North Korean Nuclear Problem: A History

 

Some may think that the North Korean Nuclear incident is a recent problem, but this international issue is as old as the nuclear devices themselves. Although recent progress has pointed towards a hopeful deconstruction of North Korea’s nuclear arms, past behavior has made this an unlikely outcome. There have even been reports of nuclear expansion despite goals of denuclearization. How it has come to this point, the accomplishments overlooked, and where the future goes lies in the hands of politician’s negotiation skills.

Many people believe that North Korea didn’t get a-hold of Nuclear technology until the deal with Bill Clinton in 1994. However, the Hermit Kingdom actually started its program along with every other country in the early 1950s with the creation of the Atomic Energy Research Institute  (James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies , 2018). Scientists were sent from North Korea to the USSR to collect research on the topic. The nuclear deal propositioned by Bill Clinton in 1994 was not a gift of free technology that North Korea didn’t already have, but a response to North Korea’s pre-existing nuclear program (Blakemore, 2018).

Under the guise of “Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy” the USSR signed an agreement with North Korea to assist them in building research complexes in 1959 (James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies , 2018). Later on, in the 1960s, Russia also provided them with a small nuclear reactor to help train their own personnel with (James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies , 2018). Knowing that Russia played a large part in North Korea’s nuclear program creation

In 1968 the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was open for signatures. This treaty was a mutual world-wide agreement to disarm nuclear weapons. More countries signed the NPT than any other arms agreement (UNITED NATIONS, 2011). The treaty stressed that countries that weren’t already nuclear powers, wouldn’t seek to create a nuclear arsenal (UNITED NATIONS, 1968, p. Article II). It made note the importance of nuclear powers to not assist non-nuclear nation states in the development in nuclear weapons (UNITED NATIONS, 1968, p. Article III). North Korea did not sign this for another seventeen years as they dove into nuclear research with the assistance of the USSR.

Since it was not against the contract to explore nuclear energy in general and the only crime was specifically the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, North Korea eventually signed the treaty in 1985 (Council on Foreign Relations, 2018). This was the source of nearly every American President’s headache in office after that. Signing the document, North Korea had agreed to disarm any nuclear weapons it may have created, destroy any research facilities used to develop them, and actively work toward becoming nuclear free.

Keep in mind that the Korean peninsula had ally arms left over from the Korean war. The United States had a compliment of 100 nuclear weapons in the South and the Russians had some to the North. On September 27, 1991, allied forces removed their devices in good faith that the two countries would follow suite (Sanders-Zakre, 2018). The two Koreas made an agreement and signed off to completely denuclearize the peninsula jointly (Center for Nonproliferation Studies , 2018). South Korea, extended an olive branch and gave up its weapons, North Korea insisted it did as well. It was revealed on January 10, 2003 when North Korea pulled out of the NTP, that it had actually retained nuclear weapons for the entirety of the time (Kirgis, 2003). North Korea had been so convincingly cooperative, that it was actually surprising that there were still weapons on the peninsula.

North Korea threatened to leave the NTP once before, using it as leverage to obtain what they wanted. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty. In 1993 threats were made to leave unless specific conditions were met. In response, a six-party talk was held which included North Korea, South Korea, Russia, China, Japan and the United States (Cooper, 2007). North Korea came to the table with four conditions. One, the United States would build two light-water nuclear reactors by 2003 to compensate for energy set-backs (Davenport, 2018). Until the two plants were built, the United States would ship 500,000 tons of heavy fuel to North Korea per year (Davenport, 2018). The United States would lift sanctions, remove them from the list of state sponsors of terror, and normalize political relationships (Davenport, 2018). These weren’t unreasonable requests, however, the United States failed to live up to these expectations. Not only did the United States fail to build the two nuclear reactors, but they were also late with shipments of fuel for several consecutive years (Ryan, 2017). Even though being late with fuel shipments was not uncommon, it bred distrust with the North Koreans.

