May 09, 2005

Let's Re-Adopt the Failed Clinton North Korea Policy!

Suzanne Nossel, guest-blogging chez Dan, is talking NoKo and heaping scorn on the hapless Bushies:

So here's the question? Will an Administration that has been loath to even privately concede failure or make mid-course policy corrections have the initiative and the flexibility to innovate on its North Korea policy now that it has to?

This has the potential to be an important test of what the consequences are of the kind of rigidity and unwillingness to concede error that has been a unique hallmark of this Administration.

All the more so because it isn't obvious what would work better than the Administration's steadfast refusal to deal bilaterally with the North Koreans, its attempt to outsource leadership over the negotiations to China, and its position that the North Koreans need to commit to dismantling their program before any incentives are put on the table.

But when a policy on something as vital as North Korea is clearly, it is incumbent on an Administration to pursue other options.

In this case, one of the few routes conceivably open is to try to build an international consensus, probably in the form of a UN Security Council resolution, that North Korean proliferation is intolerable. That would allow us to mount an internationally credible effort to verify exactly what the North Koreans are up to.

But the consensus isn't there right now. Too many countries believe, rightly or wrongly, that the U.S.'s unyielding policy bears some of the blame for escalation, and that if we approached things differently crisis could be averted.

So to get to international consensus it looks as though the U.S. will first have to agree to try bilateral talks, if only to convince likely UN Security Council hold-outs in Moscow and Beijing that every alternative to UNSC action has been exhausted. This doesn't mean abandoning the six party framework (which has largely been abandoned already) but it does require augmenting it. [emphasis added]

So let me get this straight. Suzanne wants the U.S. side to make a major concession (in return for what, pray tell?) by entering into direct bilateral negotiations with the North Koreans. But for what purpose would we go down a road that all but begs further American concessions (bilateral negotations usually force horse-trading right out of the gates)? To go the extra mile to persuade China and Russia that we've exhausted every diplomatic alternative so as to get a UNSC resolution teed up! So sayeth Suzanne. But, er, what's the point of all this?

Cue a succinct Anthony Cordesman:

"What's the U.N. going to do? Pass a Security Council resolution saying that it's a bad idea for North Korea to proliferate? I don't want to say, 'So what?' but it's pretty close."

Indeed. Put differently, why would Kim Jong II listen to the policy pronunciamentos emiting from Turtle Bay if he's, all this long time, been giving short shrift to major regional players like Russia and China? There are other problems with Suzanne's post (aside from her use of Kerryesque soundbites about 'outsourcing' NoKo policy to Afghan warlords..wait, sorry, to China...). Suzanne, rather conveniently, doesn't deign to mention how the Clinton Administration was bamboozled by the North Koreans with the '94 Framework Agreement. Kim was only too happy to pretend to play ball, and many naifs in Democrat national security circles got all excited that progress and compliance was in the air. Diplomacy works! Such giddy cheer was premature in the extreme, of course, and you'd think that Democrats would be careful to not carp from the sidelines too breezily (see Suzanne: "what's missing from the Administration's non-proliferation strategy[?]...in short, a strategy")) on North Korea policy given the rank fiasco they so recently presided over.

Incidentally, it's quite possible that Kim Jong Il is bluffing with regard to the latest prospective test going-ons:

North Korea has been known for its elaborate bluffs, and the activity at Kilju could merely be a ruse. The United States gave North Korea hundreds of millions of dollars worth of food aid in 1999 in exchange for permission to inspect an underground site at Kumchang-ri suspected of being a nuclear facility. The tunnels were found to be empty.

Also, note some South Koreans have expressed some skepticism (and isn't the bit about the reviewing stand a tad rich?):

The official cited "construction activity" and "flows of supplies" to a tunnel that could be used in an underground detonation. He emphasized, however, that data from overhead imagery is inconclusive and that the purpose of the construction could be shoring up or extending the tunnel for other purposes.

The New York Times reported Friday that the North Koreans appeared to have built a reviewing stand, prompting fears of an imminent test.

South Koreans have been more cautious in their assessments. They note that Kilju is a heavily populated area, making it a poor choice for a nuclear test. The Defense Ministry told reporters this week that Kilju had been under scrutiny since the late '90s for signs of unusual activity. Other South Koreans have said it is one of several sites in North Korea that could be used to test atomic weapons.

