Monday, December 19, 2011

Pardon My Skepticism

North Korea is pledging to stop enriching uranium, and the United States is pledging to supply the communist paradise with 240,000 tons of food over the next year.  One smart thing the U.S. is doing is not giving the North Koreans rice, which could be easily diverted to feed the military.

I see a few reasons why North Korea is making this deal

  1. They have no plans whatsoever to follow through on this pledge.  Maybe they'll shut down their enrichment program for a few months so they can get some food out of the Americans.  Maybe they've opened up new facilities we don't know about and won't even shut down at all.  
  2. They have enough enriched uranium to fulfill their weapons needs for a while, and are taking advantage of that by suckering the U.S. out of a quarter of a million tons of food.
  3. They have another source of enriched uranium, such as Pakistan.  No, that couldn't happen. There's no way that Pakistan would provide help to North Korea when it comes to nuclear weapons.  It's not like there's a large country between them that's friendly to both of them and could allow a railcar full of uranium to travel to Pyongyang without being on a plane or boat that could be intercepted or something.
  4. I don't know.  Maybe Kim Jong Il gets religion and starts being a smart statesman instead of a bugnuts crazy dictator.  Maybe in this season of peace he's truly starting down the road to nuclear disarmament and international cooperation.
Guess which one I don't think is likely.

The other three I'd say are a toss-up.  I'm not sure how easy it would be for them to create a new enrichment program without us finding out about it, but it could be done.  I think it's a good bet that the North Koreans have a big pile of weapons grade uranium buried deep and quiet, or that the Pakistanis are continuing their stellar non-proliferation work by keeping them supplied in U-235.

I see exactly one reason the U.S. is making this deal:
  1. We're a bunch of suckers and President Obama and his crew need something to point at during the campaign to say they have an achievement in getting North Korea to stop making nuclear weapons.  I shouldn't give the president too much crap for this, though.  The last three presidents have been just as moronic when dealing with North Korea.
Remember, they're halting enrichment, not dismantling anything.  Either when we piss them off or they have a need for more home-grown uranium goodness, they'll crank it up.  I'll give them style points if they use a little waste heat from the centrifuges to heat up some food with "A gift from the American people" printed on the box.

Update - Fox News is reporting that Kim Jong Il has died.  No details yet, but my guess is that right about now every swinging Richard in I Corps is putting on his battle rattle and doing a quick PMCS of his vehicle and weapons.  As for what this means, if true, for this deal is anyone's call.

1 comment:

Drang said...

I've stopped answering the phone.

Especially for St Louis area codes.

Technically, having retired 11+ years ago, I'm not even un-retire-able, let alone deployable, but I don't know what the current strength of Korean linguists is, and they might be desperate enough...

OTOH, the weeks after Kim Il Sung croaked were pretty boring, and I was stationed in the Ui Jong Bu area at the time.

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