Three Steps on Nukes. 1: Confirm Bolton
Pat Buchanan, writing a commentary for RCP, looks at the situation and decides it's best for America to turn tail, abandon South Korea and the Middle East, let the nations there fight it out, and be content at home.
Fred Kaplan, writing in Slate, puts his faith (what little of it he has) in the UN, and in the negotiation of a newer, better Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Close the loopholes and we're on to a better world.
Buchanan, of course, is out of his mind. He actually thinks there's rational thought behind Al Qaida and the Mullahs, and that if we leave that part of the world, all will be forgiven and the terrorist threat will disappear. Rather, they will see America in defeat, turning tail, and will sieze it as an opportunity to attack all the more aggressively in the name of Allah.
While it's tempting to leave a problem as complex as Kim Il Jung to the South Koreans, Japanese and Chinese, it's not prudent. For one thing, Kim isn't the only thing that needs to be deterred in that part of the globe. China's expansionist desires needs a countercheck. Leaving East Asia entirely to the East Asians does not bode well for the US.
Kaplan is saner than Buchanan, but one has to question the sanity of anyone who relies on the UN to actually fix things. Still, the Bush Administration's attention should be firmly planted on the NPT talks, he's right about that.
Which leads to step number one for dealing with nukes: Confirm Bolton immediately and task him to drive hard on closing the loopholes in the NPT and adding tough sanctions to those who violate it or remove themselves from it. Incentives to stay nuke-free are few and far between for despots, so sanctions are a necessity.
Second, keep the dictators under increasing pressure from the human will to be free. Keep those revolutions rolling, keep the rhetoric up, make the support real. This will put a lot of pressure on Iran, although it's still a little naive to imagine freedom sweeping the northern half of the Korean penninsula.
That's why the third point must be deterance. Build those bunker-busters and tactical nukes as quickly as possible, and let the world know that anyone who violates NPL and builds a bomb will be able to see up close just how well they work, as their nuclear facilities turn to dust.
It may not make us popular, but it will make us a radiation-free zone.