What might the North Koreans be up to? Hoping that, with alarm bells ringing around the Beltway, Bush will decide to do something to keep the apocalpytic nuclear test at bay. Suzanne and the Democracy Arsenal types would have us jump--pretty much at Kim Jong's bidding--into bilateral negotiations to break the impasse. This has failed as a strategy before; and I'd be very hesitant to go down that road again. B.D's thoughts? Consider trilateral break-out sessions during the next six-party talks among China, the U.S. and North Korea. Such a forum would allow for exploration of potential areas of compromise and perhaps allow for some headway (assuming the Chinese are not secretly signaling, wink-wink, to Pyongyang that they don't mind the rough status quo). Regardless, at least such an informal, trilateral break-out wouldn't reward the North Koreans with the major concession they have been hankering for for years (bilateral negotiations) just because the New York Times banners a lede about a possible reviewing stand going up around Kilju and the Brookings gang gets atwitter that something be done. Frankly, Suzanne's handwringing that we must be seen to have turned over every rock so as to get Beijing and Moscow ready to play tough at the UNSC strikes me rather a waste of time and a pretty futile exercise all told. Is all this but an "ABC" diatribe (Anything But Clinton?) from the right? No, not really, though I will say Clinton's North Korean policy was really quite sad indeed.

Note too, the Carnegie Report that Derek Cholett approvingly points to here doesn't really move the North Korea policy debate forward much. Oh yes, go ahead and develop an "international consensus" at the UNSC. Yes too, throw in a special envoy while you're at it who is "empowered" (and what of poor Chris Hill?). "Further enhance" our relations with Seoul and Tokyo too! And so on. Nothing really new here, folks. And the Carnegie etude ducks the Big Question of whether talks need be bilateral. Bottom line: Bush is handling an immensely complex North Korean situation about as well as could be. The sniping from Suzanne notwithstanding. Oh, ok, I'll concede there's been a scent of drift in the air of late. But at least Bush hasn't been proferring carrots, willy-nilly, while the recipient of all the largesse cheats and makes a mockery of all the agreed-frameworking in the air...that, of course, was the record of the Administration Suzanne served.

UPDATE: Rotating trilaterals. Now that's the ticket!. Meanwhile, Prak is sticking up for bilaterals. Now we know why....! Heh.

Posted by Gregory at May 9, 2005 04:50 AM | TrackBack (10)
Comments

The solution will come when North Korea's protector and patron gets tired of Kim's arms dealing, and shuts him down.

Practically, there's nothing we can do NOW. He will have or already has Nukes. His whole regime is based on exporting military hardware and tech for cash, so it's not surprising any agreement we sign with him won't be honored. That's just reality.

Diplomatic hardball is to put the Taiwanese up to discreetly enquiring of Kim if they can buy all his nukes, money no object, and leaking said enquiry to the Chinese.

THAT will get Kim's leash pulled quick, a coup, and nukes removed to Beijing for "safekeeping." All else is jabber. Kim will stop when the Chinese make him.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at May 9, 2005 09:14 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Those who question the value of the Clinton approach based on the Bush regime's presentation of "intelligence" need to be reminded that the Bush and his minions have consistently exaggerated and distorted intelligence on WMDs in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Cuba ---- and went out of its way to lie about the sale of nuclear materials from NK to Libya. Basing one's conclusions on what Bushco is telling people about NK is a fool's game at this point, because we know that they cannot be trusted on non-proliferation issues.

Clinton's policy was a success. Neither the US nor NK was fully in compliance with the terms of the Agreed Framework, but NK had stopped building bombs, and (reportedly) we were very close to reaching an agreement on missiles.

People who understand the issue of nuclear weapons production understand that plutonium enrichment is the key to creating nuclear weapons---and prior to Bush's deliberate provocation of North Korea, that nation had completely shut down its plutonium production. There is scant evidence that North Korea was even enriching uranium prior to 2001, and there is no question that North Korea did not have either the equipment or infrastructure (3000 centrifuges running full time with a steady supply of electricity) necessary to create a uranium based bomb. The US failure to make good on its promise under the "agreed framework" of supplying NK with light-water nuclear reactors, combined with NK's lack of other resources with which it could produce electricity, strongly suggest that any uranium enrichment efforts that may have existed prior to 2001 were directed at producing fuel rods for nuclear power plants capable of producing electricity. (It should also be noted that the "agreed framework" did not specifically prohibit uranium refinement --- it did, however, require NK to remain in complaince with the Non-Proliferation Treaty that allowed for "peaceful" uses of nuclear technology. Of course, the US had never taken its own obligations under NPT seriously when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpiles.)

