Volume 96, Issue 56
Thursday, January 9, 2003

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Hypocrisy Bush's safest option

From the far lane
Emmett Macfarlane
News Editor

While North Korea defiantly proceeds to build a nuclear arsenal, the United States prepares for war – with Iraq.

Like a bully in the global schoolyard, the U.S. is determined to pick on the weaker, less threatening member of the "axis of evil."

While United Nations weapons inspectors have yet to find proof that Iraq is hiding biological, chemical or nuclear weapons of any kind, North Korea announced it has renewed its nuclear weapons program, breaking an international treaty in the process. More recently, North Korea stated that any economic sanctions imposed on it would mean war.

The Bush administration has pressed for a diplomatic solution to the tense situation. The U.S. desperately wants to avoid a war on the Korean Peninsula, while at the same time making full preparations to invade Iraq.

The reason for the difference in approach is obvious. North Korea has a much more powerful fighting force than Iraq. Throw in a couple of nuclear warheads and any armed conflict could become disastrous, especially for U.S. allies South Korea and Japan.

One key question remains: will diplomacy work with the belligerent Communist dictatorship? It is an option Bush has dismissed in the Middle East, although an invasion of Iraq without proof that Saddam is hiding something could upset his "allies," like Saudi Arabia. The added variable of what involvement Israel might have during a war makes the situation even more sticky.

It is alarming to see Bush's spine soften when dealing with an enemy that may actually be able to give him a bloody nose. What happened to the "if you're not with us, you're against us" rally cry in the war against terrorism? Granted, North Korea has not attacked any of its neighbours (yet), but the threat of nuclear arms is terrorism enough, especially given the country's history.

Without advocating that the U.S. serve as the global police officer, shouldn't Bush step up, rather than suppress, the good ol' rhetoric against a country he labelled evil not too long ago?

The hypocrisy is blatant, even to Bush supporters. Of course, I would be remiss to leave out possibly the most important ingredient: Oil. Iraq has a lot of it; North Korea does not.

Another theory is that the Bush administration originally added North Korea to the "axis of evil," so a non-Muslim nation would be present. That would seem to demonstrate a foreign policy based on political correctness and it would be ridiculous to accuse Bush of that.

An equally ridiculous notion is to advocate an invasion of North Korea, which leaves hypocrisy as the safest option.

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