* It has now been 13 days since April 13th, the day North Korea was supposed to have shut down the Yongbyon reactor, begun discussions on the full extent of its nuclear weapons and programs, invited in U.N. inspectors, and rejoined six-party talks (to include actually talking). North Korea has (surprise!) broken every one of those agreements. Victor Cha has since reportedly warned them that our patience is limited. So in Pyongyang they ask ….
* Or Else, What? There are no consequences attached to North Korea’s noncompliance except slight delays in the payoff schedule. Mr. Axis of Evil himself says there’s little we can do to pressure North Korea, since we don’t give them aid. Tell that to Stuart Levy; indeed, Treasury has exposed so much dirt in North Korea’s finances that it still can’t get its laundered crime money out of the collapsing Banco Delta.
* U.N. Security Council Resolution 1695, passed last July 15th, said the following:
2. Demands that the DPRK suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme, and in this context re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launching;
5. Underlines, in particular to the DPRK, the need to show restraint and refrain from any action that might aggravate tension, and to continue to work on the resolution of non-proliferation concerns through political and diplomatic efforts;
Now, here’s a look at some of the ballistic missiles North Korea put on display to add Freudian zip to its big April 25th military parade.
* Bonus for everyone whose name is not Alejandro Cao de Benos: girls marching in miniskirts, although I’m not seeing the beauty here that I tend to when the ensemble is chosen voluntarily. Here’s a thought: can I ever look forward to the day when girls in Pyongyang will wear sun dresses? Pyongyang doesn’t seem like a sun dress kind of place, does it?
* Speaking of North Korea and terrorism, the Chosun Ilbo picks up a story about the sole North Korean survivor of the Rangoon bombing plot that killed 21 people, including four South Korean officials, on October 9, 1983. The bombing was carried out on Kim Jong Il’s personal orders, something we presumably learn from Kang Min-Chul, who saved his own life by talking under Burmese interrogation. For that reason, Kang can’t go back to North Korea, yet South Korea — you guessed it — won’t take him either:
In a meeting with South Korean officials, Kang apologized for his actions and expressed hope to settle in the South. Former governments considered bringing Kang to Seoul, but the current government is reluctant, according to National Intelligence Service Director Kim Man-bok. In his parliamentary confirmation hearing on Nov. 20 last year, Kim said North Korea had argued that Seoul was behind the bombing and might be handed an opportunity to say, “I told you so” if Kang comes to the South. [Chosun Ilbo]
North Korea denies any role in the bombing, having called the accusation “preposterous and ridiculous.” Does the denial of known past terrorism bear on the sincerity of any promise to refrain from future terrorism?
* For those who can’t wait for mine, Claudia Rosett has published a fine review of Marcus Noland and Stephen Haggard’s “Famine in North Korea.” Spoiler alert: what she says about the book’s ending is gravely disappointing, since I’m through most of the pity, analytical part. I suspect I’ll end up sharing Ms. Rosett’s conclusion. I also like her title: “Let Them Eat Nothing.”
* Being at war sucks, and there probably ends the national consensus. You’ll get no argument from me on the major premise. Still, in light of the Democrats’ alternative, here is a list of other possibilities we’re starting to think about that suck even more: surrender to al-Qaeda, ethnic cleansing, genocide, a massive refugee crisis spreading conflict to neighboring states, a wider war in Afghanistan, a de facto terrorist-controlled state in Anbar, a nuclear Iran dominating the Middle East, shopping mall bombings and roadside bombs in America, and politicians like Harry Reid, who vote to surrender in the same wars they voted to get us into in the first place.
The political temptation to pander to our urge for peace and comfort at any price, even with willful blindness about the consequences, did not end with 9/11; it just seemed that way for a while. But it’s grown much more difficult to harmonize that pandering with truly patriotic statesmanship, which is why the Democratic majority can only support that policy by the thinnest of partisan margins, even when it’s laden with pork and stripped of consequence by a veto threat.
We cannot be safe at home when al-Qaeda has a safe haven anywhere on earth. We can fight them there or fight them here, and I wish more candidates — including at least one of the Democratic candidates who voted to get us into this war — were presenting us with that choice at a time when we need to face it.