June 26, 2008

"This can be a moment of opportunity for North Korea."

"If it continues to make the right choices it can repair its relationship with the international community."

President Bush, removing North Korea from the terrorism list.

23 comments:

Bissage said...

North Korea submitted a long-delayed declaration of its nuclear program on Thursday, . . .

Well, in this world you don't get something for nothing.

Hope we didn't promise the NoKos vast quantities of gasoline and corn.

LarsPorsena said...

"Hope we didn't promise the NoKos vast quantities of gasoline and corn."

I was thinking maybe..a trillion dollars in carbon offset credits would be the ticket.

Trevor Jackson said...

Appeaser.

Padre Steve said...

Hmmm.... not sure about this one!

Roger J. said...

the NORKs track record of keeping their promises is even worse than Senator Obama's--remains to be seen if they actually comply.

ron st.amant said...

whew..that's good...it would have been hard to fit all of North Korea into GITMO.
of course, it is sad to see the Bush administration hates America by negotiating with terrorists but remember only Democrats hate America.

Beth said...

Can we leave them on the list of isolated, paranoiac nations led by bat-shit crazy lunatics?

Sofa King said...

Trust...but verify!

knoxwhirled said...

Can we leave them on the list of isolated, paranoiac nations led by bat-shit crazy lunatics?


second that

BillHall said...

Evil one day, not evil the next...it's a good thing Pres. Bush's foreign policy doesn't include any Obama-type contradictions!

Theo Boehm said...

Maybe George Bush should send Sir Archy as an envoy to Pyongyang. After all, he's the semi-official Althouse "Inspector of Lunaticks."

Who could be more appropriate to monitor an agreement with North Korea than a fictitious ghost?

And his diplomatic(k) reports should be good for a few laughs, too.

Revenant said...

This seems unlikely to amount to much. North Korea left out the most critical of the information they were supposed to supply, and there isn't really any valid excuse for their having done so. It isn't like they've got so many nukes that they haven't had time to count them.

Hopefully Bush won't make the mistake that Clinton did, and give North Korea a sweetheart deal for the sake of having a diplomatic success on his resume.

Eli Blake said...

Bush has little choice.

It's not about whether North Korea will comply, will not comply, or whatever.

Given what a mess he made out of Iraq (the first country on the 'axis of evil list') and the fact that our being bogged down their five years later for all practical purposes prevents us from seriously threatening to invade Iran (the second country on the list) so that they can be as bellicose as they want to be, he needed to at least be able to claim he was successful with one of the three.

This isn't about North Korea, it's not about nuclear proliferation, it's not about food, it's not about supporting terrorism and it's not about whether we can trust them or not.

This was about Bush needing to have something he could point to as a success when he goes home to Crawford next January. If this agreement turns out to be a lemon-- well, the warranty expires in seven months.

Revenant said...

Given what a mess he made out of Iraq (the first country on the 'axis of evil list') and the fact that our being bogged down their five years later for all practical purposes prevents us from seriously threatening to invade Iran

What prevents us from "seriously threatening to invade Iran" is the fact that Congress is controlled by a party which not only flatly refuses to consider the idea, but keeps making up stories about Bush's secret plans for war with Iran in order to scare their base into voting for Democrats.

The fact that we've got an army in Iraq makes it *easier* for us to invade Iran if we chose to. We'd have to stop militarily supporting the Iraqi government in order to do that, of course -- but that's what people like you and Obama keep saying we *ought* to do anyway.

Roger J. said...

Eli--that is absolutely the lamest analysis I have ever seen--in your view this is simply a "legacy" question? He already has one of those with Libya--(forget that one didnt you)--I think if the NORKs actually do cease and desist, the president will have hit a home run.
But for god's sakes man--don't let your view of Iraq and/or Mr. Bush take your eye off the ball. Unless of course you consider the norks with a nuclear capability a good thing.

MadisonMan said...

What prevents us from "seriously threatening to invade Iran" is a stretched-thin military.

Revenant said...

MM,

It is only "stretched thin" if we continue occupying Iraq. Since Democrats want to pull all our troops OUT of Iraq, the Iraq war cannot be used for an excuse for not taking action elsewhere.

Obama isn't saying "we should pull out of Iraq and strike Iran". He's saying "we should pull out of Iraq and meet with Iran unconditionally to talk some more".

veni vidi vici said...

More multilateralism from the Chimpy McHitlerburton. Oh, wait...

Bob said...

Iran would be an excercise for tactical aviation and missiles. Neither of those are "stretched thin". Navy could mine some harbors for good measure. Having troops in Iraq and Afghanistan does provide the US more options and facilitates intelligence gathering.

With this Bush can aurgue his legacy is that he dealt with 2 out of the 3 axis of evil countries along with Libya and Afghanistan. At least he showed he learned from Clinton's mistake and he's verifying before turning over the aid.

section9 said...

