, relies increasingly on the mass-scale deployment of genetically distinct and controlled (in some instances genetically identical) strains.

In other words, Country A wakes up one morning to find that its primary food crop is completely gone. Perhaps Country B next door, unaffected, did it so it could get a lucrative contract to sell replacement grain to A. Perhaps C did it to weaken A's government as they headed into a negotiation. Perhaps D did it to soften A as a prelude to invasion...

Not a very nice trick to play on someone, but it's one example of how such an engineered pathogen could have economic, political, and military applications short of the "Kill all the Presbyterians" scenario. As a deterrent it's actually much gentler than "cross that line and we'll nuke you."

(Note that avoiding modern GM agriculture is no guarantee of safety from such an attack. One can imagine an engineered plant pathogen that attacks only countries that use Megacorp GM wheat #95736. Or one that attacks all wheat except Megacorp #95736. Then it becomes an arms race between genetic engineers.)
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 12:45 PM on October 17, 2002


raysmj -

"paraphrase" - a restatement of a text, passage, or work giving the meaning in another form"

My point was that it's naive to cut a deal with a person, entity, country, etc. of different values &/or questionnable honor or veracity & then expect them to honor it just because you wish they would - if you can't verify that they're honoring the agreement, you're deluding yourself by making it in the first place.
posted by Pressed Rat at 12:49 PM on October 17, 2002


Reworking and paraphrasing are not the same thing. What you said is not what Reagan meant, but what you meant.
posted by raysmj at 1:46 PM on October 17, 2002


Can you honestly say that, in the past two or three years, we were "trusting" North Korea anyway? No. Formally, maybe, but otherwise no.

In any case, the cute thing about Reagan's statement is that trust that requires verification really isn't trust, by definition. (Here. Sign the prenup which lets me keep all my dough in case you cheat on me or something. I trust you. Really.) It's hoping for the best, followed by intelligence or legal backing. If you read the language Clinton used in the '94 press conference, he pretty much uses the language indicating that they hoped this would lead to better relations. It was also referred to as a start, and not a finish. What was developed was akin to a contract.

Reagan used this little phrase when in negotiations with the Soviet Union, by the way, a nation he had referred to as an "evil empire." (I remember reading articles by pundits who were appalled that he'd even been prepared to give up the whole nuclear store. He only wanted Star Wars in return.) Was the U.S.S.R. "honorable," trustworthy and evil simultaneously?
posted by raysmj at 2:05 PM on October 17, 2002


Because the likelihood of the US or other "western nation" using nuclear weapons are miniscule these days.

I seem to remember Bush saying (early in his term) that he *would* consider using (tactical) nuclear weapons as an offensive tool. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I googled around but could not find a reference. Does anyone have the reference? I thought it was a MetaFilter post.
posted by gruchall at 3:00 PM on October 17, 2002


Excellent - I look forward to M*A*S*H 2003! What an excellent opportunity to revive that franchise!

"I suspect it would take a fraction of the time to get rid of the NC menace."

Heh, you're funny. But seriously, all we need to do is send in some military advisors to South Korea and build up their military - then they can reunite the country!
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 4:30 PM on October 17, 2002


I seem to remember Bush saying (early in his term) that he *would* consider using (tactical) nuclear weapons as an offensive tool. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I googled around but could not find a reference. Does anyone have the reference? I thought it was a MetaFilter post.

Basically, what was said, if I recall properly, was that the US would use nuclear weapons against other states that use WMDs, even non-nuclear ones, against the US. President Carter, during his administration, set policy that the US would only consider using them against other nations that had them as well.
posted by Plunge at 4:39 PM on October 17, 2002


Heh, you're funny. But seriously, all we need to do is send in some military advisors to South Korea and build up their military - then they can reunite the country!

Talk about your asinine comments. I'm Korean. I'm from Korea. Do you know how close Seoul is to the DMZ? Seoul would be wiped out if there was a war. The home of 14 million+ people, gone.

The arrogance and stupidity of the posts I've read about Korea finally made me decide to join this blog although I've read it for a long time. This comment is just a sample.

Pull your head out of your collective asses before you go making "pithy" comments about a place most of you probably couldn't even find on the map. Some of us live there or have family there.
posted by Baesen at 4:48 PM on October 17, 2002


raysmj: I can't imagine where you're getting these straw men you're flailing against. It's "as if" you're putting words in my mouth and arguing against that. It's pretty clear that if the 1994 agreement is mentioned in any future texts written about Carter, it will have one whopper of an asterisk next to it. And I used appeasement and containment precisely. If you wish to slam someone for using them as insults, look elsewhere.

Please don't make me use I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I hope you realize that what you heard was not what I meant.

Baesen: I'm pretty sure that the comment that ticked you off was intended as sarcasm.
posted by dhartung at 5:40 PM on October 17, 2002


Lord I hope so. Damn people need to learn how to use the /sarcasm tag.
posted by Baesen at 5:48 PM on October 17, 2002


dhartung: That "appeasement" is a loaded term can hardly be unknown to you. Use it to discuss any strategy involving diplomacy and compromise and you've immediately brought Hitler into the room. It's a Godwin-like semantic tool, in other words.

"Containment," similarly, was the dominant U.S. foreign policy strategy for almost 40 years. To use it to describe any sanctions regime, say, is ridiculous (although, with North Korea, maybe not, since it's actually Communist - and we're still containment with Cuba). It's a cliched term and, even according to the strategy's originator, George Kennan, it's been consistently misunderstood.

In any case, who cares about asterisks used by journalists and hack pundits?
posted by raysmj at 7:19 PM on October 17, 2002


Well it looks like the Axis of Evil has a new Member (well, sort of new). Thus suggests NK may be a lot closer to having a nuke. Which probably means taking out NK is a lot higher on the agenda.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:38 PM on October 17, 2002


I seem to remember that China was a little bit unhappy the last time the US invaded Korea.

Of possible interest is the fact that the US has been in this situation before.
posted by snarfodox at 1:51 AM on October 18, 2002


Ah, yes, snarfodox. You have as well discovered Dongxiao Yue, that preeminent wellspring of information on world history.
posted by shoos at 2:53 AM on October 18, 2002


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