"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Monday, April 16, 2007

North Korea No Show on first Deadline

Odd that. North Korea is late or has missed its first deadline in the newest deal to with the U.S. and its multi-lateral negotiating party. According to The NY Times:

“The first deadline for North Korea to shut down and seal its main facility for manufacturing nuclear weapons fuel expired Saturday with no apparent action by the North to fulfill its commitments.”

China has asked the U.S. for patience. Ok, not like we have any other choice right? The Times get a dig in, with (italics mine):

The inaction leaves President Bush vulnerable to attacks from hawks in his own party, who have argued that it was a mistake to return $25 million in frozen funds to the North Koreans — much of it believed to be from illicit sales of counterfeit currency and missiles — and who doubt that the North Koreans will stop producing bomb fuel as well as give up all of its existing weapons.”

Damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. But that said, allowing the release of the Kim Jong-il obsessed over, $25 million in frozen accounts strikes me as incredibly stupid. According to Claudia Rosett these funds were part of the estimated $500 million to $1 billion earned per year:

“via illicit deals in narcotics, counterfeit cigarettes, counterfeit U.S. currency and other scams, as well as weapons deals. Some of the players and money trails overlapped and intertwined with targets of two major inter-agency sting operations carried out in the U.S. in 2005, dubbed “Royal Charm” and “Smoking Dragon,” aimed at cleaning up alleged North-Korean-related criminal networks with tentacles reaching into the U.S.”

Former Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton prior to and in anticipation of a missed deadline said:

“One sign of whether we are in trouble is whether the administration will call this a ‘violation’ or use words like “noncompliance.”

Now would one call that prescience or war mongering? How about the common sense of previous actions or statements are a good indicator of future action? Good thing this Bolton guy didn’t bother going through the difficulties inherent in a partisan up or down vote to return to the U.N.; we wouldn’t want anyone like that there would we?

Even South Korea is “threatening” the stopping food aid that had been promised to N.K. to take the steps necessary in shutting down its reactor and nuclear advancement activities. Those mean South Koreans, of all the blustering and “threatening” that has the potential of derailing “business as usual.” Let’s not throw any monkey wrenches into the works that may confuse the great Kim il.

According to a TIME Magazine “piece,” Robert Einhorn who worked for almost 30 years with the State Department on North Korean nukes said:

"The North Koreans don't seem to realize that it is not in their interest to keep undermining and embarrassing those in the Bush Administration who want to find a negotiated solution. In for a penny, in for a pound. The Administration has no choice at this stage but to be patient a few days longer and see if the North Koreans will comply."

No they don’t seem to realize it or perhaps they do, but common sense does point toward waiting a few days to see what happens. Einhorn adds, predicting:

"The Chinese will now be more inclined to come down hard on the North Koreans for further foot-dragging."

Will the Chinese actually come down hard on N.K. or will it just be more diplomatic appearances….I see appearances in the future, if only because “diplomacy” is business as usual.

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