July 15, 2003

U.S. and NoKo Drifting Towards

U.S. and NoKo Drifting Towards War?

So says former Clinton Secretary of Defense Bill Perry. Meanwhile Dave Sanger has the latest from Pyongyang:

"Some see last week's declaration as a negotiating ploy. They believe that North Korea has been frustrated by Mr. Bush's refusal to engage in one-on-one negotiations, insisting instead that China, Japan and South Korea act as partners in finding a regional solution. Mr. Bush's real motivation for resisting bilateral talks, his aides say, is that he fears that Asian nations will press the United States to reach some kind of deal similar to the one the Clinton administration signed a "freeze" on nuclear activity in return for aid.

Other officials believe that Mr. Kim's government has simply decided that it can make both Washington and its Asian neighbors accept North Korea as a new nuclear power."

Perry wants the U.S. to start negotiating, apparently even in a bilateral framework, per his recommendation to employ "coervice diplomacy." But bilateral negotiations are a format that practically beg U.S. concessions--rewarding NoKo for its nuclear brinksmanship. That's the major reason bilateral negotiations, I think, aren't being pursued and are considered a bad idea contra Perry's contention that:

"From his discussions, Perry has concluded the president simply won't enter into genuine talks with Pyongyang's Stalinist government. "My theory is the reason we don't have a policy on this, and we aren't negotiating, is the president himself," Perry said. "I think he has come to the conclusion that Kim Jong Il is evil and loathsome and it is immoral to negotiate with him."

And to what extent has North Korean policy been hobbled by divisions between differing approaches at State and Defense?

"There is an ongoing search for consensus within the administration itself," said Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute. "The lack of a consensus to a significant extent has prevented U.S. policy from unfolding."

But why did the very same Nicholas Eberstadt say the policy was working to Larry Kaplan a short while ago in TNR?

Meanwhile the blockade idea is poo-pooed by Perry too: "Perry argued that an interdiction strategy "would be provocative, but it would not be effective" in preventing the sale of nuclear material. "You don't need a ship to transport a core of plutonium that is smaller than a basketball," he said."

Developing.

Posted by Gregory at July 15, 2003 12:46 PM
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