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Home > Media Reiews > News Review Last Updated: 14:52 03/09/2007
News Review #104: February 13, 2003

Talk Therapy

Reviewed By Hitoshi URABE

"Talk Therapy"
(By Robert J. Einhorn) New York Times


The article, actually an Editorial/Op-Ed., discusses North Korea and how to cope with it, by U.S. and its allies including Japan. Mr Einhorn, as footnoted in the article, is presently a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and was assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation from 1999 to 2001. Arguably, then, he is one of the most suited to comment and advise on the issue of nuclear arms development by North Korea. Ironically, though, his comment rather reveals the fact that there does not seem to be a viable measure to dissolve the situation.

He questions the U.S. government's present approach where it is providing North Korea with time to develop a multiple number of nuclear bombs. He then suggests that in order to avoid horrifying consequences, the U.S. must share a negotiating table with North Korea. Nevertheless, he admits in the end to say, "If North Korea has indeed already decided that it must become a nuclear power, then the talks will fail."

Most of the discussions thus far regarding North Korea's nuclear development have been based on the premise that the country is not necessarily wishing to own nuclear bombs but merely trying to attract foreign aid by threatening to do so. With starving people and dysfunctional industry, it is commonly acknowledged that the country must seek foreign assistance just to survive. Those who adhere to this line of thought points to the series of economic reforms North Korea launched last spring, and it was when the failure of it became clear that North Korea began to blackmail the world by its intention to develop and rack up nuclear bombs.

Some have expressed other views. Considering the nature of the regime in North Korea, it is doubtful that the government would place its people's lives, let alone welfare, high on their policy agenda. If this were the case, the true aim of North Korea would not be acquisition of foreign aid, but to become a member of the atomic club.

When India, then Pakistan, announced their possession of nuclear bombs, the world denounced them of disrupting international stability. Many warned at the time that the part of the world might disintegrate by atomic explosions. After only five years from the incident, it seems everyone has forgotten about it. Conflict continues in the region, but no one is concerned of nuclear arms to be utilized, for the time being, at least.

North Korea may be expecting to get away just as India and Pakistan did. But India and Pakistan, though it would not provide them with any sort of propriety, were aware of them being a part of this global society, while every indication so far shows North Korea denies such a notion to begin with. It could, therefore, be possible that North Korea is truly seeking to become a nation maintaining nuclear bombs, so that it could not only show them to threaten the surrounding countries, but with the possibility of actually using them, to fulfill its ruler's desires.

It is reported that North Korea already owns one or two nuclear bombs and on its way to increase the stock. IAEA has voted to submit the issue into the hands of the Security Council. Everyone agrees that the time is running out. Now who is going to make the next move, and how?

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