Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Nuclear-Free Zone: The big news this week is that North Korea has agreed not to pursue its development of nuclear weapons. This doesn't mean much. That country has made the same promises before, and then it went on doing what it wasn't supposed to behind our backs.

(Didn't North Korea announce that it already has nuclear weapons? I guess there's no point trusting our intelligence agencies to find out the truth in the matter.)

Still, this is good news for now. The concession we had to make was to promise not to invade North Korea in the near future. Some people wonder why we didn't just make that agreement a few years ago so we could be done with it. The answer is simply: Iraq.

Our invasion of Iraq was supposed to demonstrate America's might to the rest of the world, including any terrorists who might be paying attention. We hoped to put Iran, Syria, North Korea, and the Palestinians on notice.

That didn't happen. No country is afraid that we may attack them now, considering the ongoing conflict in Iraq in addition to the continuing clean up in Afghanistan.

Some critics would argue that this equals failure. I don't agree. It's not ideal, for sure. But it doesn't mean we're not doing some good. Iraq has become the new Ground Zero in the War on Terrorism. Al Qaeda knows that they have to win their, or else they're movement will be seriously hurt. They will lose, and they will be hurt.

Others wonder whether the difficulties in Iraq make us look weaker. No, just not perfect. But if we hadn't invaded and let Saddam Hussein thumb his nose at us for another decade, we'd look even more impotent. Sure, North Korea can rest assured we won't invade anytime soon. But if we didn't have the guts to invade Iraq, Kim Jong Il would have come to the same conclusion regardless.

So Iraq didn't go as smoothly as we would have liked. But that's no reason to give up on the place. The war has changed, and we're meeting the challenge.


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