In 2002, George W. Bush referred to North Korea in a speech, placing them on an “axis of evil” next to Iran and Iraq (Council on Foreign Relations, 2018). Directly after making this speech fuel shipments were shut down under the accusations of enriching Uranium (Boghani, 2018). United states intelligence allegedly found evidence of HEU technology that was came from Pakistan (James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies , 2018). However, I don’t have much faith in the Bush administration’s intelligence after its claims of nuclear weapons in Iraq. If it wasn’t bad enough for the President of the United States insulting the country they were attempting to disarm, after not living up to their half of an agreement; the United States applied sanctions to an already frustrated country (Council on Foreign Relations, 2018). The North Koreans didn’t get their request to be taken off the terrorist watchlist until 2008 (Ryan, 2017). They got taken off, even after they made the claim that they successfully tested a nuclear weapon in 2006 (Hamblin, 2017).

North Korea’s request to be taken off the terrorist watch list fell upon deaf ears for twelve years. When George W. Bush did act it seemed more like an act of desperation to save his own legacy than good will. It took Bush four years into his Presidency even after the North had been qualified to be taken off. At the last second, North Korea was taken off the terrorist watch list on October 11, 2008 (Ryan, 2017). To give some objective insight, Obama became president elect on November 4, 2008, just twenty-four days after the call was made (A&E Television Networks, LLC, 2018). Less than a full month away from new leadership and Bush made a large political choice that could have altered the incoming administration’s dialogue. On his way out the door, George W. Bush wrote a personal letter to then leader Kim Jong IL, requesting that he keep ‘his end of the bargain’ to denuclearize (Cooper, 2007). He also wrote the other four leaders who were in the six-member talks to reassure them on the United States’ commitment to staying at the negotiating table (Cooper, 2007).

In April of 2009, North Korea launched what many critics called a test of a long-range ballistic missile and pointed out that the Six-party talks were “useless” (Moore, 2009). The Obama administration reacted hastily. Three North Korean companies were blacklisted by the United Nations under expanded sanctions (The Associated Press, 2009), a decision the Obama administration claimed was a “clear and united message” that would send a message of real consequences (Moore, 2009). It had been thirteen years since their initial agreements to denuclearize in 1994. The results from a North Korean point of view, had been nothing but increased sanctions, unkept promises, and the United States tightening their grip on their only lifeline.

The world was then confronted with North Korea’s second nuclear test on May 25, 2009 (Jie-ae, Florcruz, Chance , & Neill , 2009). Whether this was previously planned or out of reaction to increased sanctions is debatable. The blast was large enough to have even its allies concerned, China was not defending North Korea as it had a month previously. North Korea had allegedly attempted place a satellite in space, but failed. The Obama administration considered this a violation of U.N. resolutions and sanctions were tightened (Boghani, 2018). Just a few days later, North Korea was kicking the IAEA inspectors out of the country (Boghani, 2018).

Another test was conducted in May of 2009, with claims that all the flaws had been ironed out. Sanctions were automatically tightened in reaction to the test (Boghani, 2018). Then, just a year later in November of 2010, it was revealed that even under tight sanctions the regime had managed to construct a Uranium enrichment plant (Council on Foreign Relations, 2018). Not only had they built the plant swiftly, but they managed to keep it a secret until publicly revealed. If that’s not bad enough, in the same year South Korea stops negotiations with North Korea over the singing of a Navy vessel (The BBC, 2010).

In December of 2011, it was publicly announced that the ‘Great Leader’ Kim Jong IL had passed away (Boghani, 2018). Walking next to the former leader’s son, Kim Jong Un and one of his closest advisors and brother-in-law, Jang Song-thaek. The world had hope that maybe this individual, no more than twenty-five years old, was the key to major reform in the region (World Affairs Institute, 2012). Their answer came when he publicly announced to world leaders, including to the “puppet group in South Korea”, to not expect any change from the North (AFP, 2011). Some still wondered if the young man wasn’t going to be a puppet for bureaucratic officials in the background. His uncle, Jang Song-Thaek had been pulling the strings ever since his father started deteriorating. The Chinese trusted the man, which was likely his biggest downfall. In December 12, 2013, Jang Song-Thaek was executed, with accusations of conspiring against the ‘Republic’ (Morse, 2014). There were even rumors that this young man, who looked harmless, fed his own uncle to actual dogs that he starved for three days (Morse, 2014). The purge of possible instability left the dictator stronger, he would be pushing forward with no one questioning him and a full army at his back. The world had a new leader to deal with, unpredictable, inexperienced, who seemed more unstable than his predecessor’s, and had his hands on a nuclear arsenal.

