Today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this while visiting Luxembourg:
We are confident that the United States, with our alliance with the Republic of Korea, with the South Koreans, with our deterrent capability on the Korean Peninsula, that, of course, the United States and its allies can deal with any potential threat from North Korea, and North Korea I think understands that.By contrast, last September, Vice President Dick Cheney was quoted by the LA Times:
The deterrence that kept the superpowers at peace for four decades — the threat of mutual destruction by nuclear weapons — will not work against terrorists, Cheney said.I know, I know, you think I'm conflating apples and oranges. Rice is talking about a state, Cheney is talking about non-state terrorists.
"Deterrence doesn't make a whole lot of sense. There isn't anything they value" that can be used to bring the conflict to a standoff, he said.
Except...this is the administration that conflates them, remember? As reported by NewsMax (Fox) in October:
Secretary of State Colin Powell pressed North Korea on Sunday to return to nuclear disarmament talks even as he branded the communist country a "terrorist state" that has "no respect for human rights."OK, this is even stronger. Cheney to the LA World Affairs Council, January 14, 2004:
neither containment nor deterrence offers protection against rogue regimes that develop weapons of mass destruction and are willing to pass along those weapons secretly to a terrorist on a suicide mission.And, of course, we mustn't forget President Bush's 2002 State of the Union address:
Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.Hmmmm.
...[Iran and Iraq material deleted]...
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred.
In a few years, will Rice be explaining why deterrence can work against Iran?
Or, one year from now, will Cheney be explaining why it won't?