If you read enough obscure publications about North Korea and our policies toward it, you’ll eventually run across something by Leon V. Sigal, who is the Director of something called the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security
Project (note the word “hegemony” in its url.) A reader forwards me this piece by Sigal published on Napsnet, a publication of the Nautilus Institute, which was also published in the Japan Focus.
Sigal’s piece is entitled, “How A Mock Trial Could Turn Victory into Defeat on North Korea’s Nuclear Arms.” Sigal argues that opponents of Agreed Framework 2.0 are delaying North Korea’s imminent (believe!) disarmament for the sake of putting North Korea on “mock trial” by demanding answers about how much help North Korea gave Syria to build the al-Kibar reactor even while it was negotiating its nuclear disarmament with us.
Although Sigal thinks that we can afford to wait for those answers while North Korea disarms — Sigal either hasn’t seen or chooses not to mention this, this, this, or this statement of contrary intent — Sigal does not attempt to deny that clandestine nuclear proliferation is, you know, kind of a big deal:
Washington is right to ask North Korea what nuclear help it gave Syria because of the corrosive mistrust such actions cause. But getting an answer is hardly an urgent security concern. It can wait because whatever help North Korea may have given to Syria’s nascent reactor project went up in smoke in Israel’s September 2007 air strike. [Leon Sigal in Napsnet]
It might be easier to take Sigal and his argument seriously were it not for how he’d reacted to these same revelations last October:
“The Syria story is complete nonsense. No one in a position to know has said anything about nuclear transfer. If you go read carefully what officials have been saying, they have not said that.
According to Sigal, the person “not in the position to know” who had been spreading rumors of a connection is John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador in UN. “This is another one of those games that the Boltons of the world play when they see the negotiating track getting serious,” Sigal explained, “which is they throw some threat on the table to try to derail talks that turns out not to be quite the threat they made of it. They exaggerated the uranium enrichment program”¦and tried to use it to block negotiations, and they did so successfully for a while. [Leon Sigal, interviewed by the Daily NK, Oct. 3, 2007]
“From what I have seen, there is simply no evidence what so ever of any North Korean nuclear connection to Syria. My guess is that at the end of the day we will learn the Israelis found something quite different. [Id.]
You can’t help but be in awe of anyone who can spew such ferociously doctrinaire conclusions unassisted by any factual basis for them whatsoever. I’ll offer Sigal’s very submission of his NAPSNET piece as evidence that he holds himself forth as an expert analyst. So has “analysis” ceased to be a rational processing of known facts into conclusions, or has some committee in Geneva voted to reverse this sequence? Not that I would deny Sigal his biases any more than he’s entitled to deny me mine, but if all people are biased and some people are objective, then one can still be biased and objective.
If one can — simultaneously — be as oafish, sloppy, and consistently wrong as Sigal, and also be a recognized expert, then we’re going to have to print a lot more diplomas.