July 01, 2008

North Korea Blackmails, Embarrasses Bush

The Bush administration has made a very dangerous enemy and the present agreement does nothing to lessen that threat. It clearly sends a message to America's rivals that the US can be blackmailed if the stakes are high enough. The United States has been humiliated by a man who many believe is an unstable and ruthless tyrant.

On Thursday, Bush announced that he would remove North Korea from the terrorism list and lift economic sanctions. This follows an earlier decision to provide Kim with massive quantities of oil to meet the North's energy needs; a fact that is ignored by the main stream media. On virtually every issue, N. Korea's leader has gotten whatever he's asked for. This has infuriated many of Bush's biggest supporters. Last week, former United Nations ambassador John Bolton blasted the agreement saying:

“I think it’s a clear victory for North Korea.” They've gained “enormous political legitimacy by being taken off our list of state sponsors of terrorism and out from under the prohibitions of the Trading With the Enemy Act. It’s a very sad day for Bush supporters. It's the final collapse of Bush's foreign policy."

A nuclear-armed North Korea creates bigger challenges for the US in the Middle East. The Wall Street Journal summed it up like this in an editorial on Friday:

"Most troubling is the message all of this sends to Iran, and other rogue states. The lesson is that when you build a weapon, your political leverage increases. Play enough brinkmanship, and you can even receive diplomatic absolution without admitting to having the kind of nuclear device you exploded less than two years earlier. We understand that diplomacy often includes winks and nods, but it shouldn't require denial." (Wall Street Journal, "Leap of Faith")

There's no doubt that Tehran is watching Bush's backpedaling with great amusement or that the Mullahs have seen that the only way to stop the relentless provocation of the US is by building a nuclear weapon. The only difference between North Korea and the last-remaining member of the "axis of evil" (Iran) is five or six 15 megaton nuclear warheads. If that's what it takes to gain the respect of the "international community"; so be it.

The western media has described Bush's capitulation as "a triumph" because Kim blew up the already shut down cooling tower at Yongbyon. Big deal. North Korea did not develop its nuclear weapons at the plutonium plant, but in an underground program which made bomb fuel from enriched uranium. No one denies this. The demolition of the tower was a meaningless public relations photo-op to confuse the American people and help Bush save face. The people who follow developments with North Korea know the truth, that the Bush administration has once again dragged the US through the mud.

The harshest critics of the new deal have been Bush's far-right supporters, like Claudia Rosett, of "The Rosett Report" (a favorite at the Weekly Standard and the American Enterprise Institute) Here's what she says:

"The lesson is that America, faced with a nuclear blackmail, will bow down, dignify tyrants, fork over loot, and celebrate the process as a victory for diplomacy. Were North Korea to detonate a nuclear bomb over Los Angeles tomorrow, I wonder if Condi Rice and Chris Hill, would describe the cataclysm as "troubling" and then re-cast it as a candid and informative addendum to North Korea's promised declaration of its nuclear program."

The message to foreign leaders is clear; the only way to change minds in Washington is by putting a loaded gun to their heads. Countries without WMD simply have no bargaining power. That's the real lesson here and other countries are bound to draw the same conclusion. In 2002, Dick Cheney made his famous statement, “We don’t negotiate with evil; we defeat it”.

Bullshit Dick, you are a coward, and YOU are evil in its purest form...

Immediately after the North detonated a nuclear bomb in 2006, Bush administration officials met in a face-to-face meeting in Berlin. The meeting was kept secret to conceal Bush’s eagerness to meet one-on-one with the North Korean leader. Up until then, the arrogant Bushies had refused to negotiate in person; choosing instead to cower behind the 6 party talks. Kim’s nuclear experiment changed all that and brought about a sudden reversal in the administration’s approach.
“According to Japan’s Asashi newspaper, the two sides signed an agreement under which North Korea would make steps towards denuclearization when the US resumes annual shipments of 500,000 tonnes of oil, which were halted in 2002.” (UK Guardian) Bush was only too happy to oblige.

So much for Cheney's "We don’t negotiate with evil". In fact, we don't negotiate; we cave in and give them everything they want, including the farm.

The crisis with North Korea could have been avoided with skillful diplomacy and a willingness to compromise on the central issues. Now Bush has backed himself into a corner and will have to grovel his way out. That means he'll have to engage in two-party negotiations and work out a deal at the bargaining table. Good luck.

Presently, Kim Jong-il has a stockpile of 6 to 10 nuclear warheads. With a few finishing touches to his Taepodong ICBM-system, he'll be able to wipe out the 9 western states with a flip of the switch. Bush's bungling has put half the country in the crosshairs of a man whose sanity has always been in doubt.

You're doin' a heckuva job, Georgie!

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