It’s the best result we could possibly have hoped for from this worn-out charade.
The U.S. delegation seems to have gone out of its way in the talks. Hill was quoted by China’s People’s Daily as saying his North Korean counterpart Kim Kye-gwan “is obviously professional, and he has a lot of experience, so because he has more experience than I do in nuclear negotiations, it made me have to work hard. I have to do a lot of homework in order to meet with him.” … Meanwhile, Daniel Glaser, the U.S. Treasury Department’s deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, used words like “productive” and “useful” to describe two days of talks on U.S. financial sanctions on the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia with the North Korean side in a bid to soften the atmosphere. [here]
Heave a mighty sigh of relief; after all, Kim Jong Il’s own propaganda machine had already excluded the possibility that he would disarm. The danger was that a desperate Bush Administration would validate that propaganda to exit from office under the cover of a deal — any deal — and pass this fetid status quo down the road. One or two more slow learners have now concluded that there’s no dealing with North Korea. Selig Harrison and Wendy Sherman look incrementally dumber than they did last week. Roh Moo Hyun’s approval rating may now be lower than Emperor Hideyoshi’s. We’ve picked up another great excuse to proceed with the Great Unplugging of Kim Jong Il, and Tom Lantos is less likely to oppose it. As Richardson put it, our “Or Else, What?” moment has arrived (again). And we owe it all to Kim Jong Il’s own stupidity. Look what the AP’s Bo-Mi Lim, usually a transparent proponent of “engagement” reports:
In more than three years of meetings, the North has only committed in principle to disarm but taken no concrete steps to do so — instead going ahead with its first nuclear test on Oct. 9.
“There will be opinions questioning the credibility of the six-party talks,” Japanese envoy Kenichiro Sasae said, without elaborating. He did not say what alternative formats would be proposed, if any.
The U.S. envoy accused North Korea ahead of Friday’s meetings of not addressing the actual issue of its atomic programs.
“When the (North) raises problems, one day it’s financial issues, another day it’s something they want but they know they can’t have, another day it’s something we said about them that hurt their feelings,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said. “What they need to do is to get serious about the issue that made them such a problem … their nuclear activities.”
In other words, we extracted all the cosmetic value we could have wanted from these talks, and substantively, North Korea has made it clear that we’re getting nowhere slowly:
Even when it takes up the nuclear issue, Kim said the North wouldn’t immediately talk about dismantling the bombs it has already made. But he promised the North won’t launch a nuclear attack or sell its atomic technology.
“Since we are already a proud nuclear state, we have already announced that we will not threaten other countries with nuclear (weapons) and fully live up to our responsibility of preventing proliferation,” Kim said.
Feel better? You shouldn’t.
The United States should consider the danger that we could transfer nuclear weapons to terrorists, that we have the ability to do so.
Those words, in themselves, are a causus belli. It is simply our inability to take evil at its face value that prevents us from constructing and pursuing a policy designed to deal with this evil at its source. I don’t believe that this war is best fought, at the least cost, though conventional means, but the North Korean regime will continue to pursue more efficient means to murder until it is destroyed.