Most critically, however, is the fact that North Korea was at the bargaining table. NK wasn't extracting plutonium from spent fuel rods, was nowhere near coming up with a uranium based bomb, and was not threatening its neighbors or the United States. Instead, it was deeply involved in negotiations with the South Koreans on numerous "Korea" issues it wanted to resolve, and progress continued to be made on the negotiations taking place under the agreed framework.

The bottom line on the Clinton approach is that it was working a HELL of a lot better than Bush's saber rattling and provocations in achieving the goal of preventing NK from producing more than the two or three nuclear weapons that NK had developed prior to the "agreed framework."

The whole NK controversy appears to exist solely because Bush wanted his Star Wars program --- but when Clinton left office, there was simply no need for one. US nuclear superiority meant that any sane nation would never even consider a nuclear attack on the USA --- the US needed an "enemy" that was both crazy enough to consider attacking the US with nukes, and had the potential capacity to do so. When Clinton left office, NK was not acting "crazy", and did not have the means to send missiles to the US. Bush's shutting down of the talks under the "agreed framework" at the very beginning of his term has to be seen as a deliberately provocative act designed solely to create a "need" for Star Wars where none existed.


Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 9, 2005 12:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Actually, lukasiak, Occam's Razor is the preferred method. The "Agreed Framework" was used by Lil' Kim to sucker us into leaving him alone for awhile while his people could conclude their enrichment program. The Clintons were silly enough to buy into his sucker's game. Bush wasn't.

When they were done, voila! They had the bomb! Stop blaming "Bushco" when Kim was simply being devious and acting in his own platform-soled self interest.

Posted by: Section9 at May 9, 2005 12:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

A stomach turning phenomenon, though valuable, if one can learn anything from it.

Ah well. Perpetuating and repeating lies great and small does have its uses, as so many totalitarian regimes have so often discovered.

Though the toxins often cause much destruction until the perpetrators themselves are toppled, as they ultimately must be.

Small solace.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at May 9, 2005 12:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

talk about empty outrage ...

Posted by: praktike at May 9, 2005 02:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Actually, lukasiak, Occam's Razor is the preferred method. The "Agreed Framework" was used by Lil' Kim to sucker us into leaving him alone for awhile while his people could conclude their enrichment program. The Clintons were silly enough to buy into his sucker's game. Bush wasn't. When they were done, voila! They had the bomb! Stop blaming "Bushco" when Kim was simply being devious and acting in his own platform-soled self interest.

Nice try.....but the reason that the "agreed framework" happened was because it was assumed that NK already had a couple of plutonium based nukes, and the agreed framework stopped them from getting more.

As already noted, a "uranium based" nuke requires far more equipment, time, and energy to produce than a plutonium bomb does. Without the thousands of centrifuges working full time (and sucking up enormous amounts of electricity that NK doesn't have) to extract weapons grade uranium, there was no chance that NK would have a uranium based bomb --- and there is no evidence that NK had thousands of centrifuges working to extract weapons grade uranium at any point during the Clinton years.

NK is now estimated to have 6-8 plutonium based bombs at its disposal (and still no uranium based bombs, of course --- all the screaming and yelling by Bushco about NK's extraction of uranium was pure panic-mongering). And the reason NK has doubled or tripled its nuclear weapons capacity is because of Bush's belligerant foreign policy.

Bush's confrontational tactics resulted in NK extracting plutonium from spent fuel rods. Bush tried to bully NK, and NK told Bush to stuff it.

What I find most amazing is that right-wingers would be the first people to insist that the US stand up to agression and bullying tactics, yet seem to think that no one else should do so. To expect any nation to unilaterally disarm itself of its primary deterrent against agression in the face of threats and agression is simply insane --- its the kind of thing that only the most wacked-out leftists would have ever proposed that the US should have done during the cold war. But this is precisely what the wingnuts think that NK should do.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 9, 2005 02:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It's possible to suggest better ideas for administration policy in this area without apologizing for the North Korean regime, don't you think? After all, historically the aggression in Northeast Asia since World War II has come almost entirely from North Korea, as opposed to being directed at North Korea. And if Pyongyang didn't have a nuclear program the most it would have to suffer would be the indignity of knowing that 95% of Americans could not find North Korea on a map.

