Monday, March 11, 2013

Denying North Korea and Iran Nuclear Weapons

Mad Dog understands and accepts there are some nasty, threatening, unstable people and governments in the world, and that among them are likely Iran and North Korea.

But what confuses Mad Dog mightily is the moral outrage coming from successive Presidents of the United States, who have said  Iran is committing a crime against humanity if it develops a nuclear bomb, or that North Korea is a rogue state and a moral reprobate, if it develops a bomb and a rocket delivery system for that rocket.

Mad Dog understands the practical reasons the United States fears Iran with a nuclear bomb and why we fear a North Korea with a bomb. Not only have high officials of the Iranian state said they want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth,  powerful Iranian ayatollah's have called the United States the Great Satan. So, it is clear Iran bears the US of A and Israel ill will. For all those practical reasons, we have an interest in preventing our potential enemies of acquiring the means of injuring us. 

But to say they have NO RIGHT to try to acquire the power contained in nuclear weapons sounds very odd. 

We do not object to France, Britain, India, Pakistan and Israel possessing nuclear weapons. 

We, quite understandably,  fear the spread of this capacity to every little potentate who wish to aggrandize himself by possessing a bomb, and who may just sell one to Al Qaeda, who might ship it directly to New York City. 

We are entirely justified in attempting to cut off trade to Iran and North Korea, in attempting to isolate them, in tactics which include attempts to  strangle their economies,  because they represent a threat and we are attempting to weaken them, punish them and make them squirm.

But we can hardly accuse them of immoral or reprehensible behavior. 

Mad Dog would cheer a successful mission to destroy Iran's nuclear program and another to destroy Korea's.

But Mad Dog cannot understand the posture of, "We are doing this because Iran and North Korea have violated a norm of moral behavior."

Iran and North Korea ask: If you can have the bomb, why can we not have the bomb?
Why do we need your permission? Are we not grown ups? Do we not have free will as you do? You and Russia have thousands of nuclear weapons, with which you try to intimidate us. Well, we will have nuclear weapons, so we can stand up to you. That's our right of self defense. Who are you to decide who has a right to nuclear weapons?

If power grows out of the mouths of guns, then we want the bomb. If you want to stop us from becoming powerful, have at us. But don't tell us we are bad people for wanting the same potency you have. 

It may be a small point, but Mad Dog simply doesn't get the moral outrage on the part of the United States. 

Why not just say: We fear you and your intentions, should you arm yourself with nuclear weapons. We will attack you to prevent you from becoming more of a threat. If you do not want to be targeted, stop making yourself so threatening. 

This isn't personal; it's just business. 

End of discussion. Why inject all this phony outrage into the discussion?


  1. Mad Dog,
    I agree from a practical standpoint that calling them out as moral degenerates only inflames already tense relations. On the other hand I can't say I agree with your statement "...we can hardly accuse them of immoral or reprehensible behavior". Doesn't the North Korean regime's history of human rights violations, mass starvation and prison camps rise to the occasion of immoral. I get that you don't think the countries are run by good guys-I'm just not sure why you don't consider them immoral or reprehensible...

  2. Maud,

    From everything Mad Dog reads, you are likely correct this is a repressive, nasty regime and may well be immoral on the basis of callousness and causing widespread suffering. That does not make their pursuit of nuclear power immoral.
    The other thing Mad Dog wonders about is our source of information about this regime. How much do we know of this country, and from whom do we learn it? They sound Mad as hatters, but how do we know this?
    One thing Mad Dog learned by living in the nation's capital for so long is how very different things look when you get an entirely different source of information.
    This applied particularly to Iran. There were few or no sources regarding Korea. But there were lots of Iranian ex-pats. Now ex-pats are often pretty biased against the new regime, as you can imagine, but their perspective on what the United States was doing and how our media presented Iran was very different. You could hardly recognize the country from their description.
    It's not that Mad Dog knows that our impression of North Korea and Iran are wrong, he is just trying to keep an open mind. Of course, some people tried to keep an open mind about Hitler.
    Mad Dog suspects Mr. Obama was doing the same thing, and got a rude awakening, so the smart money is these North Koreans are every bit as maniacal as they are presented to us on our American televisions.
    Then again, we haven't heard from Dennis Rodman yet.