The US administrationâ€™s double standards in dealing with the intensifying nuclear crisis in
Considering the US-North Korea protracted standoff, one can only imagine how foolishly disposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein must now feel that he didnâ€™t pursue a more determined programme of weapons of mass destruction. Even if one would accept
Indeed, the United Statesâ€™ feeble, yet precarious handling of the Korean Peninsula crisis, instigated by North Koreaâ€™s underground nuclear test on October 9 in the north-east Hamgyong province is further attestation to a very important deduction: The US war on Iraq was never intended to dismantle Iraqâ€™s alleged stockpiles of illicit weapons, but to control the worldâ€™s most strategically and economically viable region. Despite incessant assurances by the former Iraqi government that it possessed no such weapons, allegations confirmed repeatedly by international monitors and verified on more than one occasion by the United Nations itself, war seemed the only rational response in the anxious minds of
A recent study, published by a joint US-Iraqi team in the eminent medical journal, The Lancet, estimates that about 655,000 Iraqis have been killed in post-invasion Iraq, 31 per cent of whom have fallen victim to US and other â€˜coalitionâ€™ attacks. While the bulk of the reported casualties allegedly took place during the ongoing ethnic strife, few can claim that such deaths would have taken place were it not for the state of chaos and ethnic rivalry created and fed by the March 2003 US takeover. Needless to say, no WMDs were ever recovered from
Yet while the death toll is now comfortably exceeding the half-million mark,
What is even more infuriating to any rational human mind is the eagerness for war exhibited by the US administration and its propagandists throughout the Western media prior to the invasion of Iraq, and the utter laxity â€” interrupted by occasional shouting matches â€” towards a much more immediate North Korean threat, one that is sending waves of fear throughout an already fractious region.
Only days after the North Korean nuclear test, some US officials ruled out the military option, while others called for the resumption of the six-nation talks which had for years engaged North Korea, the United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea.
The talks were of great benefit to a region whose economic progress is highly dependent on its political stability. Although the nuclear row is anything but new â€”
The most recent development, however, was the culmination of a row that dates back to late 2005. Just weeks after a joint statement by the six nations declared the Northâ€™s agreement to end its nuclear quest and dismantle its programme, the Bush administration provoked
There is so much at stake for the economically vibrant Asian Pacific Rim countries; knowing what we now know about the risk of allowing the United States to meddle in other regionsâ€™ affairs and the disastrous Iraq tragedy it helped spawn, these countries must rely on their own diplomatic channels to bring an end to, as opposed to further exasperate, the nuclear crisis. The Korean peninsula must be denuclearised for the sake of its people and the region as a whole. The
Ramzy Baroudâ€™s latest book: The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a Peopleâ€™s Struggle (Pluto Press,