“They have sown the wind, and they reap the whirlwind.” Hosea 8:7
Some days it doesn’t pay to be right. At least that’s what U.S. president Bush must be thinking. In January, Bush warned the world that North Korea was developing weapons of mass destruction. They were part of an “axis of evil,” Bush said.
Now North Korea admits that yes, they are developing a nuclear arms program. You would think that Bush would walking around saying I told you so but he has been strangely silent, especially considering his fondness for bravado.
North Korea’s admission is more of a liability than it is a vindication. “It’s a nightmare for George Bush,” says Janice Stein of the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto.
North Korea signed an agreement in 1994 saying that they would not develop a nuclear weapons program. Something obviously changed their mind.
North Korea is an unwanted distraction for Bush. The last thing the president wants is for attention to be diverted from his scheme to invade Iraq and topple his nemesis, Saddam Hussein.
And Bush would rather that Americans don’t think about the logistics of North Korea too much, either. Logically, North Korea should be attacked before Iraq since they are likely to develop atomic weapons first.
Another problem is Bali. It’s an island state of the largest Muslim country in the world, Indonesia. Terrorists linked to al-Qaeda recently killed hundreds of innocent people, most of them tourists. “Clearly the attacks in Bali, I think we have to assume it’s al-Qaeda,” says Bush. Right again, Mr. President.
But being right about Bali is not particularly helpful for Bush, either. If the elusive al-Qaeda and its Indonesian counterpart, Jeemah Islamiyah, are terrorizing Bali then Bush would have to admit that his war in Afghanistan failed to exterminate the fundamentalist Islam terrorist group.
To the contrary, the surgical strike on Afghanistan was a botched operation. Instead of excising the dreaded tumor, the cancer was cut open and spread globally. Now the terrorists are in Bali, causing more mayhem and death of allies.
And remember Bush’s call for his friends to come to his aid in the war on terrorism? Once the Australians have finished mourning the loss of more than 100 of its own citizens in Bali, it would be reasonable for Australians to call on the U.S. to come to their aid in revenge. Will Bush come out with guns blazing to support his friends, or does friendship apply only when it suits his goals?
Although Australians liken the massacre of its citizens in Bali to the terrorist attack of September 11 in, retaliation is not likely.
In fact, some Australians think that it was their support for Bush’s war on terrorism that brought on this curse to their citizens. If they had not supported Bush’s misadventure, the al-Qaeda network might have left them alone.
Bush not only underestimated al-Qaeda, he never really understood his enemy. He imagined that all the world’s only superpower had to do was utter some platitudes and bomb the hell out of some country and that would be the end of it.
The al-Qaeda organization not easily attacked. “Well, first of all you have to understand al-Qaeda itself is more correctly described as a network of networks. It’s not a hierarchy that we normally associate with the governments or organizations in the west,” says former U.S. State Department coordinator for counter-terrorism Michael Sheehan.
It’s not likely that Bush knew about North Korea’s development of nuclear arms last January. Before his comments, diplomatic efforts were effectively bringing North Korea into the world community. Bush ruined all that. Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called the comments “a big mistake”.
North Korea was understandably upset. “This is, in fact, little short of declaring a war against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” said Korea’s foreign ministry.
A more likely explanation is that Bush’s comments became a self-fulfilling prophecy – – they weren’t developing a nuclear arms program until Bush’s accusation. With their backs against the wall, they decided to defend themselves against a maniacal superpower by developing a nuclear program.
Making war is easy but keeping the peace is difficult. Bush has made the world a more dangerous place since September 11. He has sowed the seeds of war and we will all reap the maelstrom.