Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Veni, vidi, Verdi !

Your guesses please on the identity of the below interview subject from this brief exchange at the end of a splashy interview featured in this morning's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the nation's voice of big business and government.

NKS - "How should the DPRK nuclear problem be viewed?"

International Bearded Man of Mystery -"What America fears is that North Korea's Kim regime crumbles and the nuclear weapons pass on to international terrrorist organizations, the first of which would be Al-Qaeda. While a wish to conserve the current political structure serves as a deterrent upon the Kim regime, it will not serve as a deterrent upon the suicide bombers of Al-Qaeda. In this case the place where these weapons most likely will be used will probably not be Tokyo or Seoul but New York, Washington or Jerusalem. That is the reason why America puts so much emphasis on counter-proliferation."

[Translation credit: MTC ]

The reason America looks at the DPRK nuclear weapons program as a problem is that should the regime collapse Sunni Muslims, most of whom hale from Yemeni stock, might somehow purchase or spirit out a DPRK plutonium weapon, transport it casual-like across the world's largest landmass (or were you suggesting the Sinp'o-to-the-Gulf sea route?) in order to carry out a nuclear attack on the holiest sites of Christendom, Judeism and Islam.

Really? That is what "America" worries about?

For the last eight years the speaker was Japan's man in the White House and Washington - the One who could explain to Japan What The Americans (not any I know of course) Really Think.

Simultaneously and improbably (America is a nation of 300 million citizens, after all. One would think the two jobs could be split amongst two persons) he was the go-to guy for Washington and English-language press on What The Japanese Are Really Thinking.

Stunning, when you think about it...


To Iu Wake said...

I vote for putting them on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. The nukes will love the scenery.

Rubashov said...

I'm confused--are you saying that the interviewee is wrong because Americans don't worry about NK weapons grade material and/or weapons getting into AQ hands or because we shouldn't?

He's actually dead on accurte about the first--the US security policy community worries about the sales aspect much more than the nuclear launch aspect. Take this quote from the Center for American Progress (i.e. Obama's Foreign Policy thinktank) "Our greatest problem with North Korea is the fact that nuclear and missile technology is its cash crop. As far as we know, their sales thus far have been to nation-states. The danger is that they could begin dealing with groups like al Qaeda." There's lots more comments like that from other sources (on right or left) if you check. I don't know what that bit about Jerusalem is--Americans don't care about other country's cities. ;) And he's certainly right that we don't worry about the threat to Seoul or Tokyo.

Are you saying there is no "what Americans think?" If so, you picked the wrong battlefield to make your stand, because pretty much everyone who thinks seriously about NK proliferation agrees (except for missile defense lobbyists).

Are you saying we shouldn't worry? Let's grant that the likelihood of such an event is extremely remote--one in a million. Given the havoc just one nuke could wreak in NYC, security policymakers would have to be pretty stupid not to worry about it. That is what they get paid to do.

So what's your point here, aside from snark?

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that the US worries about weapons being stolen or sold from North Korea. But the quote -is- inane, or at least insensitive.

First of all, there's no reason to think that the DPRK couldn't clandestinely -sell- a nuclear device. In fact, economic pressure makes it more likely for this to happen. That being the case, what does it matter whether the DPRK collapses or not, from a non-prolferation standpoint?

Second, our bearded friend here explicitly states that the US has a vested interest in keeping the DPRK going as is. This isn't a big secret. But it's pretty crass. Given that the six-party talks were originally unification talks with the South...well, basically, he's telling the people in the ROK who wanted a unification policy (which included the administration, prior to Yi) to go "#$# themselves.

Most of the talking heads in the basically have some grasp of US defense policy (I mean think of the sums of cash at play, the leaning towards republican administrations and the DoD, etc etc), but their diplomacy is still based on obsequity to the US, arrogance towards the rest of Asia, and sugary rhetoric for the poor brown people of the world.

These people love the DPRK-its existence is free press for expensive toys and pays ideological dividends to boot. If it ever collapses, they'll be the first to come up with justifications for subhumane treatment of the resulting refugees.