Notes: George W. Bush is known to prefer to see the world in black and white -- you're either with us or against us. International relations, however, weave a tangled web of countries doing what's in their best interest regardless of alliances. Thus, international relations are far too complex to be in black and white, so as Lucy says in the comic strip they're in Technicolor.

We that saw that complexity this past week when Yemen demanded that the U.S. allow a shipment of 15 Scud missiles from North Korea to continue on to its shores. The U.S. had been tracking the shipment since it left North Korea on an unflagged and unidentified ship. On a tip from the U.S., Spain intercepted the ship, boarded it and found the Scud missiles hidden beneath bags of cement. Sound suspicious? The ship was then turned over to the U.S. which heralded its capture.

Here's the score card: Yemen is our ally in the war on terror. North Korea is a member of Bush's "axis of evil." However, the Bush team has no interest and in violent confrontation with the heavily armed North Korea. Moreover, the Bush team does not want to lose the support of government of Yemen (the homeland of Osama bin Laden and a place where terrorists have lived).

There were furious international negotiations, supposedly headed by Dick Cheney and Colin Powell. The official line is that Yemen claims it ordered the missiles before it later agreed not to order missiles from Korea, so Kings-X on this shipment. According to a story in the Washington Post by David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker on December 12, Cheney consulted with Bush and then told President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen that he could have the ship's contents. The story stated that "a senior official described" Bush " 'as a very, very unhappy man' after deciding to send the ship on its way to Yemen."

The U.S. was criticized and ridiculed in Europe for its inconsistencies. In America there was criticism of the Bush team for focusing too strongly on Iraq when there are other dangers to America. "Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn) said he was 'puzzled and troubled' by the administration's decision to turn the Scuds over to Yemen, which he said could 'come back to haunt us.' He noted Yemen 'has a questionable record that includes past support of terrorist organizations,' "
according to a report in the Washington Post dated December 12, by Glenn Kessler and Thomas E. Ricks. 12.15.02