Kim Jong Il Can't Get No Respect

Obama forgets about the other nut with the Bomb.

Beginning back during his campaign, Mr. Obama said that he planned to "reset" the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.  Not long after taking office, Hillary symbolized this pledge by presenting a prop "reset" button to the Russian foreign minister - though she botched the spelling on the label, which said "overpriced" instead.

The Russians knew what she meant, of course, but there are issues.  The Economist quoted Mr. Prikhodko, the Kremlin's chief foreign policy adviser, as saying, "We can 'reset' the computer - but what are we going to do with the memories?"  Mr. Prikhodko may not realize that young people don't have their own memories to guide their actions, they must rely on tales told by others.

After Mr. Obama's recent visit to Russia, we're told that he and the Russians came to an agreement, and once again he used the R word:

We resolved to reset US-Russian relations so that we can cooperate more effectively in areas of common interest.

Oh, joy unbounded!  The last time an inexperienced Democratic President visited Russia, JFK convinced Premier Khrushchev that America could be pushed around.  Mr. Khrushchev decided to put nuclear missiles in Cuba, confident that JFK would do nothing but bleat.  We ended up enmeshed in the Cuban Missile Crisis which brought us far closer to nuclear Armageddon than was comfortable.

The basic problem with electing a President with no executive experience is that Mr. Obama has never had to actually deliver on any of his promises.  During the campaign, the more candyfloss he generated, the more the media loved him.  We see a continuation of the "candyfloss effect" in a New York Times < href="" target="_blank">editorial "Obama's Big Missile Test" about his recent visit to Russia:

Few presidential moments are more glittering than the announcement of arms reduction accords in the Kremlin's gilded halls. For Mr. Obama, that was the easy part. [emphasis added]

The Times reports that Mr. Obama "set a promising arms reduction agenda" of reducing nuclear weapons by a quarter and that he announced an "arms reduction accord," but just what was the accord? What did Mr. Obama and the Russians agree to do?

In a way, Russia isn't the real problem.  The Times pointed out:

Threats are more likely to come from states like North Korea and Iran than from a heavily armed power like Russia. [emphasis added]

We've discussed Mr. Obama's secret meeting with Venezuelan strongman Chavez, one of the dictators whom he'd promised to meet with unconditionally; we're becoming used to Mr. Obama cutting deals without telling us what's going on.  In this vein, there's been considerable speculation about what he may or may not have agreed on with the Russians. US News reports that he may have promised to scrap the missile defense systems planned by President Bush and started by Reagan before him, which are only now beginning to show real signs of effectiveness.

The San Fransisco Examiner, no bastion of conservatism or of neocons, thinks that's a terrible idea.  Their editorial said:

... He must not, under any circumstances, trade away our ongoing plans for a missile-defense facility in Poland and the Czech Republic, a course he hinted at yesterday.  Russia simply has no concession to offer that is worth the U.S. losing its ability to protect itself and its NATO allies from missile attacks launched by a mad mullah or terrorists who gain control of nuclear weapons.

The Examiner is concerned that Mr. Obama might agree to give up our missile defense in return for a Russian promise to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, a far more worrisome notion than the exact number of Russian missiles:

Whether the Russian Bear has 2,200 nuclear warheads or "just" 1,675 is a comparatively minor detail.  In contrast, Iran's possession of even one nuclear warhead on a long-range missile is all-important to us and our European allies.  We must have a missile-defense system in place to defend against nuclear blackmail.  That is why President George W. Bush planned the missile-defense facility for Eastern Europe, which Obama now seems willing to entertain stopping in return for soothing promises from Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. [emphasis added]

Dissing the North Koreans

Let's think about that for a moment.  We hear that Mr. Obama is considering giving up missile defense in return for the Russians preventing Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.  Even though the Russian news media report that "no clear-cut promises were made," Mr. Obama is giving a distinct impression: that to him, the possibility that Iran might get a nuclear bomb is more worrisome than the fact that North Korea already has a few.

Poor Mr. Kim!  He tests several nuclear bombs, he fires missiles which go further than Iranian missiles, he helped Iran, Pakistan, Syria, and Libya with their nuclear programs, yet Mr. Obama isn't worried about him! Mr. Obama talks about giving up missile defense to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb without expressing concern about Mr. Kim who already has several.

Sometimes, no matter what a small country does, it can't get no respect.  There just ain't no justice.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Foreign Affairs.
Reader Comments
Maybe Obama thinks that Israel is more important to protect than Japan. Iran's nukes worry Israel. North Korea's nukes worry Japan. Question: who is REALLY our better, more practical ally? Japan. No question.
July 10, 2009 9:21 AM
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