Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Evidence for the Defense from Romania

Ion Mihai Pacepa has an excellent article in National Review Online saying some things about North Korea that should probably be obvious to everyone, but are somehow not.

Pacepa is the highest-ranking defector from the former Soviet Bloc. One of Ceauşescu's top intelligence officers, he was a valuable commodity for the West. He knew firsthand what the world was able to confirm only after the dictator's death: that Romania also had a secret nuclear weapons program, continued despite assurances given to the world that it had no such thing. Pacepa writes:


In my other life, as a Romanian intelligence general, I was at the beck and call of another 5’4” dictator involved in building nuclear weapons in a defiant bid for survival and respect, and nothing short of death was able to deter him from achieving that goal. Not even the defection of his top nuclear-weapon adviser — myself.


Pacepa links a Canadian proliferation report in his article that is worth reading. From the section on Romania:


Former Romanian spy-master Ion Mihai Pacepa, who defected in 1978, has accused the former regime of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu of initiating a nuclear weapons program. Pacepa was with the Romanian secret police, the Securitate, for 27 years before defecting. He also alleged that Romania was cooperating with Pakistan.


And also this:


There is also irrefutable evidence that Romania had black-market nuclear trade relations with another 'threshold' nuclear weapons state. In 1990, the post-Ceausescu Romanian government disclosed that 12.5 tonnes of heavy water it had purchased from Norway in 1986 had been secretly diverted to India ~ a country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. [186] Again this transaction was in violation of NPT commitments.


But the conclusion is what's especially interesting:


These proven violations of Canadian and international proliferation regimes indicate the relative ineffectiveness of those protocols in the face of an unscrupulous and determined regime.


Right. And that's the point that the Democrats simply will not grasp in this latest crisis. I understand the temptation to blame North Korea's nuclear program on the supposedly "failed" diplomacy of the Bush Administration. This gives the comforting illusion that the United States is actually in control of the situation.

But we are not.

North Korea would have developed the bomb anyway. The only way to stop proliferation is to get rid of proliferating regimes. Romania only reported to the IAEA after Ceauşescu had been shot, hanged, burned, and dragged through the streets by an angry mob. I firmly believe that the North Korean danger will not subside until something similar has happened to Kim Jong Il. George Bush (of whom I am not a fan in general) is the only president I know since the Korean War who is taking a proactive approach to this problem. It is a gamble, but I point out again that this gamble would not have been necessary if Clinton had done his job, and Carter had been left out of the loop entirely.

If the Democrats want someone to blame for the current crisis, they need to point the finger at their own presidents. Geroge Bush's faults are many - they should have no trouble finding other things to blame him for. But the North Korea crisis is patently not something that can be laid at his feet. Quite the contrary, he is the only one doing anything at all about it - and is, if I am not mistaken, the only American president who can make that claim. This article by Pacepa should help to illustrate that point.

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