Posted by: JEB at May 9, 2005 03:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It's possible to suggest better ideas for administration policy in this area without apologizing for the North Korean regime, don't you think? After all, historically the aggression in Northeast Asia since World War II has come almost entirely from North Korea, as opposed to being directed at North Korea. And if Pyongyang didn't have a nuclear program the most it would have to suffer would be the indignity of knowing that 95% of Americans could not find North Korea on a map.

I'm not apologizing for NK, I am however trying to explain that NK is not acting "crazy", but is doing exactly what any other nation would do in the same situation.

But as for claiming that since WWII NK is responsible for all "agression" in NE Asia --- that's pure poppycock. The Korean communist party was the primary source of resistance to the Japanese occupation of Korea during WWII, and at the end of the war was highly popular. The Korean people wanted elections held, but the US blocked elections in Korea because of the inevitability of a communist victory in those elections. That is, until the US got the communists to agree to delay elections --- a move that was extremely unpopular with the Korean people. The end result was the civil war in Korean, in which the Soviet Union and the US used Korea as its proxies in the cold war.

The eventual cease-fire agreement in the Korean War resulted in NK becoming a client state of the Soviet Union --- and NK would up being completely reliant upon the Soviet "nuclear umbrella" for its own defense. The dissolution of the Soviet Union meant that NK was forced to fend for itself against the US, which continued its hostility toward NK's communist regime. The net result was that NK started pursuing nuclear weapons --- and by the time Clinton came into office, was well on its way to having them.

Clinton was presented with a fait accompli --- a paranoid, highly repressive, economically desperate nation that had enormous destructive capacity. NK did not represent a direct threat to the US, but it could wreck havoc on our allies in South Korea and Japan. Clinton's approach was sound --- contain the threat, and work on reducing the potential for NK's paranoia to result in a nuclear disaster for our allies. And that approach, although not without problems (GOP congresscritters blocked the administration from fulfilling a key promise of the Agreed Framework by not funding any of the costs associated with the construction of the promised light water reactors), the agreement were successful in shutting down NK's weapons productions programs, and significantly reducing tension in the region.

And that is what is really important here --- the Clinton approach was achieving its goals of stopping the production of further nukes and assuring NK that the US's intentions were not agressive toward NK. Bush's decision to unilaterally break off the bilateral talks that were an essential part of the Agreed Framework signalled to NK that the Clinton approach was no longer in force, and that the "bad old days" of the cold war were once again at hand.

Now, if you are North Korea, what are you going to do?

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 9, 2005 04:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak: "the Clinton approach was achieving its goals of stopping the production of further nukes and assuring NK that the US's intentions were not agressive toward NK."

I think it would be more fair to say that the Clinton approach was achieving its goal of kicking the ball down the field! That is, we were able to put the NK situation on hold for a while, at a cost of US $$ propping up the worst regime on the planet. But of course, we did not succeed at moderating Kim's regime or eliminating his nuclear ambitions.

And it's also clear that China was perfectly happy to have the US pay off NK, while allowing China to continue to maintain NK as a client state. The present six-way policy is sensible in that it brings China to the table - can we really imagine any effective reform of NK unless China is one of the countries enforcing the deal? And objectively, China has the most to lose when Japan and South Korea declare as nuclear powers in response to NK.

Posted by: Doug at May 9, 2005 06:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think it would be more fair to say that the Clinton approach was achieving its goal of kicking the ball down the field!

its called containment, and its a policy that worked with the Soviet Union despite the fact that they were an actual threat to th USA.

