posted on May, 2 2005 @ 03:09 AM
With the continuing flare ups with North Korea I thought some of you might be interested in this research paper I put together for college. IMO the
longer the wait the worse things will get. I know there is no quick and easy way but this country must be dealt with.
North Korea and the United States – A Sea of Fire:
The Failure of American Diplomacy from 1990-2000 Including the 1994 Agreed Framework
“The United States will lead the charge…to stop and roll back North Korea’s potentially deadly nuclear program, we’ll continue to implement
the agreement we have reached with that nation. It’s smart; it’s tough; it’s a deal based on continuing inspection.” This was President of
the United States Bill Clinton speaking to the nation in his 1995 State of the Union Address. He is addressing the 1994 Agreed Framework between
North Korea and the United States, and the success he believes he achieved. The United States relations with North Korea, a failing despotic regime,
has been less than exemplary.
From the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall to present day relations North Korea has been a thorn in the side of the American people. The
United States and North Korea, and the diplomacy practiced from 1990 to 2000 have left both countries in a poor position for future relations and the
United States has created a poor precedent for other rogue nations to take advantage of the United States.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), or simply North Korea, traces it’s history back to the Korean War. After the Korean War the
peninsula was split into two nations, North and South Korea. The South was capitalist and aligned with the United States while the North was
communist and aligned with the Soviet Union. North Korea in large part never had to worry about its economy, the country was largely bankrolled by
the communist machine, unfortunately that machine broke and North Korea lost its main source of support.
In David Reese’s book, The Prospects for North Korea’s Survival, he analyzes the shift in North Korean policy, “North Korea was powerless to
prevent its support base from shifting to its enemy…These developments appeared to prompt the North to make a dramatic policy shift. Pyongyang’s
[capital of North Korea] principal objective became to establish relations with the U.S.” After being abandoned by Russia the North Koreans needed
to find a way to survive. They decided to create a relationship with the United States and gain financial support from America. Unfortunately, the
way they went about creating this relationship was risky and dangerous for both sides, nuclear threats.
The United States, during this time period, was enjoying its new position as the final remaining super-power on the planet. Quickly the United
States was faced with a new role in leading and assisting the United Nations in battles throughout the world. In 1991 the world looked to the United
States to control Sadam Hussein. The United States went to war with Iraq and quickly demolished the fighting force of the Iraqis. To the American
public there was little interest in a third world country on the other side of the planet that was trying to stir up trouble. Most Americans were
concerned with the upcoming elections and eventually the inauguration of the President from 1992 to 2000 William Jefferson Clinton.
In Thomas H. Henriksen’s book, Clinton’s Foreign Policy In Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, and North Korea, he discusses the foreign policy Clinton faced
after winning the presidency. “No twentieth-century president since Harry Truman, or perhaps even since Woodrow Wilson, inherited a more fluid
global environment…the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the collapse of the Soviet Union ushered in far-reaching changes.” In an analysis of
Clinton’s foreign policy strategy Henriksen pointed to several campaigning decisions by Clinton that left clear proof of where the country was
headed, and the indecisiveness of Bill Clinton when faced with difficult decisions:
“Asked later about how he [Clinton] would have voted on the resolution [to wage war to expel Iraq from Kuwait] had he been in Congress, the governor
replied in what his detractors charged was an equivocal manner: ‘I guess I would have voted with the majority if it was a close vote. But I agree
with the arguments the minority made.’ This effort to avoid taking a clear-cut position became a Clinton trademark.”
To study relations between North Korea and the United States it is important to look at other foreign policy decisions made by the Clinton
administration throughout the 90’s. In his first term Clinton was challenged by several international flare-ups. In Somalia the U.N. began a
humanitarian aid mission, which became a military mission to remove warlords. Clinton restrained the military and allowed only light armored vehicles
to be used. This lead to a graphic battle resulting in American troops dead bodies being dragged down the streets of Mogadishu on CNN. Shortly
thereafter America appeared to retreat with its tail between its legs beaten by a group of thugs, these foreign policy decisions scarred Clinton’s
foreign policy legacy and effected every decision afterward.
After the collapse of the Soviet world system the North Koreans began an extremely strange path. The country exists as a totalitarian communist
military regime. The nation has in effect sealed itself off from the rest of the world and only allows state run news and information to its people.
The nation is pumped full of bizarre propaganda and is taught to almost worship their leader, Kim Jong Il who took over after his father, Kim Il Sung,
Kim Jong Il is a much quieter and reclusive version of his father therefore the state news uses propaganda to advance his popularity, “The state
media has sought to elevate his stature with reports of his ‘heroic’ achievements, whether shooting a bull’s-eye on a target range or giving
sagacious advice to the nation.” North Korea needed to come up with a way to remain important to the world, keep the South on edge, and to extort
millions and millions of dollars to feed and provide energy for their people.
