Email Letter to the Sydney Morning Herald 28 February 2004

Subject: Weapons of mass delusion

I’ve forgotten, did the Soviet Union have 15,000 or 25,000 nuclear warheads? Well, it doesn’t matter, let’s call it 5,000, that leaves it comfortably 1000 times larger than the DPRK’s arsenal. And, um, the Soviet Union, that was a fairly hard line communist and dangerous lot, wasn’t it....? At times running with a personality cult? And um, we didn’t have a missile defence shield against them - indeed, we had a policy of supporting a United States policy of NOT having a missile defence system, as part of a policy of strategic balance.

So what’s different. The DPRK (north Korea) is yellow and upstart, that’s obviously. And there is a history of unwillingness on the part of the United States to talk to this country which behaves a little unusually, having been locked in the broom closet of Asia for a long time. A bit like Cuba.

The issue is not who started the Korean War in 1950, or even who signed the armistice in 1953 (the DPRK did but the ROK, south Korea did not); or who breeched the armistice by later introducing nuclear weapons into the Korean peninsula (the USA). The issue is who has the sense to prevent war this time.

A missile shield has never been adopted because sensible people don’t believe in computer based systems that can’t be tested properly. A missile system is a defence mainly against sensible diplomacy and to avoid dealing with people you don’t like.

Dennis Argall


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