Capitulation to nuclear North Korea 0

 John Bolton writes in the Wall Street Journal:

North Korea has now achieved one of its most-prized objectives: removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. In exchange, the U.S. has received "promises" on verification that are vague and amount to an agreement to negotiate the critical points later.

In the Bush administration’s waning days, this is what passes for diplomatic "success." It is in fact the final crash and burn of a once-inspiring global effort to confront and reverse nuclear proliferation, thereby protecting America and its friends.

Delisting the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a terrorist sponsor represents a classic case of prizing the negotiation process over substance, where the benefits of "diplomatic progress" can be trumpeted in the media while the specifics of the actual agreement, and their manifest inadequacies, fade into the shadows.

In the weeks before being delisted, North Korea expelled international inspectors, first from its Yongbyon plutonium-reprocessing facility and then from the entire complex. It moved to reactivate Yongbyon and to conduct a possible second nuclear-weapons test, and prepared for an extensive salvo of antiship and other missile capabilities. All of this the Bush administration dismissed as North Korea’s typical negotiation style.

The irony is that the DPRK need not have gone to the trouble. President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were apparently ready to cave in without the show of force, and indeed rushed to announce the terrorism delisting during a three-day weekend. Thus, while the North’s macho display was irrelevant, the conclusion Pyongyang will draw is that bluff and bluster worked.

So now Pyongyang has what it wants, and Washington has a vague, inadequate invitation to more verification palavering. In any complex negotiation, implementation is the real test, and nowhere is this more painfully evident than in arms-control agreements.

North Korea is the world’s most accomplished serial violator of international agreements, beginning with the Korean War Armistice Agreement it signed in 1953 and including every other significant subsequent DPRK commitment. Most pertinent here, these breaches include repeated promises to give up its nuclear capabilities, beginning with the 1992 Joint North-South Declaration and the ill-fated 1994 Agreed Framework….

Having bent the knee to North Korea, Secretary Rice appears primed to do the same with Iran, despite that regime’s egregious and extensive involvement in terrorism and the acceleration of its nuclear program. Watch for the opening of a U.S. diplomatic post in Tehran within days after our Nov. 4 election, and other concessions on the nuclear front. Hard as it is to believe, there may be worse yet to come.

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Monday, October 13, 2008

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