Thursday, April 24, 2008


The Israeli's are sure that North Korea has been assisting Syria in building a nuke:

The Washington Post leads with news that lawmakers will see a video today of North Koreans inside the suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site that was destroyed by Israel last September. This video is apparently what convinced Israel and the White House that Syria was receiving help from North Korea to build a nuclear reactor, particularly because of its striking design similarities to the reactor at Yongbyon.
As with anything coming out of the Bush administration, there's a lot of doubt about this intelligence and it's meaning.
Israel apparently decided to show the Bush administration the video from inside the Syrian facility after U.S. officials openly expressed skepticism that North Korea was helping to build a nuclear reactor. Syria vigorously denies the claim. "If they show a video, remember that the U.S. went to the U.N. Security Council and displayed evidence and images about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," the Syrian ambassador said. Others are also skeptical, particularly because officials will tell lawmakers that "there was no uranium for the reactor and no indication of fuel capability," which has led experts to wonder whether this was really part of a Syrian nuclear weapons program. Also, there is no evidence that Syria has tried to rebuild after the bombing, so the inevitable question is: Why now?
Let's take a look at it assuming it's true (which is a ginormous assumption given this crowd). Two things stand out to me. First, the motivations for any developing country to get a nuke are huge. It's how you get taken seriously and prove your technological abilities. And this is all the more true since Bush has implemented a foreign policy that is so obviously predicated on those with the bomb vs. those who don't. Is it any wonder that Syria might be trying to get the bomb? Or Iran?

Secondly, I've got to wonder if it's not a bad thing that another middle eastern country gets the bomb. Aside from the seeming inevitability of it, perhaps nuclear parody will be necessary in order for the Israeli's (and the west generally) to take the Palestinian's seriously and to attain the necessary flexibility to finally reach a peace agreement.

Now I know the arguments .... nukes in the hands of extremists and so on. And that is always a risk, including in the U.S. But like it or not, nuclear bombs are a part of the modern landscape and the genie is not going back into the bottle. We are left with the hope and faith that rational human beings will do what it takes to prevent a holocaust. This has always been true in the past and will continue to be true in the future.

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