The United States has faced a reality check in recent months as we have been forced to face our foreign policy double standard. The disparity of respect offered by America to nuclear and non-nuclear countries could not be clearer as our President makes concession after concession to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il while taking a tough stance on non-nuclear Iraq.

Our president knows, as do most experts, that war against North Korea would almost undoubtedly result in the nuclear bombing of Tokyo, Beijing or Seoul. Yet, herein lies the difficulty for Mr Bush. If the President is to, at least formally, justify the war against Iraq as a war against nuclear proliferation then he only proceeds to discredit himself by failing to face down North Korea, a dangerous nuclear adversary. Of course the President cannot afford such public disgrace going into the 2004 elections and as such, he chose to drastically downplay the situation with North Korea.

There is little doubt that North Korea is a greater immediate threat to the security of the United States and the security of her allies than Iraq, yet there is also little doubt that the President’s attempt to replicate the Gulf War has little to do with the preservation of world security. Bush’s less than decisive stance on North Korea serves not only as a message to Americans about the illegitimacy of a war in Iraq, but also as a message to other non-nuclear countries. Our President is, very clearly, encouraging countries presently without a nuclear arsenal to build one given that by doing this they may gain at least the respect if not the admiration of the world powers.

Since the advent of nuclear weapons, the United States has never declared a state of war with another nuclear country, because any such war would be certain suicide and any gains made would prove fruitless compared to the millions of lives that would be lost. Regardless of what some may believe, there can be no such thing as a “limited war” in which two powers may fight with all their military might without ever falling back on their nuclear capabilities, and as such,war between any two nuclear powers is almost beyond the realm of possibility or at least sanity.

Only after this realization can we truly begin to realize our government’s need for haste in a war against Saddam Hussein, for if the Iraqis were to develop nuclear weapons, even short-range nuclear weapons, the result of any war would be catastrophic. Consequently, the administration believes if they are to secure United States oil prospects in Iraq for years to come, they must certainly do it now, while the decision to wage war is still a reasonable one.

The mission in Iraq is clear for all to see; our President, fresh off a failing attempt to catch the man who murdered thousands of American citizens, is attempting to lead the public by the nose in order to carry the 2004 elections. This war is not about nuclear proliferation, or world peace and security, it is about oil and votes in light of these truths, American citizens are forced to ask themselves: how many lives is my SUV worth? How many barrels of oil will it take to justify to a mother the death of her son, and how many families, both Iraqi and American, must die so that we might pay a few cents less at the pump?

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