Given our extraordinary interest in non-proliferation, we must resolve the questions surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. The President has made it definitive–we will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I repeat here today: our policy is not containment. It is prevention and the clock is ticking on our efforts to secure responsible compliance. This Administration, working with Congress and an unprecedented international coalition, has put into place crippling sanctions on Iran. President Obama has stated again and again, he prefers a diplomatic resolution to this challenge, and I will work to give diplomacy every effort to succeed. But no one should mistake our resolve to reduce the nuclear threat.
Your Editor doubts that the Iranian leadership saw this as a notable warning. If what Senator Kerry described as “crippling sanctions” have not induced Iran to abandon their weapons program, I am as yet unable to guess just what words would persuade them to change. Perhaps stern words by the man who threw someone else’s medals into the river, in protest of the Vietnam War, might not carry all that much weight with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
However, while most of the concern about nuclear proliferation deals with Iran, the Persians aren’t the only problem. From THE WALL STREET JOURNAL:
By Evan Ramstad | Updated January 24, 2013, 12:35 p.m. ET
SEOUL—North Korea made its most explicit statement yet that it plans to detonate another nuclear device—its third—in the near future, following the same pattern of increasingly aggressive rhetoric seen before the previous explosions in 2006 and 2009.
“We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets which will be launched by the DPRK one after another and a nuclear test of higher level which will be carried out by it in the upcoming all-out action,” said a statement from the National Defense Commission, a body of generals considered the most powerful part of North Korea’s authoritarian regime.
The commission said the “all-out action” represents “a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century, will target against the U.S., the sworn enemy of the Korean people.”
Diplomats in Russia, China and South Korea issued statements urging North Korea to not test another nuclear explosive.
More at the link. White House spokesmouth Jay Carney said that the test was “needlessly provocative.”
Your Editor, who once studied at the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, has serious doubts as to the effectiveness of diplomatic language. What he would actually like to hear the Secretary-Designate say to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at this point is:
Hey, if you want to blow up your scarce resources while your people are living on grass and acorns, go right ahead! You pipsqueaks aren’t any threat to us, and if it gives your fearless leader a testosterone surge, heck, go for it! But it doesn’t turn boys into men, and all it does is to insure that Kim Jong-un is the only fat kid in North Korea.
And maybe the man with the best hair in the Senate could suggest that President Kim might want to spend a little less money on nukes, and get himself a better barber.
Serious diplomatic language and treating the North Korean government with respect has accomplished virtually nothing for the last sixty years. That the Communists have been able to get a rise out of the United States by rattling its sabres and putting forth its silly propaganda has been to feed them the only thing they really value: respect. If Senator Kerry wants to have any real impact on foreign policy during the thankfully last term of the Obama Administration, one of the best things he can do is to change our tone concerning North Korea, and stop treating children like adults. Don’t give them food, don’t give them any kind of assistance, and most certainly don’t show them any respect.