:: North Korea presents unique situations for U.S. policy
The recent concessions by North Korea to the United States and other world powers over nuclear armament inspires questions about United States foreign policy tactics.
Triggered to respond because the potential threat a nuclear North Korea poses, the United States entered into six-party talks with the nation on Feb. 13. But the question remains: is the United States applying a double standard when dealing with the nuclear weapons issue?
When President George W. Bush entered the United States into war against Iraq and its dictatorial regime led by Saddam Hussein, the reason for action was simple: weapons of mass destruction were possessed by Iraq.
Even though investigation confirmed no such weapons existed, the reason was clear enough at the time.
The double standard arises when the parallel reason for action, North Korea’s guaranteed nuclear activity is met with increased negotiation and no military action.
Why does North Korea get special treatment, and what does it mean for the United States as the world’s only superpower?
The answer evades most Americans. World nations cannot expect a standard course of action from the United States, and therefore there is no evident response guaranteed to any nation that pokes and prods at America.
The United States needs to define its policies on the issue of nuclear armament and governmental bodies. If the reason America went to war with Iraq was to disarm the nation and install a democratic body, then the same agenda should apply to North Korea. Accordingly, if negotiation and diplomacy is the preferred route, then it should be used in all cases.
As the globe’s superpower, the United States must be a leader that represents the free world. To impose one standard on a nation and another standard on others is trivial and a blatant sign of weakness.
Some people would argue that the fact that the United States even intervenes on behalf of nuclear buildup creates a double standard. Why should the United States, China, Russia and a few other nations be the only countries privy to nuclear power?
While this is certainly a double standard, it comes backed with better reasoning. At least on the American side, a democratic nation can be better trusted to wield nuclear power with care.
Any nuclear attack delivered by the United States would be suspect to the public and if used wrongly, would result in new leadership come the next election.
A dictator with supreme rule runs North Korea. For one man to control a nuclear program with no possible public backlash could be potentially devastating. Furthermore, the United States built up its weaponry long ago when it was considered necessary to end World War II.
To totally disarm now could put the nation in danger of losing diplomatic force.
The preventative measures the United States imposed on North Korea appear to be worthwhile, so the action following the buildup of a nuclear program in any nation should be standardized to match this effort.
North Korea’s concessions serve as reminders of the diplomatic power the United States holds, and America is likely to avoid another war if negotiation prevails over assumption and suspicion.
When the next nuclear crisis arises, the United States should be ready to respond as it did with North Korea, or else it will cement in stone its only standard: the double standard.
The United States must act with resolve and sobriety, to ensure the safety of not just our nation, but the world.
If the United States is to continue to act as an international peacekeeper and negotiator, as it is repeatedly called upon to by the international community, it must make its policy reflect this fact.
Columnist: Brett Scuiletti - 03/08/07