The North Korean Nuke

The usual carping critics are assailing Bush and his foreign policy team for an enormous blunder on the occasion of North Korea’s nuclear test. This is so unfair I have to protest.

First, for such a regime to have this capability is completely contrary to the whole international affairs theory of our current leaders, so it’s just rude and disrespectful to remark on it. Second, it was a small one: if its twin gets shipped to a coastal US city, devastation will not even reach to the suburbs, so let’s not get unnecessarily alarmed. Very few people who vote properly live right in the city, and reconstruction will shut up those unemployment whiners pretty quick when Parsons and Halliburton get to work with big no-bid contracts. Third, maybe it was an earthquake anyway: it’s never right to say things that put the president or his team in a bad light during an ongoing investigation. Fourth, it actually went off right in the middle of a country we don’t like, so it counts as an increase in our own national security, just as though we had launched it at them. You could score it like an own goal! FInally, it’s been clear for a long time that the only thing that assures a good election outcome is a nice new war, and this can only grease the skids for a wonderful invasion of Iran. Or Venezuela (intelligence linking Chavez to North Korea is being drawn up as we speak) which has much better weather, and beaches for R & R.

Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Rove will deserve criticism if they make a mistake, and if they ever make one, I’ll note it. In the meantime, it’s only fair to wait while we stay the course and the last throes of this and that play out.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

One thought on “The North Korean Nuke”

  1. I don't think this post was cynical enough. You're *joking* that the administration might not consider this terrible news. From WaPo:
    "Yet a number of senior U.S. officials have said privately that they would welcome a North Korean test, regarding it as a clarifying event that would forever end the debate within the Bush administration about whether to solve the problem through diplomacy or through tough actions designed to destabilize North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's grip on power.
    Now U.S. officials will push for tough sanctions at the U.N. Security Council, and are considering a raft of largely unilateral measures, including stopping and inspecting every ship that goes in and out of North Korea.
    "This fundamentally changes the landscape now," one U.S. official said last night."

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