Iraq attacked, world seeks nukes in response
In the light of the war on Iraq, which did not have nuclear weapons, second-tier nations have judged that North Korea was spared invasion because of its nuclear deterrent, and drawn their own strategic conclusions.Which second tier nations have made this judgment? Well, Plenketh doesn’t say specifically, but she does immediately go on to mention that “Iran, Egypt and South Korea have been caught cheating” on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to which they are all signatories.
Now, given that US troops have been stationed in South Korea for the last 50 years, it takes a certain kind of dishonesty or utter idiocy to claim that South Korean nuclear desires derive not from the threat coming from the North, but rather as protection from a US invasion. Specifically the kind of dishonesty and/or idiocy that finds its comrades in The Independent newsroom.
Iran’s nuclear program, of course, has been talked about for a decade at least, and its uranium enrichment plant at Natanz came to light in August 2002, 7 months before the invasion of Iraq, and 1 month before Bush even challenged the UN to take action over Iraq’s alleged WMD’s. Those Iranians sure are prescient.
And Egypt’s cheating? Well, although the discovery was announced in January, the cheating that was uncovered had taken place over the last 30 years. I guess Ms. Plenketh is under the mistaken impression that the Iraq War began back in the ‘70s.
Indeed, Plenketh’s ignorance of history is quite clear throughout the article. After the “Diplomatic Editor” rather undiplomatically (and, again, dishonestly) asserts that Bush is “openly hostile” to a “UN solutions” to the nuclear problem (what solutions, I wonder?), she claims that Bush’s approach, characterized as “bomb or talk”;
…contains the risk of opening the path to nuclear blackmail, which is how North Korea has coaxed the West into compensating the hermit state in return for concessions on its nuclear programme.The only problem here is that North Korea’s blackmail of the west took place on the watch of Bill Clinton, not George Bush, and, not incidentally, with much assistance from The Independent’s favourite US president, Jimmy Carter.
Plenketh’s inability to even understand the words she uses is also on display. She says that:
In a world no longer guided by a universally accepted [non-proliferation] regime, countries are weighing the nuclear option.But of course there never had been any such “universal acceptance”. She herself had earlier pointed out that the Non-Proliferation Treaty had already been undermined by Israel, Pakistan, and India, which had never signed it. And the cheating that has been going on for years is hardly an indication of "acceptance".
She also claims that Iran is “hemmed in” by Israel and Pakistan, driving Iran's work on nukes. It’s an odd point of view that notes a state which is entirely surrounded by hostile countries and whose very existence has been threatened no less than 3 times in its brief history, and goes on to see it as “hemming in” one of those hostiles. Besides which, wasn’t Plenketh just arguing that it was the recent Iraq war, not Israeli’s long suspected possession of nukes, that drove Iran to seek the same weapons? Ah well. Israel, the US…whatever. The Great Satan in any event, right?
There is, however, one upside to Plenkoff''s tripe. She moves away from one of the standard canards of the left regarding America’s (and Britain’s) liberation of Iraq, at least implicitly. She asserts without qualification that “North Korea's boasting of a nuclear arsenal saved it from invasion.” Based on most of the past coverage of Iraq in the Indy, I would have thought it was North Korea’s lack of oil reserves that saved it from being plundered by the US.