Thursday, July 06, 2006

Accidental diplomacy

Even idiots get lucky sometimes, and the presiding President of Idiots caught a huge break when the Taepodong "long-range" missile failed 35 seconds into launch and splashed harmlessly into the sea.

Bush came into office and immediately reversed the diplomatic progress that Clinton had made with North Korea - lifting some trade barriers and forging an agreement to stop the building and testing of nuclear weapons. Famously branding them part of the "axis of evil", Bush took a hard line, refusing to conduct any face-to-face talks with Kim il-Ding Dong.

The accidental brilliance of this "plan" was to force North Korea into an attention-grabbing gamble. After years of simply being ignored by Greater Texas, Dong decided to defy his only ally of any consequence - China - by boycotting the six-nation talks, and then launching a missile in spite of their protests. If this test had succeeded, Dong would have lost a valuable friend in China, but would have gained international respect as a legitimate threat to peace.

Instead, North Korea only demonstrated a pathetic ineptitude at making war. To steal a metaphor from the linked article, they are the bank robber who points their gun at the ceiling and pulls the trigger, only to have a little red flag with the word "Bang!" pop out. They've managed to piss off their only friend and lose any hope of being taken seriously at the same time.

And really, we all have W. to thank. Without George's intransigence, North Korea would likely still be buying military technology from China and reselling it to Iran. And for as much as I bash the Chimp-in-Chief, I'm willing to give him credit for his successes, intentional or not. In a world full of crises, we need all the success we can muster.


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