Wednesday, February 05, 2003

NORTH KOREAN IS GOING NUCLEAR (AND MAY SELL THE STUFF) And yet, at the same time, the process of North-South engagement continues: The first road traffic between North and South, a bus carrying some 100 South Koreans, crossed the DMZ.

I get the impression that if left alone the two Koreas just might figure out how to get along without bombing each other back into the 19th century. Sadly, I also get the impression that at least some among the powers that be in Washington aren't willing to let this happen.

To be sure, the prospect of the DPRK selling a nuke or two to "nonstate actors" like Al-Queda is terrifying. But it seems to me that clearly establishing that selling nukes is a "red line" that the DPRK must not cross while at the same time moving to improve ties and provide other avenues by which the Kim Jong-il regime can make money might accomplish our laudable non-proliferation goals (meaning the spread of nuclear weapons beyond North Korea; I take the DPRK having nukes as a fait accompli) while at the same time avoiding a devastating war on the peninsula.

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