North Korean missile tests

So North Korea, as they warned they would last month, tested around 7 missiles yesterday -- Independence Day. Which may be appropriate as many see it as a mostly symbolic gesture.

This is about Iraq.

Most of the missiles were Russian hand-me-downs from some old closet but the Taepodong-2 is the North Korean Hummer -- one they hope will eventually work well enough and go far enough to reach the US (this one, plunging into the sea shortly after takeoff, did not).

And why not? They learned from the Iraq venture that the only way to prevent Bush administration aggression is to obtain nukes.

Now the Bush administration, along with a number of allies are condemning the test -- as they should, as they must. But their condemnation of the tests as a violation of "a standing moratorium on missile tests to which the North had previously committed," is a bit disingenuous.

It was a self-declared moratorium which, according to the North Koreans, relied on direct talks with the Bush administration.

So, in the sense that the Bush administration has refused to dialogue directly with N.K. since day one, the whole thing is a farce. Everybody knew the moratorium wouldn't last, and the game goes on with everyone calling everyone else disingenuous loonies.

Bush's refusal to talk directly to North Korea was roundly criticized by Kerry in presidential debates but the more pointed criticism came from South Korean leader Roh Moo-hyun back in '04: "the U.S. totally changed its North Korean policy after the last presidential elections, although they had nearly reached a conclusion over the problem under the Clinton administration..."

Naturally, everyone will be up in arms about this testing -- AS THEY SHOULD BE, it's scary -- but it should properly be seen as the direct and obvious consequence of the belligerent and narrow-sighted foreign policy of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld presidency. Attack Iraq and don't talk to N. Korea? Seatbelts please.

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