The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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North Korea

Bush should forget Baghdad, concentrate on Pyongyang

It appears that President Bush’s concern that a paranoid, unstable dictator obtaining weapons of mass destruction wasn’t quite so unreasonable, after all. But unfortunately, Bush and his team have been focusing their attention on the wrong paranoid, unstable dictator.

North Korean ruler Kim Jung Il, who in recent years has proven incapable of properly feeding or housing his populace, is proving to be just as crazy as rumors have suggested. Last month his nation declared its desire for nuclear weaponry (and then denied that any such declaration had taken place), and this past week North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, both steps far more provocative and egregious than any taken by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

It is hard to understand the reasoning of a man as inconsistent as Kim. His reign in North Korea has been unpredictable – lurching over the past few years between rapprochement and renewed belligerence with the South. What it is that Kim hopes to accomplish with his nuclear grab is unclear.

Does he seek a bargaining chip with which to blackmail the world for humanitarian support? Is he seeking to distract his population from the rampant starvation that has plagued his regime? Does he really think that the North can retake a position of primacy over the South?

Or did this notoriously paranoid man take President Bush’s threats against the so-called Axis of Evil way too seriously? Did Bush’s jingoistic rhetoric in the 2002 State of the Union address set the stage for this game of nuclear brinkmanship? Giving a paranoid man like Kim an actual reason to be paranoid is never good idea – particularly when the previous administration gave him most of the prerequisites for building a nuclear bomb.

While Saddam Hussein may have no compunction about mistreating his own populace, he is obsessively interested in self-preservation, and is a deft player of the diplomatic game. Kim is a thug whose clumsily poor execution of this nuclear revelation raises doubts regarding his lucidity. He’s a true threat. North Korea is where America’s focus should lie, not Iraq.

The Bush administration’s failure to foresee this Korean problem and its continued obsession with Iraq cast a long shadow on the president’s motivations. If the goal is truly world stability and weapons control, and not merely the settling of old scores, then Pyongyang is where Bush’s attention should be, not Baghdad. Saddam Hussein is boxed in, and too smart to take a swing at the United States that would certainly result in his own destruction. Kim Jung Il is neither.

If the President and his team insist on running around the world like a vigilante in an attempt to make us all forget that they failed to kill bin Laden, the least they could do is focus on a true threat to American security.

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