On February 6, 2015, a little over a year after the strategically planned execution of Song-thaek was carried out, Obama declared his national security strategy for strategic patience (Korte, 2015). The thought behind the alleged strategy was that the United States would allow activities in other countries to resolve as they would have had they not been there at all and ultimately, allow the country’s own actions be their downfall. The thought that, perhaps, maybe China would realize that it was not our interference that made North Korea a headache to work with and would eventually cut them off. That inaction was sometimes better than acting. A philosophy that works better on an individual level, rather than a national level. With this, the United States increased its defenses and practically left North Korea to themselves.

The tides turned on North Korea when they had been dealt a new hand in 2016. An unpredictable person had been elected into the Presidency, it wasn’t just a new set of cards being dealt, it was an entirely new game being played. President Trump was an experienced, unpredictable, negotiator that had something in his personality that said, “I don’t care about the consequences of my words and I don’t care if you judge me for them,”. There was a positive to his tweeting, it made him extremely unpredictable to the North Koreans. Every previous president had a known pattern, was calm and conservative compared to the way Donald J. Trump harnessed his social media platform. Calling his political opponents names, making plans, then cancelling those plans, and spouting his opinion for everyone to see. Presidents of the past would excessively plan before meeting initiating conversation with North Korea, could this be the approach to take the bull by the horns?

Many in the media saw the language as fanning the flames of an already heated topic. Trump used colorful language, in August of 2017 he stated any threats made to the United States would be met with “fire and fury” (Paolo, 2017). A few hours Trump made this threat, North Korea made threatened to target the U.S. Territory of Guam (Paolo, 2017). Many saw Trump as dumping gasoline on a forest fire by using such language, but expert and writer on North Korea, Michael Malice, says Trump was speaking to North Korea “on their level” (Malice, 2017). A month later, the country launched another rocket that successfully flew over the Japanese Islands (Griffiths, Cohen, & Berlinger, 2017). This earned him the nickname “Rocket Man” by Trump that accompanied the statement that he may be forced to “totally destroy” North Korea (Vitali, 2017). This was followed with a new launch at the highest ballistic missile height North Korea had ever reached (BBC, 2017), one of the key components necessary to hit the United States.

A meeting was finally established between the two, and would be hosted by China. There were those who believed that if Trump met with the young dictator that it would be nothing more than free political propaganda for him, with zero results for the United States. Trump reassured everyone watching that he was more than willing to walk away if things weren’t going his way, which again Michael Malice acknowledged as a smart move since North Korea used this tactic all the time at negotiations (Malice, 2017). Publicly announcing the willingness to leave would keep North Korea on their toes instead of the other way around.

On June 12, 2018, Donald Trump met with Kim Jong-Un even against the wishes of some people in the country (BBC, 2018). A movie clip was shown to Kim Jong-Un that showed him two outcomes, one with prosperity through cooperation and the other through war and annihilation should they not (Friedman, 2018). Trump’s political opponents criticized that he wasn’t more confrontational, instead the President seemed to be respectful and complimenting the Chairman. However, this detail was part of the plan, this is a common sales-pitch tactic known as love bombing the target (M.D., 2017). Before meeting him, he made the chairman uneasy by thinking he may walk away. After Trump meets him, he psychologically narrows the target’s options down to two through visual stimulation. He then showers a neglected confidence with affection to draw him closer to the more attractive option. Love bombing is a manipulation tactic that showers someone with compliments or general affection so they are more open to trusting you (M.D., 2017). Of course, this isn’t the same type of love-bombing as the manipulative romantic relationship type, it’s more of a sales-pitch lure. This is the only reason Trump was hailing Kim Jong Un at the Trump-Kim Summit.

One part of the North Korean Nuclear problem that many don’t understand is the demand of denuclearization itself is a large request when the country considers it to be its only bargaining chip. Having the expectation of full denuclearization up front is a naïve approach. When looking at the scenario in full context, the United States has been just as neglectful at the negotiating table as they accuse North Korea of being. Our media outlets only exacerbate the situation by making us out to always look like the ‘good guys’. A 2009 Washington Post article read, “The 2006 explosion pushed the Bush administration to negotiate directly with North Korea, including removing it from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, to persuade it to give up its nuclear weapons.” (Harden, 2009). However, when looking at the entirety of the issue, being taken off the watch list was a promise made by the United States in its original talks in 1994. This means that the Washington Post neglected to report the full context of the issue, made North Korea completely at fault, and made the United States out to be a hero. Even though North Korea undoubtedly took up producing nuclear weapons, it was due to America’s insufficiency that cost us the opportunity to denuclearize the peninsula.