What the Dems never seemed to get that Rice understood immediately was this; Kim was interested in resolving the 1950-53 Korean Conflict on terms that would leave him in power and with diplomatic relations with the U.S.. The nuclear issue is a smokescreen for the larger issue of the diplomatic resolution of the Korean War.

The Kim Regime is not terribly long for this world. I would bet that in ten years, North Korea won't exist, and will be unified with the South as a Neutral Power. The Chinese simply don't have an interest in pumping up Kim like this, as long as we're heading out of Korea. Forcible reunification is out of the question; South Korea is a great trading partner with the PRC.

As long as the Korean state could serve as a buffer between Japan and China, a unified, neutralist Korea would do no harm to larger Chinese interests, and indeed, would contribute to economic growth in Manchuria.

The handwriting is on the wall for the Chia Pet. Rice understood this, which was why she persuaded Bush to give Chris Hill carte blanche. People like John Bolton, Yglesias, and the Kos Kids, trapped in their respective partisan narratives, did not.

Rice is correct, the U.S. has no permanent enemies. However, what is left unsaid is the converse: we have no permanent friends. Democrats haven't understood this since the time of FDR.

Theo Boehm said...

That is excellent analysis, Section 9.

Please comment more around here. We can always use more informed, fresh thinking.

knoxwhirled said...

being bogged down their five years later for all practical purposes

"for all practical purposes"

At least you had the decency to add that little phrase, because it's pretty disingenuous to totally ignore that we're making significant progress in Iraq now.

Balfegor said...

I think if the NORKs actually do cease and desist, the president will have hit a home run.

Mmm. Yeah. Not terribly likely that. On the other hand, South Korea was apparently permitted to witness the destruction of part of the Yongbyon facility, and that's a positive development. On the gripping hand, South Africa did kind of the same thing with their nuclear programme, filling the facilities in with cement, but they didn't actually stop nuclear weapons development until a decade later; they just used underground labs or something. And on the other gripping hand, that doesn't say anything about the uranium refinement North Korea continues to deny.

Re: 公安9課:
Kim was interested in resolving the 1950-53 Korean Conflict on terms that would leave him in power and with diplomatic relations with the U.S..

I've heard this argument advanced by one of the South Koreans who worked on the KEDO discussions. So it has a certain amount of credibility. And it may be that the son has privately renounced the ambitions of that father. But it would take a lot to convince me. I've never seen any evidence for this, and his behaviour -- firing ballistic missiles over Tokyo Bay? -- does not seem well calculated to provoke an endgame in which he attains that end, other than by dumb luck. Negotiations don't work too well when you're relying on your negotiating partners divining your true non-hostile position by magic. If there are those signals being exchanged behind the scenes -- and there may well be -- I've never seen a hint of it in the press, only groundless speculation that maybe that's what he wants. I guess the press might be concealing information about those kinds of exchanges out of respect for national security concerns? Hahaha.

Kim Jong-Il knows perfectly well that he can prevent an invasion by the South -- that's why his mouthpieces occasionally threaten to turn Seoul into a sea of flame. And that's basically all the deterrent he needs. Urban South Koreans don't want to go back to third world lifestyles. Even the most right-wing South Koreans I know aren't in favour of invading the North.

And Kim Jong-il must know that America is highly unlikely to initiate an invasion of the North, given that they'd almost certainly sacrifice Seoul -- a city larger than New York, with half the population of all South Korea -- in the process. Our most optimistic projections have something like 500,000 dead in the first few days of conflict, with, no doubt, thousands or millions more to perish as we pushed north.

Establishing, as he deliberately has done, that he can strike at Japan makes sense to me only as a means of deterring the United States from intervention in a Korean war that has already resumed. And that suggests to me that he wants to keep the possibility of a conquest of South Korea open to himself or his successor. He'd lose badly if he tried now. But a decade or two hence? Things might be different. And he can wait. After all, they've waited 50 years already.

The Kim Regime is not terribly long for this world. I would bet that in ten years, North Korea won't exist

This is the kind of wishful thinking that underpinned Clinton's lunatic Agreed Framework deal with North Korea, where we agreed to give them advanced nuclear technology. Everyone thought that Kim Il Sung's lackadaisical son would be incapable of asserting control over the government, and we'd get a general or a junta or something practical to negotiate with. Those hopes were disappointed.

Kim Jong-Il might die tomorrow. Or in a decade. Or in two decades or three -- he's only in his mid-60s, and he comes from fairly long-lived stock (his father ruled until his death at 82). This is the same kind of thing we ran into with Castro, where for the past twenty years, everyone thought he was just about to die, but he never actually did. We shouldn't betting on his dying anytime soon. We may be waiting a long time. And his worthless sons, like Kim Jong-Il himself did in the past, may use that time to get their act together and take control of the secret police or the army, to prepare for the eventual succession. And then we'll be stuck waiting for someone new to die. It could go on forever.