The Corner

Ashton Carter, Perry & North Korea

Newt moves Clintonites….yesterday on NRO he wrote:

The time to replace the State Department’s failed North Korea strategy of “talk forever — act never” has come. The report that Pyongyang has fueled a nuclear capable Taepodong-2 missile that could reach the U.S. west-coast mainland highlights the degree to which the State Department strategy of talk and bluff has failed.

For 13 years the United States has talked loudly about a North Korean nuclear weapons and ballistic-missile threat. For 13 years the North Korean dictatorship has lied and hunkered down and continued to build nuclear-weapons and ballistic missiles. 

The strategy of talking has failed.

We are now at the crossroads where we have to either embrace a strategy of preemption or revert to a strategy of defensive measure. President Bush’s pledge in his 2002 State of the Union “Axis of Evil” speech that “the United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons” led him and his administration to insist over and over that their doctrine was preemption.

Now we are faced with a direct threat of a missile launch. Will the State Department adhere to the Bush doctrine or will it go back to a defensive strategy?

The American public is being reassured that we have a ballistic-missile defense that will work. No serious person believes this. None of the tests have been robust enough or realistic enough to assure us that we could intercept the North Korean ICBM no matter where it was aimed.

In the immediate and present danger, the United States should not wait to attempt to shoot the missile down after it is launched. There is no proven reliable technology and no evidence that we could succeed. Instead, we should destroy the missile on its site before it is launched. Our ability to preempt the launch is nearly certain.

We can’t afford failure.

Imagine the North Korean dictator in a moment of insanity has placed a nuclear weapon atop of the Taepodong-2. Imagine he believes that taking out Seattle is the best way to impress us with how serious he is. Imagine that we allow this missile to be fired because we want to be in State Department language “prudent, cautious, reasonable, and multilateral.” Imagine what the “6/21 Commission to Investigate the Loss of Seattle” would report about 13 years of diplomatic failure and the failure of the United States to implement President Bush’s pledge.

America’s actions must be decisive. We are faced with a brutal, totalitarian dictatorship about which we know little. It is acting in defiance of all of its own international commitments. The time for talk is over. Either they dismantle the missile or we the United States should dismantle it.

From an American viewpoint of saving American lives and American cities certain preemption is much less risky than uncertain defense. That is a simple but painful fact. It is one Washington should act upon. 

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