Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why Bush is responsible for North Korea's plutonium bomb

By Michael J.W. Stickings

(This is an update to my recent post on Bush Administration officials "rooting" for a North Korean nuclear test.)

We now know that the bomb North Korea tested was a plutonium one, not a uranium one. For the significance of this, see this excellent piece by eminent nuclear physicist James Gordon Prather at The National Interest.

Prather argues that the Agreed Framework developed under Clinton successfully contained North Korea's nuclear program. Once in office, and then with North Korea a member of the so-called "Axis of Evil," Bush "saw the Agreed Framework as constricting and welcomed a North Korean (and Iraqi and Iranian) withdrawal from the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty]". North Korea withdrew and "restarted [its] Plutonium-239 producing reactor".

What this means is not only that North Korea's development of a plutonium bomb occurred on Bush's watch but that Bush is himself responsible for North Korea's development of a plutonium bomb. Indeed, according to Prather: "Bush can put a nuke-armed North Korea on his list of foreign-policy achievements."

And what a list of achievements that is: Iraq is descending into chaos, genocide continues in Darfur, and Iran and North Korea are developing or have developed nuclear weapons. And then there's the rift over Iraq between the U.S. and Europe, as well as the loss of American credibility worldwide as a result of the treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and the rendition of prisoners to secret prisons and foreign jurisdictions that sanction torture. And then there's Afghanistan, which has largely been ignored. And... well, it's all bad.

Quite the presidency this has been, eh?

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