The focus on American foreign policy has shifted toward North Korea, especially when the Korean Central News Agency announced that Kim Jung Il stepped up the manufacture of his country’s nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, this government-controlled agency intimated that the catalyst for increased production was the direct result of an imminent invasion planned on the part of the United States to give South Korea total control of the entire peninsula.

Part of this paranoia stems from the American-led invasion into Iraq in search of nuclear weapons.

This, in turn, causes people to jump to the conclusion that President George W. Bush is responsible for the problems mounting in North Korea. However, what people need to consider is the fact that North Korea’s development of uranium enriched plants and construction of nuclear weapons predates President Bush’s administration.

In fact, the uranium enrichment program that took place at Pyongyang was originally reported back in 1994, a time when President Bill Clinton was leading America’s foreign policy.

This is not the only major issue left unresolved by Clinton. He failed to secure a peaceful end to the mounting conflict in the Middle East. More importantly, he squandered several opportunities to capture the world’s most sought-after terrorist, Osama bin Laden. The Sudanese government offered to turn him over, but Clinton rejected them each time.

World News magazine reported these unsettling facts following September 11. Author Mindy Belz cited Clinton’s inability to respond as a result of his impeachment hearings.

I call attention to this information based on the disdain that many young Americans have for Bush. While the degree of ineptitude in maintaining and handling issues of foreign policy extends beyond the capabilities of past presidents, his culpability for events like North Korea and September 11 are minimal if not nonexistent.

The more general issue pertains to our ignorance and our lackadaisical behavior toward discovering the facts. Americans have become more indifferent about the quality of the reported news.

All people care about is the extreme content of an article, not the amount of time spent investigating the issue. With the rise of the Internet, news became more fragmented and Web sites post unreliable information. It seems today that the perception of many Americans is misguided and sources of information are corrupted.

The only way to correct this ignorance is to investigate the issues. Search for other sources that can confirm these reports. The rest of the world views Americans as impulsive and radical cowboys. Let’s change this perception by acting more skeptical about news reporting.

Serafini can be reached at jserafini@campustimes.org.



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