But of course, we did not succeed at moderating Kim's regime or eliminating his nuclear ambitions.

our allies in the region were satisfied with the progress being made, and they have the most at stake. And NK nuclear ambitions were contained, and although it was unlikely that NK would have disarmed anytime soon, with just two nukes NK wasn't in a position to act agressively as long as the US made it clear that agression was unacceptabe, and any use of nuclear weapons by NK would be answered 10 fold by the US.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 9, 2005 09:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

North Korea shut down their plutonium power plants but continued their uranium enrichment program through the entire term of the Agreed Framework. They were, at no time, in compliance with the Agreed Framework or the NPT. Also, the North Korean missile program made significant strides during the lates nineties, marked by the successful launch of the Taepodong 1 in 1998, the first successful test of a two-stage missle for the DPRK. It was also in that year that North Korea tested its first three-stage missile launch, but it is believed the third-stage failed.

This prompted the Clinton Administration to withhold food aid to North Korea in a successful attempt to prompt Kim Jong Il back into the four-way talks, which yielded no concessions on the DPRK missile program. However, Kim Jong Il did squeeze another 150,000 tons of heavy fuel oil out of the deal.

Posted by: The Indigent Blogger at May 10, 2005 01:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think it would be more fair to say that the Clinton approach was achieving its goal of kicking the ball down the field!

Yes, while the Bush approach has been to walk off the field and let the North Koreans score one uncontested touchdown after another ... all the while congratulating themselves for "refusing to play their game."

What a bunch of posturing, murderous buffoons.

Posted by: Swopa at May 10, 2005 01:38 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I'm not apologizing for NK, I am however trying to explain that NK is not acting "crazy", but is doing exactly what any other nation would do in the same situation."

So now starvation and slavery are exactly what any other nation would do in the same situation?

Libya comes immediately to mind, and will have to suffice as a singular case for disproving your whole line oif argument, as I don't have the time to list the scores of other nations that would certainly fill that list.

Anyrate, that's quite the turn-around for a posuer who just finished lecturing a previous board on the horros of Genocide...

Posted by: Tommy G at May 10, 2005 03:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Clinton's policy was a success."

You explained this so well that there's not much for me to add. Greg seems to feel that the willingness of North Korea to cheat on the agreement makes the agreement worthless. Now, I would agree that negotiating an agreement with someone who you think will try to cheat you is not a good idea if you can avoid it. But I think that it was the best option under the circumstances, and it worked.

In response to Tommy G: Bush didn't call Qadafi a "pigmy," say he "loathed" the man, and include Libya in the "Axis of Evil." And Libya didn't have much of a nuclear program to begin with.

Posted by: Kenneth Almquist at May 10, 2005 04:17 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"But as for claiming that since WWII NK is responsible for all "agression" in NE Asia --- that's pure poppycock. The Korean communist party was the primary source of resistance to the Japanese occupation of Korea during WWII, and at the end of the war was highly popular. The Korean people wanted elections held, but the US blocked elections in Korea because of the inevitability of a communist victory in those elections. That is, until the US got the communists to agree to delay elections --- a move that was extremely unpopular with the Korean people. The end result was the civil war in Korean, in which the Soviet Union and the US used Korea as its proxies in the cold war."

Do you have any citations for the 'US refusal to allow elections'?

Posted by: JackC at May 10, 2005 07:22 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The net result was that NK started pursuing nuclear weapons --- and by the time Clinton came into office, was well on its way to having them."

The North Korean nuclear program goes back way further than the collapse of the USSR.

Posted by: Cutler at May 10, 2005 07:25 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The way to pressure NoKo is via economic screws from China.

The way to get China to tighten those screws is to make it in her interest to do so.

The way to make it in China's interest is to raise the spectre of a nuclear-armed Taiwan.

ie: Taiwan needs to start sounding very concerned about the threat from NoKo and Taiwan needs to start musing about the need for her own deterrent.

A bit risky, but possibly quite effective?

Posted by: ronb at May 10, 2005 08:46 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Cheating a bit, but this is my comment in reponse to Suzanne's post from Drezner's blog:

