While America focuses on the war in Iraq,terrorism and the presidential election, few people think of anotherthreat quietly growing in Asia.
North Korea (D.P.R.K) is acountry with over 23 million people that lies between South Korea andChina. Its leader is the infamous Kim Jong-Il who has ruled since 1994and sent his country into an economic crisis. Since he took control,North Korea has developed a severe deficit and food shortages that haveresulted in many deaths from starvation. Now the country relies almostcompletely on international food aid that is not used for the people,but for his large army. Over 40 in 1,000 infants die before reaching ayear old.
Even more disturbing are the weapons of massdestruction this country is known to have created. North Korea isestimated to have produced over four million tons of uranium. Inaddition, they also have massive amounts of nerve, blister, choking andblood gas chemical weapons with advanced delivery systems like anestimated 100 Scud B missiles and 150 Hwasong-5 missiles. All of theseweapons are armed and ready for an attack against South Korea within 48hours.
Many would claim that this was reported about Iraq andthat Saddam Hussein was just as bad as Kim Jong-Il. Hussein is aterrible man who supported terrorism, but no weapons of mass destructionwere ever found. Footage from Korea shows testing of weapons deliverysystems only a few months ago. Also, Hussein lacked an air force and hadoutdated weapons (like the AK-47 assault rifles common in theresistance). The first of these were created after World War II when theSoviets needed a new machine-gun and developed it for their armedforces.
If the same guidelines we used to attack Iraq wereapplied to North Korea, that country's dictatorship would be gone. In1994 the D.P.R.K. expelled U.N. inspectors and supposedly shut downtheir nuclear reactors. Since then, though, they have acceleratedbio-weapons programs and rebuilt nuclear weapons facilities and airbases. North Korea has turned away the same U.N. mandates as Iraq, yettheir dictator is still in power.
And the question remains: whyIraq? In October, a report from the CIA's Iraq Survey Group concludedthat Saddam Hussein destroyed his last weapons of mass destruction morethan a decade ago. Iraq is in chaos, but North Korea's dictator is stillin power with an ever-growing army and weapons deliverysystems.
Because we attacked Iraq and not North Korea we will notbe able to deal with their weapons of mass destruction. Iraq could take10 years to have a fully functional economy, while North Korea coulddevelop more advanced systems. We have also isolated ourselves in theworld so we could not attack Korea until we are out of Iraq and havereestablished alliances with countries like France whose help iscrucial.
If I were president, I would make plans for a nuclear,biological and chemical weapons treaty with North Korea that would beenforced by China and South Korea. This way we would force North Koreato destroy their weapons without an economy-draining war like Iraq.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.