There are more bad reviews for the Bush Administration’s decision to pay full price not for North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, but for a “declaration” that omits its nuclear weapons, its nuclear proliferation, and a good share of its nuclear programs.
* National Review thinks Kim Jong Il must be smiling: “The deal that emerged from the six-party talks is indeed making for dramatic headlines and good television. What cannot be said is that it is making us safe.”
* John Bolton declares that the Bush Administration has reached “total intellectual collapse.” He concludes that it is infected with “the audacity of hope” that North Korea will, for the first time in its history, keep an agreement with us:
With much fanfare and choreography, but little substance, the administration has accepted a North Korean “declaration” about its nuclear program that is narrowly limited, incomplete and almost certainly dishonest in material respects. In exchange, President Bush personally declared that North Korea is no longer a state sponsor of terrorism or an enemy of the United States. In a final flourish, North Korea has undertaken a reverse Potemkin Village act, destroying the antiquated cooling tower of the antiquated Yongbyon reactor. In the waning days of American presidencies, this theater is the stuff of legacy.
According to Bolton, those reviewing the declaration have already found some conspicuous gaps.
* At the Wall Street Journal, Melanie Kirkpatrick reminds us why North Korea was listed as a sponsor of terrorism to begin with; while at Human Events, Robert McGinnis summarizes the more recent evidence of North Korea’s terror sponsorship, evidence that the State Department chooses not to examine before de-listing the North.
* Reuters quotes scathing criticism from two of Washington’s leading Korea analysts on the center-right and center-left, respectively:
“What we really have is sort of a Potemkin village of U.S. policy in which there is a great deal of difference between these initial bold pledges and then subsequent reality,” said Heritage Foundation think tank Korea expert Bruce Klingner. [….]
[Charles “Jack”] Pritchard argued that nuclear proliferation was such a great threat that the Bush administration should have viewed the Syria question as a “show-stopper” and put the six-party process on hold to get to the bottom it. “How do you build a credible deterrence in the future if you give them a pass on proliferation that has already occurred?” he told a Heritage Foundation discussion. “I don’t know.”
Whether all of this will be enough to stop this deal from going though is frankly doubtful. Not many people in Congress are really paying attention, and as Chris Hill and the North Koreans no doubt connived it, most of Congress’s 45-day window coincides with a convenient congressional recess.
To the extent the Democrats care, they’re not philosophically opposed to appeasement, especially when it happens on a Republican President’s watch. Aside from a few who are aghast about this collossal sellout, Republicans are either more focused on getting earmarks for home-state pet projects, running for reelection or disinterested in defying a Republican President. The leading Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Dick Lugar, is sometimes described in the Sentate as “a wholly-owned subsidiary of the State Department,” and his staff does everything but share Kim Jong Il’s reviewing stand on May Day.
In short, our political class is incapable of protecting the security of the United States because it’s too distracted by self-interest.
As it’s been said that only Nixon could go to China, only George W. Bush could let Kim Jong Il quite literally get away with murder. Aside from the eminently forgettable matter of the mass murder of millions of Koreans, His Porcine Majesty may also get away with the mass murder of Americans who could yet become the victims of WMD proliferation for which he’s been excused from answering.