Skip to comments.Democrats: Bush Ignoring N. Korea Threat (remember this when Bush goes after N. Korea)
Posted on 02/06/2003 2:47:42 PM PST by finnman69
By KEN GUGGENHEIM, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Democrats said Thursday that President Bush (news - web sites), in a push for war against Iraq, is ignoring a potentially greater danger in North Korea (news - web sites)'s rapidly advancing nuclear program.
The White House, however, said it is has "robust plans for any contingencies" involving North Korea. Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) repeated that the United States has no plans to attack North Korea, but that Bush "has retained all his options."
Concern about the nuclear program has grown after North Korea announced Wednesday it was putting the operation of its nuclear facilities on a "normal footing." That could mean it is about to produce nuclear weapons.
Bush administration officials have said North Korea's program does not constitute a crisis, and Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "I still feel it is possible to find a diplomatic solution."
Democrats, though, said Bush was not taking the threat seriously enough. In contrast with their praise of Powell's presentation Wednesday on Iraq to the United Nations (news - web sites), they pounced on what they saw as weakness and inconsistency in the administration's North Korea policy.
"Mr. President Bush, please, please, if you don't want to enunciate it, in your mind Mr. President, treat this as a crisis because it is, if not contained now," Sen. Joseph Biden (news, bio, voting record) of Delaware, the top Democrat on the committee, said in the Senate.
Added Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota: "The president should stop downplaying this threat, start paying more attention to it and immediately engage the North Koreans in direct talks."
At the committee hearing, Sen. John Kerry (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., accused the administration of having a "fuzzy policy." Kerry, a declared presidential candidate, contended the administration had taken all options off the table, including the use of force and economic penalties.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., accused the administration of a policy of "designed neglect" toward North Korea and on other diplomatic fronts.
Powell said the administration, with its campaign against terrorism as well as stronger relations with Russia and China, had a foreign policy "geared to the problems we have in the 21st century."
Powell said in separate meetings Chinese and Russian foreign ministers in New York, he spent more time discussing North Korea than Iraq.
"We are deeply engaged in these issues. We are in touch with the North Koreans through a variety of channels," he said.
The two countries continue to exchange harsh words. On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld called North Korea a "terrorist regime." North Korea warned that any U.S. attack on nuclear facilities would "spark off a total war."
Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer (news - web sites) expressed concern over that threat and said, "This kind of talk only hurts North Korea."
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said this week that the Pentagon (news - web sites) may bolster U.S. forces in the Pacific in case North Korea tries to take advantage of Bush's focus on Iraq.
The administration has few promising policy options in North Korea.
North Korea has one of the world's largest armies and is believed to have one or two nuclear bombs. The United States has been reluctant to start direct talks with North Korea, saying it does not want to submit to blackmail.
Powell said Bush wants to help North Koreans, "who are starving, who are in economic distress, but we have to find a way to do it that does not suggest to the North Koreans that we are doing it because they have this tool, this weapon, that they use nuclearization of the (Korean) Peninsula as a way to get us to do it because we are threatened by them."
Yes. They are. You have to wonder why. What is the link?
A few judiciously placed JDAMs would make North Korea have the world's largest mob of deserters.
We're afraid that they'll inflict unspeakable damage on the South - nothing else concerns us.
Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton
That's the game. Whatever is getting attention it should be something else. Only problem with these centers of attention is that we are playing for keeps. It's not like shifting targets like the wars on drugs, poverty, and dirty water. These targets can actually be hit.
Ohhh its worse than that. The implied reason is that we are wimps picking on countries we know we can beat. It's a slimey debate tactic of advocating what you really do not want to distract from the argument you care about and are losing.
They are so unwilling to adapt to the changing security, political and cultural environment that their stubborness will facilitate their own demise.
Definitely worth bookmarking this thread; it will need to be resurrected in the not too distant future, when we go after N. Korea and, I predict, immediately thereafter, Daschle, Biden, Kennedy, and their ilk will condemn and attack the President for doing EXACTLY what they want: IMMEDIATELY ENGAGE THE NORTH KOREANS.
The swine just want to see what sticks - and hopefully take a point or two out of Bush's approval ratings. They always play their cynical political game.
Kim Il Jong will regret the dims painting themselves in a corner like this.
This does seem strange doesn't it? Usually the RATS are on the side of every pinko commie in the world.
Korea is different. But, if it does play out as a future conflict, I know Bush will have to fight two fronts, as usual: The enemy, and the enemy within...