Wednesday, October 11, 2006

President Carter joins forces with Kim Jong-il

I believe a certain amount of respect is due to anyone who is able to become President of the United States. I also feel when an ex-president goes to a foreign country like France or Germany and gives an interview critical of the sitting president and of America, that president tarnishes his own reputation. Having said that, I feel it is important to look at the editorial President Carter wrote in the New York Times today.

Mr. Carter states that the only way to resolve the current crises is for the US to run to the negotiating table with North Korea. Once there, the US would, ”…[give] a firm and direct statement of no hostile intent, and [move] toward normal relations if North Korea forgoes any further nuclear weapons program and remains at peace with its neighbors.” Before making a decision on the wisdom of this course of action, I think we should review a few facts.

In December of 2005 the Washington Times ran an article stating that North Korea had produced at least $45 million worth of high quality, counterfeit, $100 bills. Counterfeiting another countries currency is an act of war. This week, after a possible nuclear test, North Korea warned that any increased sanctions or pressure to stop its nuclear program would be seen as an act of war and North Korea will, “…take a series of physical corresponding measures.” These aren’t the actions of a nation that wishes to be part of the larger world community.

Any actions the US takes now will be seen by Iran. Should President Ahmadinejad ever get a nuclear weapon, he will expect the same reaction we now give to North Korea. President Carter would reward North Korea’s actions with a new round of negotiations between Kim Jong-il and the US. If we are to follow Mr. Carters recommendations, what reaction are we to expect from Iran over the next few days? A tyrant has no reason to treat a foreign nation or nations any better than that tyrant will treat his subjects. How would the current regime in North Korea deal with a differing opinion within its own borders from one of its own citizens? Why should we expect the North Korean government to treat any negotiated treaty with the US any differently?

Japan is currently proposing increased sanctions against North Korea. The Japanese appear to be ready to implement those sanctions by Friday, with or without the support of the international community. South Korea has spoken out against the test. Perhaps a better solution might be to seek further sanctions with the UN, participate in sanctions with the Japanese, and to strengthen our relationship with both Japan and South Korea. Kim Jong-il needs to be punished for his actions in open defiance of the world, and not rewarded for them.


Domesticated Dog said...

I agree with your opposition to Mr. Carter's position - to a point. It would seem that as long as the cease fire endures between the US and the DPRK, we will always be at the negotiation table in a sense. Kim Jong-Il should be removed from power and as he represents a threat to the US and since his country and our remain at war (technically speaking) military action against North Korea should be high on the list of options. The problems with an invasion of North Korea abound. It would be expensive with a high possibility of becoming a protracted engagement (it has already lasted longer than my own life), and $45M in phony currency is nothing when compared to capital flight that occurs from illegal immigration sending money to their countries of origin and the funds for the purchase of illegal drugs that are shipped to who knows where.

Iran and North Korea are two different problems. The North Korean philosophy is less hell-bent on causing the destruction of every other ideology. Iran doesn't need to take cues from North Korea as far as how they will dea with the world community and the most likely nation to go over there and ring its bell (e.g., US) Ahmadinejad is already happy to be a loose cannon and, in my estimation is far more likely to launch the weapon should he obtain one and, it seems that he is already actively supporting attacks against US interests. Iran also has more leverage in the world community as a major supplier of a highly coveted natural resource.

Nonetheless, I accept you point Iran is getitng a playbok by watching the N. Korea fiasco.

I'll be adding a link to your blog on my own. Although I am not in complete agreement with your opinions and in some cases lack the background to effectively analys your statements. Each of your posts is thought provoking and worth another visit.

My views of Mr. Carter may differ. Former President Carter has the liberty to express any view he feels appropriate in any forum. He has never been elected to any post for his support for the sitting president and I see no reason why he should have to act like it. That said, President Carter also no longer represents this country in any official capacity. His visits to North Korea or other nations are, to me, no more significant than the visit of Gorbachev to the US following his departure from power in Russia.

Andy D said...

I truly appreciate the compliment and the link. I may not always be right, but I am always interested in what others think.

Borrowing a line of yours, I agree with you on Mr. Carter – to a point. Mr. Carter was elected President of the United States, served his term, and was not re-elected. He is currently a private citizen. As a private citizen, he can say whatever he wants, wherever he wants, so long as he doesn’t interfere in the rights of other citizens. However, Mr. Carter is also an ex-president. That distinction comes with its own responsibilities. You or I may not agree with that, but it is a fact. If Mr. Carter didn’t feel that was appropriate, he shouldn’t have run for president in the first place.

There has been a standing tradition that living ex-presidents don’t criticize a sitting president. Mr. Carter has violated that tradition many times over. I also feel that politics should stop at the waters edge. If Mr. Carter believes there are changes needing to be made with our government, he needs to work for those changes here in the United States.

I should stress that I don’t think Mr. Carter has broken any laws. However, I think his actions are unbecoming of an ex-president. I think his comments and actions are very illustrative of who the real Mr. Carter is. The comments illustrate his lack of class, and his lack of pride in The United States. President Carter is within his rights, as a citizen, to criticize the United Sates on foreign soil. I am within my rights, as a citizen, to think significantly less of Mr. Carter because of those same comments.