Welcome to the American Revolution II

Welcome to the American Revolution II
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
"We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method..." and warned about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals and continued with a warning that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex... The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."Dwight D. Eisenhower

Friday, May 29, 2009

North Korea as a nuclear-weapons state

SINGAPORE -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued North Korea the sternest warning from Washington since Monday's test of a nuclear weapon, saying the U.S. "will not stand idly by" as Pyongyang develops nuclear and missile technologies that could threaten America and its allies in the region.

The warning came in a Saturday-morning address Mr. Gates delivered to an annual gathering of Asian defense officials here. "President Obama has offered an open hand to tyrannies that unclench their fists; he is hopeful but he is not naive," Mr. Gates said. "North Korea's latest reply to our overtures isn't exactly something we would characterize as helpful or constructive."

Mr. Gates also said that the export of nuclear material by North Korea to other states or terrorist groups would be considered a "grave threat" to the U.S. and that Washington would hold Pyongyang "fully accountable" for the consequences if such technologies fell into the wrong hands.

South Korean soldiers on a drill Friday in the border town of Paju. North Korea warned this week of possible military action after the South said it is joining a U.S.-led initiative to stop trade in weapons of mass destruction.. Gates's tough language comes as tensions continue to escalate on the Korean peninsula, with Pyongyang testing its sixth short-range missile since the nuclear test on Friday, just hours after U.S. and South Korean troops based in the south raised their alert level to the highest point in two years.

The defense secretary's remarks were also the latest sign the Obama administration may be reconsidering its policy of reaching out to Pyongyang for a negotiated settlement to its nuclear program.

President Barack Obama campaigned last year on a commitment to re-engage with regimes the Bush administration had considered pariahs. But asked earlier in the week whether the U.S. is considering abandoning the so-called six-party talks -- the primary vehicle for negotiations over the North Korean weapons program, through multilateral talks hosted by China -- a senior administration official said the White House was focusing on sanctions at the U.N. and would decide on the future of its negotiations with North Korea down the road.

Mr. Gates didn't specify in his address what actions the U.S. was considering to end Pyongyang's weapons program or what Washington would do if North Korea was found to be proliferating its nuclear technology.

In a briefing with reporters traveling with him to Singapore, Mr. Gates said the Pentagon hadn't changed any of its contingency planning for the region and had no intention of taking military action against North Korea, "unless they do something that requires it." He also said the administration remains committed to working with allies to develop an effective counterproliferation regime.

U.S. military officials have emphasized that despite heavy commitments of ground forces to Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. would still be able to quickly use naval and air forces against any North Korean threat, if needed. Gen. George W. Casey, the chief of staff of the U.S. Army, said earlier this week it would take three months for the Army to be fully prepared for a conventional war with North Korea.

U.S. defense officials have said they have seen no unusual military moves by North Korea and have no plans to reinforce U.S. troops in South Korea, which now number about 28,000. But language from the Obama administration has become increasingly tough in recent days amid growing unease among American and allied governments over North Korea's motivations.

In an effort to calm anxious democracies in the region, Mr. Gates in his address reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to defend allies against North Korean aggression and said the Obama administration "would not accept" North Korea as a nuclear-weapons state.

"We will not sit idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in Asia, or on us," he said.

The administration is attempting to walk a fine line between rallying the international community to punish North Korea even as neighboring countries, particularly China and South Korea, have raised concerns about a potential collapse of the North Korean regime.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is believed by U.S. officials to be in the midst of planning for his succession following an apparent stroke last year, which has led experts to believe the Pyongyang government is increasingly weak and using international brinksmanship to shore up its domestic support.

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