The Obama Administration’s new proposal to set up a “liaison office” in Pyongyang may be the most disturbing development of his administration’s entire approach to North Korea. It would, in effect, elevate diplomatic relations between the two governments just seven months after North Korea tested a nuclear weapon, and just nine months after it tested an ICBM, all in flagrant violation of multiple U.N. resolutions. Now, after North Korea has made no meaningful concessions on disarmament and even demands recognition as a nuclear power, we propose to offer a gesture of legitimacy to the most undeserving of regimes. To achieve this new concession, North Korea need only return to disarmament talks, something it has done in one form or another since at least 1992. It has stalled and cheated us with great success ever since, not because North Korea is run by geniuses, but because America’s diplomatic class is populated by imbeciles who never tire of buying the same horse again.
Let’s not pretend that we gain anything from this gesture — we always have the “New York Channel” and multiple means of talking to the North Koreans if we need to. With all of the North’s egregious offenses against us, and against humanity itself, surely we can demand something tangible in return — a cessation of its counterfeiting of our currency, of its dope smuggling, of its constant threats against the South, of its proliferation of WMD’s, or of its supply of surface-to-air missiles and RPG’s to terrorists via Iran — before we begin making such important concessions. Is the North incapable of accounting for a single South Korean or Japanese abductee first? Can’t it permit one Red Cross visit to just one of its hideous gulags? Don’t any of these things matter to us? This move really seems to portend that we’re heading back down the road of giving North Korea concessions for nothing — appeasement, pure and simple.