Magazine article The Progressive

Don't Strike North Korea

Magazine article The Progressive

Don't Strike North Korea

Article excerpt

Whenever a Third World country on the U.S. enemies' list comes close to acquiring a clear weapon, apoplexy breaks out in Washington, quickly followed by chest-thumping for a pre-emptive strike.

So it is now with North Korea, which recently withdrew from the Nuclear Arms Non-Proliferation Treaty instead of submitting to international inspection of its facility at Yongbyon. Washington suspects North Korea has enough material for at least one nuclear weapon, and the cries for a raid have begun, as Michael Klare noted in a piece for Pacific News Service.

The United States should "take military action if we find North Korea is developing nuclear weapons," says Representative John Murtha, Democrat from Pennsylvania and chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.

President Clinton himself may feel pressure to flex his muscles for the Pentagon brass and may see a sortie over Yongbyon as just the ticket.

Nothing would be more foolish.

First of all, as Klare points out, "such an action could precipitate a new attack by the North on the South, with unpredictable consequences. With an army of one million men and thousands of tanks, North Korea is capable of inflicting immense damage on South Korea even if it is ultimately defeated in war."

That's one reason South Korea is much more conciliatory than Washington about the nuclear issue to the north. But the United States might incur casualties, as well.

"American troops," says Klare, "would be drawn into the fighting at the very onset of the war, and . …

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