I originally published this post approximately three years ago. With North Korea in the news again concerning its nuclear ambitions, I think it is important to understand the background.
As soon as President George W. Bush took office in 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell stated that he was going to continue the actions of the Clinton administration. Quickly, Vice President Dick Cheney and other neo-cons in the Bush White House worked to silence Powell and reverse the steps that the Clinton Administration took to freeze nuclear weapons production in North Korea.
I believe the way that the US-North Korea relationship has been played out in the media has been ridiculously superficial. Secondly, the American public has been led to believe that everything started with President Clinton. He is portrayed as a hero or a villain, depending upon your point of view. As usual, I think that the real picture is far more complex.
It appears that North Korea’s nuclear plans date back to the late fifties and early ’60s. Being a very small and somewhat paranoid country, North Korea began to send scientists to the Soviet Union right at the end of the Korean War. They did not believe that when push came to shove the Soviet Union would stand up for them. The Cuban Missile Crisis reinforced that belief. The Soviet Union, their ally, backed down when the US show of force and imposed a blockade around Cuba. North Korea thought that Russia would do the same if squeezed by the US. Also, in 1965, the US, Japan and South Korean signed a diplomacy agreement. This served to further isolate the paranoid country. North Korea fired up the first of its two nuclear reactors in 1967. (more…)