US Hypocrisy on North Korea: Let's Talk About Israel's Nukes

President Obama's administration is pressing for diplomatic
retaliation, perhaps in the form of more sanctions against North Korea,
after Pyonyang launched a rocket into space. There are conflicting
reports about the success of the launch. North Korea says the rocket
carried a satellite, which is now orbiting the earth. That's according
to state-run media in North Korea, which reportedly broadcast patriotic
songs and images of Kim Jung Il, praising him for the launch. The US,
meanwhile, said the launch failed to reach orbit, landing in the
Pacific Ocean. According to The New York Times,
"Officials and analysts in Seoul said the North's rocket, identified by
American officials as a Taepodong-2, flew at least 2,000 miles,
doubling the range of an earlier rocket it tested in 1998 and boosting
its potential to fire a long-range missile."

There is
disagreement at the Security Council over whether North Korea violated
any UN resolutions with the US on one side and Russia, backed by China,
on the other. The Obama administration has called the launch a
"provocative act." "We think that what was launched is not the issue;
the fact that there was a launch using ballistic missile technology is
itself a clear violation," said
UN ambassador Susan Rice, who is pressing for more sanctions against
North Korea at the Security Council. Chinese officials said North
Korea, like other nations, had a right to launch satellites. "Every
state has the right to the peaceful use of outer space," said Russia's deputy U.N. envoy, Igor N. Shcherbak.

Obama used the launch in his major address in Prague, which has been
characterized as an anti-nuclear speech. "Rules must be binding," he
said of North Korea's launch. "Violations must be punished. Words must
mean something."

Many countries around the world certainly see hypocrisy in the Obama
administration's position on North Korea. Israel has repeatedly been
condemned by the UN for its occupation of Palestinian lands. Moreover,
it has hundreds of nuclear weapons with estimates ranging from 200-400
warheads. What's more, Israel and the US are in league with North Korea
in the small club of nations
that have refused to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Other
nations include: China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, and Pakistan. In
his Prague speech,
Obama said his administration "will immediately and aggressively pursue
U.S. ratification," saying, "After more than five decades of talks, it
is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned."

All of this must be kept in context as the "crisis" with North Korea
continues to unfold. US hypocrisy on the nuclear issue takes away
credibility the US has in its condemnations of North Korea, or Iran,
for that matter. "Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a
real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran's neighbors and
our allies," Obama said in Prague. Obama used Iran to justify a
controverisal central European missile system, saying, "As long as the
threat from Iran persists, we will go forward... with a missile defense
system that is cost-effective and proven." Obama did not mention Israel
once in his speech and has never acknowledged its nuclear weapons
system. Perhaps Obama should ask Arab and Muslim nations in the region
what country they see as the biggest nuclear threat.

And this historical fact, which to Obama's credit he acknowledged,
should never be forgotten: One nation in the world has used nuclear
weapons-the United States.

In a statement, Peace Action,
cautiously welcomed some of Obama's positions outlined in Prague, but
said, "President Obama's statement that [a nuclear weapons-free] world
might not be achieved in his lifetime is very disappointing. Obama can
and should announce the initiation of negotiations on the global
elimination of nuclear weapons. Similarly, his promotion of nuclear
power, missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic and his
escalation of troops in Afghanistan are all moves in the wrong

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