U.S. allows North Korea to sell arms to Ethiopia.

There's a problem with sending mixed messages. It complicates and delays the achievement of a goal.

Hip-Hop is sending mixed messages on "hoe," "bitch," and "nigger/a". Period.

But there are definitely other examples of this practice. Take for example, the U.S. sending mixed messages here -- encouraging a deal between Ethiopia (who the U.S. is supporting in their preemptive war in Somalia right now) and North Korea (who the U.S. is supposed to be sanctioning because of their desire to pursue nuclear weapons). Not to mention that the U.S. still is the country with the most nuclear weapons in the world.

Okay, yeah, let's talk about the trouble with sending mixed messages, shall we?

(NY Times) Three months after the United States successfully pressed the United Nations to impose strict sanctions on North Korea because of the country’s nuclear test, Bush administration officials allowed Ethiopia to complete a secret arms purchase from the North, in what appears to be a violation of the restrictions, according to senior American officials.

The United States allowed the arms delivery to go through in January in part because Ethiopia was in the midst of a military offensive against Islamic militias inside Somalia, a campaign that aided the American policy of combating religious extremists in the Horn of Africa.

American officials said that they were still encouraging Ethiopia to wean itself from its longstanding reliance on North Korea for cheap Soviet-era military equipment to supply its armed forces and that Ethiopian officials appeared receptive. But the arms deal is an example of the compromises that result from the clash of two foreign policy absolutes: the Bush administration’s commitment to fighting Islamic radicalism and its effort to starve the North Korean government of money it could use to build up its nuclear weapons program.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, as the administration has made counterterrorism its top foreign policy concern, the White House has sometimes shown a willingness to tolerate misconduct by allies that it might otherwise criticize, like human rights violations in Central Asia and antidemocratic crackdowns in a number of Arab nations.

It is also not the first time that the Bush administration has made an exception for allies in their dealings with North Korea. In 2002, Spain intercepted a ship carrying Scud missiles from North Korea to Yemen. At the time, Yemen was working with the United States to hunt members of Al Qaeda operating within its borders, and after its government protested, the United States asked that the freighter be released. Yemen said at the time that it was the last shipment from an earlier missile purchase and would not be repeated...

John R. Bolton, who helped to push the resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea through the Security Council in October, before stepping down as United Nations ambassador, said that the Ethiopians had long known that Washington was concerned about their arms purchases from North Korea and that the Bush administration should not have tolerated the January shipment.

“To make it clear to everyone how strongly we feel on this issue we should have gone to the Ethiopians and said they should send it back,” said Mr. Bolton, who added that he had been unaware of the deal before being contacted for this article. “I know they have been helpful in Somalia, but there is a nuclear weapons program in North Korea that is unhelpful for everybody worldwide.

“Never underestimate the strength of ‘clientitis’ at the State Department,” said Mr. Bolton, using Washington jargon for a situation in which State Department officials are deemed to be overly sympathetic to the countries they conduct diplomacy with...

American officials said the Ethiopians acknowledged that the ship was en route and said that they needed the equipment to sustain their Soviet-era military. Ethiopia has a longstanding border dispute with Eritrea, but of more concern to Washington, Ethiopia was also focused on neighboring Somalia, where Islamic forces that had taken over Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, six months earlier and were attacking Baidoa, the seat of a relatively powerless transitional government that was formed with the support of the United Nations.

The timing of the shipment was extremely awkward, as the Ethiopian military was preoccupied with Somalia and also quietly cooperating with the United States. Ethiopia began an offensive in Somalia to drive back the Islamic forces and install the transitional government in Mogadishu late last year. The United States was providing it with detailed intelligence about the locations of the Islamic forces and was positioning Navy ships off Somalia’s coast to capture fighters trying to escape the battlefield by sea.

On Jan. 7, American AC-130 gunships launched two strikes on terrorist targets from an airstrip inside Ethiopia, though it did not appear that the casualties included any of the few top operatives of Al Qaeda American officials suspected were hiding in Somalia. (article)

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