The Price of Past US Threats against North Korea ; American Policies Dating from the 1950s Might Have Contributed to Kim Jong Il's Obsession with Developing Nuclear Weapons

Article excerpt

If you wonder why North Korea's Kim Jong Il seems so obsessed with developing a nuclear weapon, consider these historical facts noted by The Washington Post's Walter Pincus:

In 1950, during the Korean War, when President Truman replied to a reporter's question about whether he would use the atomic bomb, Truman said that he would use "every weapon that we have." This was just five years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In 1953, President Eisenhower said that if North Korea did not negotiate in good faith to end the war, he would "remove all restraints in our use of weapons."

Mr. Pincus recalls that in 1957, the US Army deployed nuclear- tipped missiles near the demarcation line between the Koreas. The missiles began to be removed on President Carter's order in the late 1970s.

The current issue of Newsweek magazine has a cover story with the headline, "For 50 years, North Korea plotted to go nuclear. Now Kim Jong Il says it has." So now the Bush administration is straining to develop a coalition of the more-or-less-willing in order to punish North Korea for testing an atomic device and threatening to test more. The administration has succeeded, after making several concessions, in getting a unanimous resolution of the United Nations Security Council that prescribes punitive sanctions against North Korea. …