Weldon Urges U.S.-North Korea Dialogue
The United States should work cooperatively with North Korea in
order to prevent an armed conflict in the region, said Rep. Curt
Weldon, R-Penn. “Kim Jong Il, (president of North Korea) is
an evil leader. He has used biological weapons on his own people.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk,” he told
a gathering of industry officials in Washington, D.C.
Weldon announced that he is leading an unprecedented congressional
delegation to North Korea in mid-September, to “show them
that America does not want a war on their peninsula.”
A senior member of the Armed Services Committee, Weldon has long
been a proponent of cooperative engagement. He charged that the
positive outcome of U.S. engagement with Russia can be applied to
North Korea. Weldon visited Russia 29 times and is a well-regarded
expert on U.S.-Russia relations. With several other members of Congress,
he co-wrote a list of recommendations to bring U.S. and Russia closer
together, many of which the Russians supported and put into place.
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Bulgarian Missiles to Be Destroyed
Bulgaria, an applicant for NATO membership, recently hired a Phoenix,
Maryland-based company, Controlled Demolition Inc., to destroy approximately
100 Soviet-bloc era missiles, according to Bulgarian defense officials.
The missiles—short- and middle-range SS-23s, Scuds, and Frogs—will
be destroyed by late October, prior to November’s NATO summit
in Prague, during which membership for Bulgaria, as well as nine
other central and southeastern European nations, will be considered.
NATO’s membership action plan requires the countries to retire
Cold War equipment and weapons.
This is the first time that missiles will be destroyed inside Bulgaria.
“Bulgaria doesn’t have a big empty space like the Nevada
desert,” said Maj. Gen. Orlin Marintchev, Bulgaria’s
defense attaché to the United States. The villages surrounding
the military range where the demolition is to take place are approximately
5 kilometers away, he said. Many Bulgarians feared that missile
demolition could possibly cause an earthquake or environmental damage,
so an independent expert commission of Bulgarian scientists was
set up to assess possible damage to the environment, particularly
in the destruction of the 24 SS-23 missiles. These weapons have
a powerful rocket attached to them, which carry solid fuel cells.
That was the reason why Controlled Demolition Inc. was hired, Marintchev
Bulgaria is the last former Soviet Bloc country to destroy its
SS-23 missiles. The Czech Republic, Germany, Russia and Slovakia
have already destroyed their SS-23s, according to Stanimir Ilchev,
head of the Bulgarian Parliament’s national security committee.
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Thermobaric Bombs “Effective,” Says Younger
Steve Younger, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction
Agency recently discussed the attributes of the high-explosive thermobaric
weapon, which has been used in Afghanistan.
“The advantage is that in a confined space, it will produce
a longer pressure pulse and a higher temperature than conventional
explosives,” he told a group of defense reporters.
“Rather than producing a very sharp-pressure pulse, which
then rapidly decays, it produces a longer pressure pulse at higher
temperature. If the intent is to clear out a large volume, such
as a tunnel, or to produce a high pressure that will blow the walls
out of the building, it is a very effective type of weapon,”
he said. “Outside, in the open air, it is no more effective
than a traditional explosive.”
“The thermobaric has led us down to what we believe will
be a very productive path of research, in that formerly we thought
of high explosives inside a warhead with guidance package,”
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Article About U.S.-Euro Rift Makes Splash
In Policy Review, published by Stanford University’s Hoover
Institution, Robert Kagen writes about the widening rift in strategic
policy thinking between the United States and Europe. The article,
entitled “Power and Weakness,” said that Europeans,
in the post-Cold War era, look at the concept of war differently
For the duration of the Cold War, Europe’s “sole but
vital strategic mission was to defend its own territory against
any Soviet offensive, at least until the Americans arrived,”
he wrote. In recent years, Europe has become increasingly hostile
toward the unilateralist policies of the United States, which it
views as a “rogue colossus,” Kagen said. “Europe’s
military weakness has produced a perfectly understandable aversion
to the exercise of military power,” he said.
The article is being compared to “The Clash of the Civilizations?”
published in Foreign Policy in 1993 by Samuel P. Huntington.
Kagen said that Americans favor policies of coercion, are less
likely to work cooperatively with other nations to pursue common
goals and are skeptical of international law, while Europeans “try
to influence each other through subtlety,” and are more tolerant
of the failure of others.
“Given that the United States is unlikely to reduce its power
and that Europe is unlikely to increase more than marginally its
own power or the will to use what power it has, the future seems
to be one of increased transatlantic tension,” Kagen wrote.
He said that the danger is that the United States and Europe will
become estranged, and that all the work done between the two continents
both before and after the Cold War will be marginalized. “Europeans
will become more shrill in their attack on the United States. The
United States will be less inclined to listen, or perhaps even to
To prevent the rift from widening, said Kagen, Europe should build
up its military capabilities, “even if only marginally,”
he said. “It would be better still if Europeans could move
beyond fear and anger at the rogue colossus and remember, again,
the vital necessity of having a strong America—for the world
and especially for Europe,” he wrote.
Kagen criticized the Bush administration for coming into office
“with a chip on its shoulder,” and noted that Americans
must realize that although Europe is not capable of restraining
the United States, it should show more tolerance for the sensibilities
of others and “pay its respects to multi-lateralism.”
Europeans and Americans should understand that their aspirations
are the same, and “a little common understanding could still
go a long way.”