Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The US is starting a nuclear fight that will be hard to stop: "The curious thing about this exchange is not so much its intensity as its timing. [US Undersecretary of State] Bolton went nuclear, verbally speaking, only hours before North Korea finally acceded to longstanding US demands for multilateral talks on its nuclear arms ambitions. South Korean officials were relieved that the North had not used Bolton's broadside as an excuse for further prevarication. But like the rest of us, they were left wondering whether Bolton had launched a deliberate pre-emptive strike against the nascent diplomatic process.

"This raises a key question, as America's twin confrontations with North Korea and Iran over nuclear arms accelerate towards a crunch in the next few weeks. In a nutshell, peaceful, internationally supportable, diplomatic solutions to both disputes are available. Their outlines may be clearly discerned; the mechanisms by which they can be achieved are more or less in place. But does the US actually want to cut a deal?"

A key question for the Australian government: does it support peaceful, international diplomatic solutions to the Iran and North Korea issues, or will it support the United States no matter what, even if that means provoking a war?

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