"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Remember North Korea? 

For a time, it appeared as though the grownups were in charge of our policy and diplomacy with respect to North Korea (remember them? nukes pointed at Seoul? yeah, those guys). Unfortunately, all that is over now (emphasis supplied):
Hardliners in the Bush administration appear to be winning an internal struggle for control over policy towards North Korea, shifting the focus to containing the communist regime and crippling its “illicit sources of finance” at the expense of diplomatic negotiations over its nuclear programme.

US officials and analysts said Chris Hill, the State Department’s chief negotiator in six-nation talks, risks being marginalised in a policy battle that has characterised divisions within Washington since President George Bush took office in 2001....

Analysts close to the administration said that although Mr Hill’s mandate may not have changed, his efforts risked being undermined if North Korea responded to the increased pressure by refusing to attend further talks, as it has threatened. Hardline conservatives, led by Dick Cheney, the vice president, and Robert Joseph, under-secretary for arms control, did not believe in the use of negotiations, the analysts said.

Note that we have no economic force to speak of to bring to bear against North Korea, so in the absence of diplomacy we have ... nothing.

 

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