When comparing Trump’s current approach to others, North Korea has been making genuine strides towards denuclearization. Visitors to the country reported that anti-American propaganda has been replaced with more positive images (Illmer, 2018). Even their media has lightened up on its coverage, the tone in the paper has changed from ‘negative’ to ‘neutral’ (Illmer, 2018). A neutral tone is a ‘miracle’ in the eyes of some experts, “In five years working in North Korea, I’ve never seen them completely disappear before.” (Illmer, 2018). Kim Jong Un made history when he became the first North Korean dictator to cross the demilitarized zone and enter Seoul, South Korea (Coonan, 2018). On July 27, 2018 the United States received the remains of alleged soldiers from the Korean war. When the remains were analyzed they were confirmed that they were likely to be Americans (CBS Interactive Inc., 2018) (Gamel, 2018). Scientists have already successfully identified two of the remains and matched them through DNA testing with family members (Copp, 2018). The very fact that they are American human remains is significant itself. North Korea has released alleged remains in the past and they have turned out to be completely faulty. They were nothing more than a box filled with random animal bones. The North and the South have demined a large section of the demilitarized zone (CBS/AP, 2018).

The more likely answer is that these are all moves to make us think that they are genuine. Kim Jong Un will do anything to keep his hands on power. Many North Korean Defectors have warned Donald Trump that Kim Jong-Un is lying (CBC Radio, 2018). However, since Trump has yet to lighten up on the regime, it is likely that these acts of fake integrity are really a sign of desperation.

North Korea has continued with their nuclear weapons, as we all knew they would (DePetris, 2018). Sanctions are still tight on North Korea and they have expressed their unwillingness to cooperate if sanctions stay in place (Denyer, 2018). They have shown full capability of producing nuclear weapons with sanctions on them (Malice, 2017), and have shown a history of being uncooperative if sanctions are in place. Two choices lie ahead, take the risk of taking the sanctions completely off or starve the regime down till it cracks. Either way, Kim Jong Un has backed himself into a corner, his people are starving, the younger generation is not loyal to him, and people are becoming more informed. The real questions are, will the regime be forced to cooperate and will they survive should they refuse?

 

 

References

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Mainstream Media SILENT About Conservative Targeted Political Terrorism

In recent events Democrats have been in an uproar over the bombs that were sent to Donald Trumps critics. A man has already been arrested in connection to the act, it has also been acknowledged as an act of political terrorism, it has been acknowledged that he was a huge fan of Donald Trump. What the mainstream media is unlikely to say is that he was arrested for another bomb threat in 2002. The man obviously has a reoccurring pattern of behavior. It has been denounced as an act of political terrorism even by Donald trump

What is not a mystery was Daniel Frisiello’s intent. Never heard of him? That’s not surprising considering he was barely covered by any mainstream media. He JUST pleaded guilty to sending a white powder to Donald Trump’s sons October 17, 2018. Even though the substance was not lethal, this was also an act of political terrorism. However it wasn’t covered as an act of political terrorism, it was simply covered as “sending a white powder” to Donald Trump’s sons.

Why this was political terrorism:

  • The targets were tragically chosen
  • The perpetrator used fear and intimidation as a tool to try to obtain a political goal

These two characteristics qualify Cesar Altieri Sayoc as a political terrorist as well even if the bombs were completely fake. The only difference is Cesar is being acknowledged for what he is, Daniel Frisiello is being ignored!

When you google his name you find next to nothing when it comes to mainstream sources. This event was taken extremely lightly, it received next to no attention. Could you imagine the attention the media would have given to Obama’s family had someone sent a powdered letter to one of his daughters, it had reached her, and she inhaled some of the particles? Regardless of the content being fatal or not, the outrage would have been continuous and it would be forever reached for in future discussions to come as a counter argument.

If we are to unify the country, as Democrats spout we should, then there is a responsibility on their parts to condemn ALL political terrorists equally regardless of who is being targeted! There is also a responsibility to acknowledge these people as individuals and not apply their personalities to the general population. This is what Donald Trump means when he says the mainstream media needs to get its act together.

