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MSNBC February 10, 2005

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Feb. 10

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OLBERMANN: Tonight, looking backwards internationally is only almost as terrifying as looking forwards. The government of North Korea suddenly announced today it has nuclear weapon, it won‘t resume disarmament talks anytime soon, and that the bombs are defensive measures against what it called “the grave situation created by the U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK.” That would be the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea.

The statement does not quote President Kim Jong-Il in its English version. No, it actually refers to, quote, “nukes,” unquote. It says the announcement was provoked in part by remarks made in, quote, “the president‘s inaugural address and the State of the Union address and the speech made by the secretary of state at the Congress hearing to get its approval, et cetera,” unquote.

Specifically, the statement refers to Secretary of State Rice‘s references to North Korea as one of the, quote, “Outpost office of tyranny.” The reaction here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is an unfortunate move, most especially probably for the people of North Korea because it only deepens the North Korean isolation from the rest of the international community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN: Well, what do we do now. I‘m join by John Pike, the director of GlobalSecurity.org, an expert on nuclear weapon proliferation. Mr. Pike, good evening. Thanks for you time.

JOHN PIKE, DIRECTOR OF GLOBALSECURITY.ORG: Good evening. Yes.

OLBERMANN: The North Koreans are saying we‘re ready to destroy them or try to topple the regime or otherwise act aggressively toward them, so they have these nukes. Why did they say this and is it true?

PIKE: I think they said it, because it is true. I think they‘ve said it because of Kim Jong Il likes to control the pace of event. Things have pretty much been calmed in the six-party talks last year. And I think that Kim Jong Il believes that he can have his cake and eat it, too. That he can have a nuclear deterrent against the United States, so we don‘t think about military action against him, the way we did against Saddam Hussein.

And that he can continue to get economic assistance from primarily South Korea but also China, because those countries fear that if sanctions were imposed on North Korea, North Korea might collapse and they‘d have a refugee crisis on their hands.

OLBERMANN: So in this context, what do we do?

PIKE: Well, leadership is what happens when all your choices are bad. And I think the Bush administration has a real good opportunity for leadership here, because the choices are bad. They were contemplating military strikes against North Korea‘s nuclear and other facilities in early 2003. But by June of that year, they decided not to do that. They‘ve been negotiating since then, and the negotiations are going nowhere. They‘re deploying missile defenses to try to deal with it, but though don‘t seem to be working. And Kim Jong Il has the option of doing additional things like today‘s announcements to make it impossible for to us forget that we have a problem. It‘s not clear what the administration is going to do. Because all of the choices are bad.

OLBERMANN: Is this to some degree the Bush doctrine being used by another country to bite us in the back side? I mean, we say we see a threat to our security, we‘re entitle to act first. And then we‘re not equating the rightness or wrongness of the argument, but the North Korean say they see a threat to their security, so they‘re entitled to act first?

PIKE: Well, I think that it is difficult for some Americans to remember. But we‘re still at war with North Korea. We have a choice with them, but there has never been a peace treaty ending the war that many Americans, including my father fought in back in the early 1950‘s. So we still have some hostile relations to work through.

OLBERMANN: The nuclear proliferations expert, John Pike. Great thanks for your time and perspective.

PIKE: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: If the 9/11 FAA

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