North Korea test-fired six missiles this week in a show of defiance toward the Bush Administration. The US Government immediately responded with familiar threats to impose further economic sanctions and possibly to bomb selected Korean nuclear facilities. The stand-off continued the six year-long passion play initiated when Mr. Bush began threatening North Korea as a presidential candidate in 2000. From a Catholic standpoint, the destabilization of the Korean peninsula under Mr. Bush is a classic illustration of how threatening words and behavior on our part only lead to more threatening words and behavior on their part. It's Cain-vs-Cain all over again, with the lives of millions of South Koreans and Japanese in the balance.
Mr Bush made public remarks July 7 justifying his missile defense system as an essential response to the Korean missiles. Few analysts have commented publicly on the possibility that US "defensive" missiles might actually be used offensively against North Korea, commensurate with the repeated Bush references to "leaving all options on the table."
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, representing the government that possesses the world's highest levels of ballistic missiles and deployed nuclear weapons, began arguing once again that the International Community wouldn't stand for North Korea to fire off missiles and possibly deploy nuclear weapons. The irony of her position was not lost on many news analysts, recalling that this Administration had itself largely ignored the International Community in 2003 when tens of millions of people and virtually every other government around the world pressed the US not to invade Iraq.
Meanwhile, mainstream media once again failed to place any of the blame on the militaristic policies of the Bush Administration, which has sent the message loud and clear to North Korean President Kim Jong Il that the only sure way to protect your dictatorship against a US invasion is to possess nuclear weapons of your own. No mention is made publicly of the Administration's six year campaign to deploy untested long-range missiles meant to attack North Korea from Alaska and California. The Administration is shocked--shocked!--to discover that pointing missiles at North Korea compelled the Koreans to test missiles of their own. Schoolyard bullies around the world are nodding in agreement, as North Korea merely reciprocates the threats that have been directed toward it.
Is it reasonable to conclude that the Administration predicted that the North Koreans would respond with this kind of militarization of its own? Can a dispassionate observer come to any other conclusion but that the North Koreans have done exactly what this Administration predicted they would, and have thus obliged Karl Rove by becoming precisely the kind of "irrational" enemy that keeps returning Republican majorities to Congress?
Human nature is something that Jesus understood: the only way to stop violence is by refusing to participate in it. The Sunshine Policy of cooperation between the two Koreas, encouraged by the Clinton Administration and sabotaged by the early Bush political posturing (as a justification for deploying their Star Wars system), represents perhaps the most Christian alternative to the current steady diet of threats and counter-threats. The time has come for truly creative solutions to these long-standing hostilities, to supplant 55-years of pointless and fundamentally anti-Christian dependence on the threat of violence by both sides.