 

 

George Washington was a Slaveholder, Against Slavery

I’m currently making a case to debate a pastor to keeping a Chicago statue where it is. I went to my local library and started doing research. Pouring through George Washington’s own writings I was able to reconstruct something that the people trying to take the statue down are ignorant to: George Washington was in the closet about his views when it comes to slavery.

In the book George Washington, Selected Writings page 403 states:

I direct that all of them who are forty years old & upwards, shall receive their  freedom; all under that age and above sixteen, shall serve seven years and no longer; and all under sixteen years, shall serve until they are twenty five years of age, and then be free.

George Washington

Now this seems like a selfish move, why wouldn’t he just free them all at the same time? However, place it next to a caption from the book George Washington The Writer A Treasury of Letters, Diaries, and Public Documents 

In his will, he insisted that his younger slaves be taught to read and write. At the time of his death, Washington’s library was filled with nine hundred volumes, many on practical subjects.

George Washington The Writer- Carolyn P. Yoder  pg 12

All who were older would have already learned how to read and write, so they were freed and were free to go about their business. Forty was considered old for that time, so they were essentially retiring. Washington cared for his slaves, which is why he made this policy. Slaves were protected because they were considered property, meaning you had to feed them and keep them healthy. If they were freed they would have to get jobs and make lives for themselves.  Older slaves would have had to support their children and the children would likely  not get free educations. The slaves would have perished if he had released them all at once.

Slaves at Mount Vernon were treated fairly well and felt free to complain when they weren’t. Washington was one of the few planters who provided for the freeing of his own slaves after his death.

George Washington The Writer-Carolyn P. Yoder, pg 65

The reality is the only way to save the slaves was to be a slave owner, buy slaves, keep them safe from the bad ones, educated them, and free them. However, even after freedom there was still real danger that a slave could be put back into chains. Thus, being a slave to a good owner meant you were safe from the bad owners.

But George Washington signed the horrible 1793 Fugitive Slave Act which made the kidnappings possible in the first place. Yet, many in the south complained it wasn’t forceful enough which led to a reform. Even though Washington signed the bill into law doesn’t mean he supported its content. The Bill was passed by Congress, and since George Washington didn’t want more outrage over him vetoing it, he signed it into law. He was more worried about the stability of the young nation and figured moral conflict over such an emotional issue would break the nation in two. Especially if the move were made by its representative. The United States were still recovering from the Revolutionary war from England and they did not need a civil war. George Washington inclined to remain neutral in his professional position for the sake of the newborn nation, while supporting the freedom of all men in his private life.

Although he seemed to be privately opposed to slavery, Washington did nothing to end it in his public roles as a burgessman, member of the Continental Congress, or president. He never publicly spoke out against the institution, largely because of the destructive effect such a controversy would have on the fragile young republic.

George Washington- The Writer: A Treasury of Letters, Diaries, and Public Documents pg65

A letter from Robert Morris, friends with George Washington, before Washington’s feelings were public reveals Morris’ views. If Washington’s views were not yet public, we can only conclude that they shared a mutual distaste for slavery and that any letters written back to Morris were destroyed on purpose because of Washington’s position.

I hope it will not be conceived from these observations, that it is my wish to hold the unhappy people who are the subject of this letter, in slavery. I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, l to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it-

Robert Morris

George Washington The Writer- A Treasury of Letters, Diaries, and Public Documents pg 66

However, more solid proof that George Washington was in fact against slavery comes in a letter written by himself to Lawrence Lewis.

I wish from my Soul that Legislature of this State could see the policy of a gradual abolition of Slavery;

George Washington

George Washington Selected Writings- Pg 383 To Lawrence Lewis

It wouldn’t be until July 9, 1799 when Washington’s Last Will And Testament publicly revealed his opinion on slavery. He felt his opinion was so important that he published, printed, and distributed it throughout the country! For an official of his stature to make such a move on a controversial subject is like Donald Trump being open about illegal immigration and saying let’s put a wall up in 2017. This would have cost him money to publish because it would have been done by simple printing press, and money to distribute because it would have all been done on horseback. With the subject being taboo, it was unnatural for someone of his status to even speak on behalf of slaves.

If Washington hadn’t been one of the people to make one of these moves openly against slavery, others may not have had the courage to follow in his footsteps.