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Contentions

Time for the Stick, Maybe?

In case anyone missed it: Le Monde reports that there’s a “Secret North Korean nuclear branch in Syria.” The French newspaper claims to have seen evidence (which the International Atomic Energy Agency holds from sources other than American ones) that the Al Kibar site Israel Air Force fighters bombed on September 6, 2007, was indeed what everyone thinks it was by now–a secret North Korean-built nuclear facility. Le Monde writes that

According to our sources, the IAEA holds data, coming from several non-American sources, which confirm this analysis. Some of this information is [made of] satellite photographs supplied by various countries. Other information is derived from investigations made by the IAEA in the past about nuclear activities of North Korea. Other information comes from IAEA research on the clandestine procurement networks for the acquisition of nuclear equipment across the world.

Not that this is new, but the story requires a number of policies to be rethought, or at least questioned a little more thoroughly.

1. Israel is engaged in talks with Syria. Why? Apart from everything else Damascus has been doing, Syria has not come clean yet on the extent, scope and progress of its nuclear activities.

2. Syria’s president, Bashar el Assad is attending the Mediterranean Union summit in Paris next month. Why is her invited?Assad did not give up his weapons’ program willingly in exchange for rewards for good behavior, but was caught with his hands in the cookie jar.

3. North Korea has not only breached every single possible treaty, agreement, and commitment under the sun with its own nuclear program. It now turns out it has been an assiduous proliferator. Why is the U.S. still doling out incentives to North Korea from its apparently endless carrot supply?

Not every proliferator can be halted by force. In international relations, this view might not always turn out to be practical, possible, or productive. But this is a far cry from saying that, bad behavior should be rewarded. Yet rewards are precisely what Syria and North Korea are receiving from Israel and the U.S.



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