Thursday, August 25, 2005

With Friends Like These...

The second nuclear crisis with North Korea all started when (then) Assistant Secy. of State James Kelly told the North Koreans that we had evidence they were cheating on the Agreed Framework by building an enriched Uranium bomb program.

While normally I would go on at length about the US and North Korea, such is not the case here.
What is interesting today is the new revelation as to how the DPRK got that HEU program in the first place-- from Pakistan via the A.Q. Khan network.

According to the NY Times
, Pakistani Leader President/General Pervez Musharaf said that Khan provided "centrifuges - parts and complete" to North Korea, along with, it is suspected, Uranium Hexaflouride, the gas product used to enrich the Uranium to bomb-grade.

Now, Uranium enrichment through a gas centrifuge is not a simple process. It requires a lot of techincal skill, massive machines, and a ton of electricity. The NRC requires huge licensing issues to do it here. The centrifuges that do this are large pieces of equipment.
Point being-- this is not a little bit of thing that AQ Khan could put in a briefcase and secretly smuggle into North Korea. This kind of assistance involves lots of airplanes moving lots of stuff and having a number of highly trained scientists and engineers teach the North Koreans how to use it.

Its the type of operation that is big enough that, in a tightly monitored Pakistani nuclear program, could not have gone unnoticed.

So basically, the Pakistanis, our allies in the War on Terrorism, were selling the nuclear material to North Korea which prompted the begining of the current nuclear crisis, making it easier for the second member of the Axis of Evil to get the bomb.

Remember, we invaded Iraq for less.
Now what will we do about North Korea?
More importantly, what on earth do you do about Pakistan?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Struggle Today, War Tomorow

Well, the GWOT is back, not that it ever went away.
Last week, the Pentagon (Rumsfeld and Meyers) abandon the label "Global War on Terrorism" (GWOT) in favor of the "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism" (G-SAVE). This was quite a significant move, and it provoked a substantial discussion in the Bloggosphere (for example here, here) though not so much in the print media (though, again see the daily show for full coverage....).

This (or was, rather) a rather significant event. In changing the frame of US foreign policy since Sept 11, 2001, the Administration seemed to be making a significan concession--that the past policy had gone about as far as it could, and the nature of this war/struggle necessitated a new approach, one not all that unlike what Kerry was talking about back in '04. Moreover, the shift from War to Struggle would allow troops to come home from Iraq, but also undermine some of the other "wartime" presidential powers that the Administration had asserted.

Well, it seems no one told the President of this, and he said, No Way, we're still at War. So, the G-SAVE was short lived.

Once Again, a powerful reminder of the power of language in two ways.
First off, the war frame, as George Lakoff points out, allows the president to claim significant powers and the mantle of a Wartime President. Look no further than the announcement of John Bolton's Recess appointment to the UN--we're at war and the President needs his man at the UN. Bush has successfully used the language of War to legitimize much of his policy agenda.

Secondly, though, it is also an interesting lesson for the Democrats and anyone else who opposes the President's current policy agenda. General Myers said that he "objected to the use of the term 'war on terrorism' before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution." Ergo, you can justify a war in Iraq. If you call it a Global Struggle, public diplomacy, trans-national policing, and multilateral cooperation become much more important.

In a sense, Bush is now entangled in his own language of wartime.

If I were a Democratic strategist, savor the nod on the G-SAVE for all of 5 minutes and then get right back to work reinforcing the GWOT frame. Why? Perhaps it would be wise to study the lessons of Paul Hackett's narrow loss in a special House election in Ohio.
But then again, maybe not, because as we've learned, you can run a whole country on just such a margin....

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