The relationship with South Korea is at the root of the crisis. Since the end of the Korean War the peninsula has been plagued by violence between
the two nations. In most of these occasions the North has been the aggressive force and the south has had to be restrained by the United States from
going to war once again.
In 1968 a team of North Korean commandos invaded the South in an attempt to assassinate the South Korean president. In 1974 the South Korean
President’s wife was assassinated in another attempt by the North to assassinate the president. In 1983 a bombing in South Korea killed twenty-one
people including four cabinet members. In 1987 a Korean Airlines plane was shot down by North Korean agents, and in 1996 and 1998 the North invaded
Southern waters with submarine incursions. Despite these aggressive acts and even more aggressive language, the American policy remained one of
appeasement. One of the more famous quotes to come out of North Korean was the claim that they would turn Seoul [capital of South Korea] into a sea
of fire, in reference to their new nuclear capabilities.
North Korea has been interested in nuclear weapons for a long time. The Soviet Union and China both refused requests by the country to supply the
technology. “The first signs that the North had an indigenous nuclear programme came in March 1984, when US satellite intelligence identified an
apparent nuclear-reactor vessel under construction at Yongbyon.” The North began to clandestinely build nuclear weapons in the early 90’s and as
estimated today to have approximately six to sixteen nuclear weapons and continue to process and build more.
It became obvious that the nuclear threats were an attempt to blackmail the civilized world luckily for North Korea one country fell for it. Maybe it
was because an election was approaching or maybe it was a genuine attempt to solve a problem but there is no denying in hindsight that the 1994 Agreed
Framework was a failed attempt to sweep a problem under the rug and out of the minds of the American public.
North Korea decided that the best way to get international aid was to use its one remaining bargaining chip its nuclear weapons. Beginning in the
early 90’s North Korea threatened to and did pull out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and made it known to the world that they were
developing nuclear weapons. Falling to the pressure the United States agree to end the attempts at multilateral talks, including South Korea, and
agreed to meet with and create an agreement between just the United States and North Korea. The agreement became known as the, Agreed Framework
Between The United States of America and The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Appendix A).
The main points of the agreement were that; North Korea would suspend all nuclear weapons production, shut down the remaining nuclear facilities,
safely remove and store the spent nuclear rods, and to allow International Atomic Energy Agencies (IAEA) to resume inspections. In response the
United States was to begin normalizing relations, provide 500,000 tons of heavy oil to make up for the shut down nuclear facilities, and lead in the
construction of two Light Water Reactors (LWR), high quality power facilities. In essence, the North Koreans threatened violence and nuclear terror
and in reward they were to receive tons of financial aid and nuclear goodies.
It quickly became obvious that this agreement was nothing but a sham. So where did the appeasement of the communists leave the United States? The
book, Crisis on the Korean Peninsula, analyzes the agreement, “But it [the 1994 Agreed Framework] did not stop the program [North Korea’s nuclear
program], as later revealed by discovery of the DPRK’s uranium enrichment effort. It also appears to have contributed to a North Korean habit of
extortion-developing destabilizing weapons and then bargaining to give them up for huge amounts of aid.”
The ramifications of this agreement are important to analyze. This agreement set a precedent within Pyongyang and with Kim Jong Il, it proved him
right. It proved the U.S. had neither the strength to stand toe-to-toe with him and would give in to his demands as he continued to fool the U.S.
Throughout the world enemies of the United States took this lesson and learned from it.
Osama Bin Laden learned and attacked several times, with Clinton in office, and received barely a slap on the wrist. Sadam Hussein learned and kicked
out U.N. weapons inspectors in 1998, with Clinton in office. It became apparent that Clinton was a domestic policy President and would do whatever
was necessary to appease the enemies outside the United States. Despite all of this Clinton did not see any enemy growing from beyond our borders in
his final State of the Union Address Clinton claimed, “Never before has our nation enjoyed, at once, so much prosperity and social progress with so
little internal crisis and so few external threats.” Just over six months later the United States Navy vessel, the USS Cole was bombed off the
coast of Yemen, again very little response was heard from the United States.
Currently things have reached a standoff with the North Korean regime. After 9/11 Bush took a much different tone with possible enemies of the
United States. In his first State of the Union Address after the attack, Bush put three countries on notice, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, labeling
them an axis of evil. Bush continues to push for bilateral talks, similar to those before the 1994 Agreement, between, North Korea, South Korea,
Japan, China, and the United States to resume. “Mr. Bush firmly believes Pyongyang is attempting to blackmail him and is unwilling to deal with
North Korea on such [unilateral] terms.” An answer for the current situation with North Korea is not easily solved.
From 1990 to 2000 under both the Bush and Clinton administrations the United States had several missteps that led to a potentially dangerous and
vulnerable foreign policy. From the fall communism, except in Cuba, China, and North Korea, the world has had to deal with a much more dangerous,
unpredictable, and fluid enemy.