The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

48° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “The waiting game, nuclearðð – style”

    Joyanna Jonescolumnist
    Joyanna Jones
    columnist

    North Korea has been talking with five other nations, including the U.S., to discuss their nuclear capabilities since 2003, but they will not accomplish anything new. Perhaps that is the point.

    These talks have been plagued by delays and petty bickering since the start, skirting around the larger issue of North Korea’s desire to become a world power.

    While these talks will not stray the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, from his military pursuits in the long run, they may be able to delay his use of his arsenal, perhaps even until he is out of power.

    In the latest stall tactic by North Korea, they are refusing to discuss an accord made last month saying they will shut down their main reactor in exchange for heavy oil, until the U.S. unfreezes $25 million that was held on suspected counterfeiting and money-laundering.

    Jong Il alternates between bartering his nuclear program for foreign aid and saying that if anyone crosses him, there will be “”catastrophic consequences.”” He stated last fall that any sanctions brought against him will be interpreted as an “”act of war.””

    His history of continuing his nuclear program in secret against the treaty he was a part of in the 1990s has completely eroded his credibility and trustworthiness in international agreements.

    To top it off, he is now going to get more aid from the U.S. to help the country he himself thrust into poverty. His insistence on building his military to the fifth largest in the world has crippled his people. Yes, they have guns, but no food or education.

    In his own mind, he believes that he needs weapons to defend himself from the United States and has said this publicly.

    But he wouldn’t need to defend himself if he did not keep provoking us as well as his neighboring countries.

    The nuclear program has been in focus because of his blatant nuclear tests last year and his inflammatory statements.

    However, his biological and chemical arsenals are already highly developed, and capable of causing mass deaths.

    No one is certain exactly how big it is, as North Korea isn’t exactly forthcoming with information, but according to testimonies from defectors, they are believed to have more than 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, including mustard gas, sarin and other nerve agents, as well as biological threats including anthrax, cholera, bubonic plague and smallpox.

    Kim Jong Il appears ready to use these threats in a war, as his troops are equipped with protective gear, and chemical weapons detection and decontamination systems.

    This arsenal should be equally troublesome to the global community, besides the potential nuclear threat. These talks are like putting a Band-Aid on a limb with gangrene. It does nothing. It covers up the problem, but nothing will happen until the limb is cut off or the infection kills the rest of the body.

    Hopefully, Kim Jong Il will not be blessed with Castro’s longevity, and a solution that benefits the impoverished people of North Korea can be reached.

    On the world stage, North Korea is not even close to having the power of an arm or a leg. They are more like a toe. But an infection in a toe can still spread and eventually sicken and kill the whole body.

    More and more, we are realizing how small the world is in light of nuclear and biological threats.

    These powers in the wrong hands could eventually destroy everyone and everything on our planet.

    Kim Jong Il qualifies as “”the wrong hands.”” He has the ability to start a major world war. Already tensions are high around the world. Nobody seems to like each other or agree with each other, and there are too many dangerous weapons in existence.

    It’s only going to take a spark to set off the powder keg of current international feeling. North Korea could potentially be this spark.

    Yet it seems the only option is to let these talks run their course, and hope that Kim Jong Il sees that it is unwise to continue nuclear tests full steam ahead. Things done in secret take more time than those done without fear of discovery.

    He is 65 years old. If a war can be postponed, perhaps his successor, likely his son, will be more reasonable and willing to do what is best for his country.

    This is a situation much like Cuba and Fidel Castro, but much more dangerous, and with much more at stake. Hopefully, Kim Jong Il will not be blessed with Castro’s longevity, and a solution that benefits the impoverished people of North Korea can be reached.

    The stall tactics that he is employing are not new. The six-nation talks are not going to change his military ambitions. But perhaps an all-out war can be delayed and even avoided until new world leaders are able to discuss things rationally.

    Joyanna Jones is a journalism senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

    More to Discover
    Activate Search