Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Dictatorships of North Korea and Cuba: A Reflection

There is a need for moral clarity when confronting totalitarians

The spectacle in North Korea was distasteful. When the President of the United States shakes hands with a mass murderer and engages in moral equivalence the cause of liberty suffers from the lack of clarity.

Detente is a false peace that morally compromises democracies.

Nevertheless, one must recall that the current Administration returned North Korea to the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 2017.

On January 6, 2016 North Korea announced that it had detonated a hydrogen bomb. This wasn't supposed to happen. North Korea had been cheating on a deal it had made over 20 years earlier and brazenly announced nearly a decade earlier on October 9, 2006 that it had conducted its first underground nuclear test.

How did the United States respond? In October of 2008, the Bush Administration took North Korea off the list of state sponsors of terrorism in the hopes that it would “salvage a fragile nuclear deal” by appeasing the totalitarian regime. George W. Bush was doubling down on the policy set by Bill Clinton. This approach continued to be a failure and on  May 25, 2009 North Korea conducted a second underground test with an explosion that was the equivalent to U.S. bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945.  North Korea had also tested a long-range missile in April of 2009.  In 2013, North Korea conducted a third nuclear test claiming to have miniaturized the bomb in order to place it on a long range missile with ability to reach the U.S. mainland.

On October 18, 1994 President Bill Clinton announced to great fanfare that his administration had achieved a long term objective for the United States in an agreement with North Korea: "an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula."

It is the same claim made by President Donald Trump in 2018 following his meeting with the North Korean tyrant. Only time will tell if President Trump's claims today will ring as hollow as President Clinton's claims in 1994.

Boneheaded political calculations are a bipartisan affair.

There is now a debate over Trump in North Korea and Obama in Cuba, but no one seems to be talking about the relationship between the Cuban dictatorship and the North Korean dictatorship.

The Cuban government was caught red handed on July 15, 2013 providing technology that could aid North Korea's efforts to develop a delivery vehicle to drop their nuclear weapons on the United States mainland.  This was confirmed by a March 6, 2014 report by a panel of experts for the United Nations Security Council that reported:
 6. In addition, various parts for three SA-2 and six SA-3 missiles were in the cargo, such as the nose cones housing proximity fuses, auto-pilots and transponders, transmitter antennas and some actuators (figure 4). 4 __________________ 4 The Panel notes that some of the SA-2 and SA-3 parts could also meet the criteria defined in the list of items, materials, equipment, goods and technology related to ballistic missile programmes (S/2012/947), whose export and import by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are prohibited. See in particular the Category II, Item 9 of S/2012/947 covering “instrumentation, navigation and direction finding”
Back in 2010, the late Fidel Castro reappeared in public warning of a possible nuclear conflict between the United States and Iran. Left out in the media coverage surrounding the story were the two times, once in 1962 and a second time in the early 1980s, when Fidel Castro lobbied the Soviet Union to launch a nuclear first strike on the United States. The Castro brothers arming their North Korean allies by smuggling tons of weapons in violation of international sanctions speaks volumes about both their agendas.

Meanwhile North Koreans suffer some of the worse human rights violations on Earth, and demand that it be a topic on the bilateral agenda between the United States and North Korea.

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