North Korea Allows US Inspectors

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When Town Hall was in its infancy on CompuServe, and I was writing three columns a week, Jimmy Carter’s illegal negotiations with North Korea that resulted in US assistance in building nuclear weapons to be aimed at Los Angeles and Chicago inspired my most vitriolic pieces. What bothered me, perhaps, more than anything was the fact that Carter’s meddling had me siding with Clinton. That was 1994.

Ten years later, we are still digging out from that mess. There were some in the Clinton administration, as there are in any new administration, spoiling for a fight with the communists to prove Clinton’s manhood. Clinton himself was not averse to a high-stakes standoff with the K-combs. Carter’s capitulation before CNN cameras left Clinton with no choice to build nuclear reactors for North Korea while fueling its cruel communist dictatorship with American gasoline and oil.

Today, after three years of Bush administration snubbing of the North Koreans, our screw-you policy is paying off. North Korea will permit US, not UN, nuclear inspectors into its facilities. While Pyongyang’s new semi-permeability may be a ploy to prove to the US that they have an advanced nuclear weapons program, it will give US inspectors a chance to more fully understand what the communists are up to. Moreover, coming on the heels of Libya’s capitulation and a potential new opening in Iran, it could signal that the last and most recalcitrant of the Axis of Evils nations, having witnessed the Saddam medical exam videos, is ready to play by the rules. If so, my 2004 predictions are already shot, and the Bush doctrine is on its way to becoming the most successful Western foreign policy position since the American Revolution.

Predictions Part I

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Everyone does it, so I’ll join the fray. If you feel tempted to wager based on these predictions, please just send the money to me: I need, and your chances of getting a return are much better.

The US economy will continue to expand at the fast pace since the Reagan administration through the second quarter. While new home construction will slow, service and other sectors will more than take its place. Unemployment will improve in fits and starts, but it will be more than half a percentage point lower by the end of the second quarter as the economy creates 100,000 more jobs than existed at the peak in April 2000. The Dow will close above 12,000 and the NASDAQ above 2500 by the end of July. The media will begin concentrating on “underemployment” and working poor, finding no other negative economic news to talk about. The federal budget deficit, according to the CBO, will begin to shrink in 2005. Japan’s economy helps the US and European economies, but other factors keep France and Germany in a Carteresque recession of malaise.

Jacko will be tried and convicted on some minor child abuse or endangerment charge, but he’ll escape the most serious charges. The pack of lies he spewed to Ed Bradley will be his undoing, as his attorneys try desperately and unsuccessfully to quash the video of the 60 Minutes piece. Madonna will do something outrageous. Alec Baldwin will embarrass himself with his mouth.

The terrorism in Iraq will subside substantially after a major US military push in the spring. The Army and Marines will round up most of the rebel leaders along with their cash and weapons. By July, Iraq and the war will be non-issues to George Bush’s dismay.
World Politics
The US and UK will continue to marginalize France and Germany, but Putin will get Russia back into our good graces by pumping oil at record levels, lowering the price of gasoline in the US to about $1.00 a gallon my late spring. Saddam’s trial will reveal French violations of UN embargoes against Iraq committed as recently as February 2003 and with the knowledge of Chirac and other senior leaders. Blair’s popularity will swell after a terrorist attack in London is partially thwarted by British commandos. Syria and Iran capitulate to the Coalition of the Willing, turning over terrorists, plots, and weapons. North Korea remains a major problem, and our relations with Beijing deteriorate after we cozy up to Russia. Japan’s economy rebounds.

Election 2004
Howard Dean’s star will begin to fade after Iowa and New Hampshire as Gephardt and Kerry do better than expected. After getting slaughtered in the South, Dean’s will lose financial support from big donors, becoming dependent on college students’ lunch money. The media will turn against Dean after more embarrassing gaffes make him appear frivolous and juvenile. Gephardt will emerge as the only candidate who can beat Bush, but the economy and the success in Iraq will make even a Gephardt run impossible. Late primaries will give the nomination to Dean as the DNC realizes its best bet is to let circumstances undo “McGovern” him. Bush wins with 55% of the popular vote, losing only Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island in the electoral college. GOP picks up 27 House and 6 Senate seats.

War Dividends

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Back in 1989, the term Peace Dividend was all the rage. Peace Dividend referred to money Democrats could spend on welfare programs and pork as a result of the end of the Cold War. Today, Bush and Blair announced a new, better, and real dividend: the dividends of war.

After seeing the effectiveness of Bush’s policy in overthrowing Saddam, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has admitted trying to develop weapons of mass destruction — but now plans to dismantle all such programs. The US and UK made the announcement, today, after months of secret negotiations with The Colonel.

No rational human being can conclude that Qadhafi’s actions are the result of anything but good old fashioned fear of the hell the US military can unleash. Qadhafi instigated the negotiations in April, just after the US, UK, et al, launched the war to liberate Iraq. He knew he was next, and Bush’s comments left no doubt.

“In word and in action, we have clarified the choices left to potential adversaries,” Mr. Bush said.

Three cheers for real men of substance, Bush and Blair, whose steadfastness against evil, the UN, and terrorism has wrought yet another dividend.

Markets Update

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Well, the President gets more positive coverage with a press conference, the Army announces the arrests of Iraqi resistence leaders based on information contained in documents found with Saddam, and the markets respond by turning down. The Dow, up by more tha 80 points earlier in the day, is at +60, while NASDAQ is just about flat at +2.
The American investor class knows nothing of patriotism. Sometimes, at seminal moments in history, it is right to subordinate your personal wealth to the national or world good. But the same “me first” monied folks who sold like mad after 9/11–Warren Buffett foremost–are padding their pockets today. Greed and selfishness know no bounds, political, patriotic, or otherwise.