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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

16 July 2006

Tale of two launches

A UN resolution on North Korea is expected to push the country back to six country talks; “I think ultimately North Korea will have no choice but to return to the talks and pursue denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The resolution calls on North Korea to stop its ballistic missile program and on member states to prevent exports and imports that could assist Pyongyang in pursuing its WMD program.

Last week, the Financial Times ran this cover in its US edition: on the far right of the page it had news on North Korea launching a missile; and in the middle there was a photo from the launch of the Discovery. My point is not moral relativism—I do not think the two actions equivalent. But I am wondering why is it that when a country such as America (or China) launches a missile in space, there is considerable pride in the act, but when North Korea launches its missiles, we ignore pride as motivator for its actions.

North Korea is a wretched place, there is no doubt; and Kim Jong-Il is desperate for attention that his country’s accomplishments do not deserve. Not giving in to blackmail is a fine and principled position for the world’s countries to take; but without offering more of an alternative world for Pyongyang, I hardly see what would make North Korea turn. Threaten to isolate the world’s most reclusive state; or threaten to attack a country that feels the Korean War is still being waged and whose paranoia is unmatched in today’s world?

Forgive my skepticism.


Blogger Alex Stratis said...

Just a quick comment:

In develloping or acquiring nuclear weapons, pride has always been an important factor, yet it has been left largely unexplored, both as a motive, as you imply and also as an end in itself.

There is inherent pride - albeit overshadowed by the defensive advantages that nukes offer - in nuclear weapons. If you think about it, it is like joining a kind of group like the G8, the N9.

Sagan and Waltz in their book "The Spread of nuclear Weapons:A debate" go into those issues to some extent;their bibliography can prove equally helpful should you wish to explore further.

12:41 PM  

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