Tuesday, October 10, 2006

David Frum is MAD

Not that anyone should be particularly surprised at my assessment of Frum's mental capacity, but his opinion piece in today's NYT certainly confirms it.

He makes four main suggestions about what BushCo. should do in response to the - most likely failed - North Korean nuclear test. All of which are foolish on their face:

1. Step up the development and deployment of existing missile defense systems.
This is just what our overstretched military budget needs. We are "eating the seedcorn" as it is, blowing through a couple of billion dollars per week in Iraq and Afghanistan. Spending more on a system that has failed every operational test is sheer idiocy. Any hope of stemming a nuclear arms race in the area would be dashed by just the announcement of such a program.

2. End humanitarian aid to North Korea and pressure South Korea to do the same.
While there is some merit to using some of this aid as a carrot and a stick, from a strictly ethical point of view it seems a callous thing to do to punish the already starving people of North Korea in this case. Not that this has stopped us - or the rest of the world - in the past. And should this cause a popular uprising in the DPRK, the collapse of Kim's regime will destabilize the entire region even more with a flood of refugees and the potential loss of control over whatever nuclear devices have actually been assembled. If a collapse is somehow avoided, there would be strong incentive for Kim to sell the technology or the actual devices for much needed hard currency.

3. Invite Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore to join NATO — and even invite Taiwan to send observers to NATO meetings.
A sure-fire way to alienate China and lose any hope of gaining their leverage over North Korea. Additionally, this could potentially drive the North and China closer together in military cooperation against a suddenly united South East Asian theater, leading to a truly nuclearized North Korea. And anything that upsets the delicate balance over Taiwan, especially during a crisis, should be avoided at all costs.

4. Encourage Japan to renounce the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and create its own nuclear deterrent.
Could there be a worse idea other than arming the DPRK ourselves? As soon as Japan makes such an announcement, China would make grave denouncements and perhaps move to redeploy nuclear and non-nuclear forces to counter such a perceived threat in their sphere of influence. They could conceivably even offer to post weapons on the Koreanpeninsulaa to counter the threat. I'm sure that China has learned the lessons of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I doubt that BushCo. has learned a single lesson from anything in history.

Whether North Korea's test was successful or not, I can't see anything in Frum's proposals that make any kind of sense in the world we all actually live in. Of course, given BushCo.'s record, Frum is exactly the kind of advisor/speech writer that Bush and his Cold-War-Cronies have cultivated.

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