North Korea is not the next Iraq

Could North Korea be the next Iraq? It’s too early to tell.

The United States just began talks with North Korean and Chinese diplomats in Beijing. The nations hope to resolve a standoff over Pyongyang’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

According to, North Korea revealed in October that it was trying to develop nuclear weapons. The swift U.S.-led victory in Iraq prompted North Korea to talk.

It’s too soon to tell whether these talks will lead to disarmament. South Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan said the negotiations could take two to three years.

“Dialogue has just started. This is only the beginning of a long process,” Yoon said.

At least North Korea is willing to talk about things. Iraq wasn’t. Another difference between North Korea and Iraq is that North Korea admits it has weapons. Its leaders are not interested in hiding weapons in their country (or others) and denying the weapons’ existence. They aren’t playing games. They want to come to some kind of agreement.

There is also little to indicate that the Bush Administration is interested in launching a preemptive strike.

Attacking North Korea is too much of a risk. North Korea could afflict a heavy loss of life to South Korea.

The war on Iraq was what the Bush Administration called a unique situation. They understand that unlike Iraq, North Korea will not be easy to defeat. Fighting them would take much longer.

Both sides could experience great loss if we go to war. Nobody wants that.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said he wants South Korea and Japan to be included later on in the talks. The Administration wants the talks to continue.

China, North Korea’s chief ally doesn’t want this war, either. China lost 1 million soldiers that they sent to fight for North Korea in the Korean War.

Hopefully these talks will lead the United States and North Korea to some kind of agreement. If they can solve their differences with peaceful means that would be ideal.

Again, only time will tell if North Korea will disarm. But they are showing signs of cooperation and war should not be necessary. North Korea is a different situation than Iraq, and it is unlikely that history will repeat itself.