The criticism of the Bush administration's policy assumes that there was a diplomatic strategy that could have eventually led to NK giving up on going nuclear. Why assume this? Why does Kin Jong Il want nukes? Two reasons: 1) as an economic bargaining chip. As in 1994, NK knows that it can create a crisis situation rather easily by playing the nuclear card. They then use this card to bargain for greater concessions (since domestic resources and international aid after the Cold War is minuscule) and 2) to provide (what is now viewed by many as guaranteed) security on the cheap. NK (as well as Iran) already had this view of nukes (that once you acquire them states like US are unlikely to intervene in your country), but the actions of the US have, if anything, reinforced this view. North Korea is an increasingly weak state in a neighborhood that includes increasingly more powerful countries (including two they do not trust in the leastóthe US and Japan), so their incentive to acquire nukes is extremely high. My bet is that even if they return to the bargaining table they will make minimal concessions in exchange for aid and some kind of security guarantee, all the while maintaining a program (much as they did in 1994). Nuclear acquisition is basically a foregone conclusion IMO in North Korea. The real question is to what degree is this really a problem. On the one hand, a nuclear North doesnít shift the balance of power in the region. They are still deterrable both conventionally and unconventionally. The real problem would likely be the trading of nuclear arms and/or technology to terrorists or non-nuclear states (ala Pakistan). One answer might be that even this scenario can be controlled due to the fact that any nuclear device used by terrorists would have a return address to the North Korean regime. Again, given Kim Jong Ilís desire first and foremost to retain power, this may be enough of a disincentive to refrain from transferring material and/or know-how to unsavory groups/states. However, this is without a doubt the biggest obstacle. But in terms of a nuclear North Korea posing a direct physical threat to the US or its neighbors I think this is overblown. The regime desires this weapons out of a position and sense of weakness and the desire to survive. Taking the offense would be unlikely under any number of scenarios. But to blame Clinton or Bush for failed strategies is somewhat suspect--it assumes there was a scenario in which NK would give up on the acquisition of these weapons and I have serious doubts about this...

Posted by: bp32 at May 10, 2005 09:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

But to blame Clinton or Bush for failed strategies is somewhat suspect--it assumes there was a scenario in which NK would give up on the acquisition of these weapons and I have serious doubts about this...

in fact, the Clinton policy was successful in preventing NK from acquiring more weapons. NK appears to have engaged in R&D on uranium based bombs while negotiations under the Agreed Framework were ongoing, but NK did not take the necessary steps to procure the thousands of centrifuges necessary to produce weapons grade uranium in sufficient quantities to produce bombs until after Bush signalled his hostility to NK by cutting off the talks associated with the Agreed Framework within weeks of taking office.

I agree that it was highly unlikely that NK would give up the one or two nukes it supposedly had by 1994 in the "short term", but the real goal is prevention of the use of such weapons----and that was achievable under the Agreed Framework.

I also have to take issue with your assumption that NK was motivated by "economic blackmail." The economic components of the Agreed Framework were necessary because NK needed the means to produce electricity, and considering NK's lack of resources, nuclear power plants were a good idea. Of course, "traditional" nuclear power plants created fuel rods from which plutonium could be easily extracted, and thus it was necessary for the US to make economic concessions in order to reduce NK's dependence on such power plants.


Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 11, 2005 03:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak,

the real goal is prevention of the use of such weapons

This is only achievable in practice through the proper implementation of deterrence. Agreed Frameworks and any other sort of negotiation that does not incorporate deterrent threats cannot by themselves prevent the use of nuclear weapons (or any other weapons for that matter). The framework may have slowed or altered the North's acquisition but it certainly did not stop/eradicate it. So they shifted from plutonium to uranium--well, this appears like a perfectly rational thing to do if your goal all along is to develop your own nuclear deterrent threat since you just signed a deal designed to get energy aid in exchange for the suspension of plutonium research--so in the meantime switch to an alternative means.

As far as economic blackmail goes I fail to see your point. Would the North Korean's have received economic concessions unless they (seemingly) traded them for their capacity to produce nukes? If the answer is no then they used their nukes (or the pursuit of) to acquire what they needed. Just because they needed energy doesn't mean the rest of the world was responsible for providing it or allowing them to further produce plutonium with those plants for nuclear weapons. As I recall, they were members of the NPT in 1994 (until 1/2003) and therefore were not allowed to produce weapons. Once they did that they shot themselves in the foot. So they couldn't produce electricity without the nuclear plants--well, that is your problem now. Given that they were in violation of the NPT any concession given to them by the US is, IMO, tantamount to economic blackmail.

Posted by: bp32 at May 11, 2005 08:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

No citations yet?

Maybe I can deduce why...It was actually the Soviet Union that put a stop to elections on the Korean peninsula.

Your rush to blame the US for every ill is obvious and telling.

Posted by: JackC at May 12, 2005 09:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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