In late 2002, I listed a few strategic threats. Among them:
- North Korea: Having obtained plans for a working bomb from our ally in Pakistan, they have now reactivated their reactor, and broken the U.N. seals on their equipment for extracting weapons-grade plutonium, in violation of several agreements. A cause for concern perhaps, but Donald Rumsfeld opines that diplomacy "seems to me a perfectly rational way of proceeding".
- Iraq: Has no nuclear weapons, and no immediate prospects of getting the requisite fissile material. Their military is a hollow force which presents no immediate threat to any of its neighbors; their trade is heavily restricted. An immense threat which must be dealt with immediately, by military action.
- Iraq: subjected to a U.S. military invasion which revealed that they had no weapons of mass destruction, nor the immediate prospect of getting any, despite all the rhetoric about "the smoking gun that might come in the form of a mushroom cloud". Furthermore, a leaked British memo from summer 2002, reporting on American plans, said that the Americans at that point already knew that Saddam's "WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran", and that it didn't matter in Washington -- "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of justifying an invasion that Dubya had already decided on. The "mushroom cloud" rhetoric was a plain, deliberate lie.
- North Korea: treated with inept diplomacy, the most recent result of which is apparent preparations for a nuclear test.