Open Sources, Feb. 20, 2013

NORTH KOREA, WHICH WAS REMOVED FROM THE LIST of state sponsors of terrorism on October 11, 2008, has threatened South Korea with “final destruction,” … at the U.N. Conference on Disarmament.  I don’t have the original Korean, so I won’t opine on how similarly it translates to “endlossung.”  Discuss among yourselves.

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“The policy we have pursued over the last 20 years — engagement, containment, whatever — has failed to reduce the threat posed by North Korea to the security of the region,” Robert Gallucci said in a keynote speech during a security forum held in downtown Seoul.  [Yonhap]

Gallucci was the guy who negotiated Agreed Framework I, back when it was possible to say we didn’t really know better.

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“We won’t be able to make North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons through bilateral negotiations or dialogue,” South Korean President Lee Myung Bak declared today, publicly admitting what has become the majority viewpoint in South Korea and elsewhere.

He went on, “There is no hope of them abandoning their nuclear weapons until the regime changes or collapses.”  [Daily NK]

The error wasn’t engagement.  The error was engaging the regime, instead of engaging the people despite the regime.

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AND VICTOR CHA AND CHRIS HILL WANT CREDIT FOR IT:  Those two certainly are jealous and possessive guardians of their legacy of failure, aren’t they?  Leaving aside a lot of tough-yet-empty talk, the Bush Administration’s North Korea legacy will always be one of finding a policy that worked, and replacing it with one that couldn’t work.

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NORTH KOREAN PERESTROIKA WATCH:  North Korea holds rallies to celebrate its latest nuclear test.  Clearly, the domestic propaganda theory holds some weight.

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DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL:  “DPRK Service Personnel Vow to Give U.S. Imperialists Finishing Stroke.”  To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, I do not think those words mean what you think they mean.  Please, KCNA — this is a family-friendly site!


  1. It’s embarrassing to make a mistake while correcting someone. Yes, it’s Endlösung with umlaut. As to Bolton and the Glans Plan, I can’t read his piece because it’s behind a paywall; but the Glans Plan is so obviously right that almost all intelligent, decent people support it as soon as they hear it.

  2. … and we agree that John Bolton has all those qualities?

    Actually, the thing about Bolton that the media caricatures never mentioned is that he’s quite funny. A sense of humor is a sign of sanity. It demonstrates a capacity to process contradictions.

  3. Joshua, let’s work on logic. Suppose p and q imply r. That doesn’t mean r implies p and q. In the present discussion, intelligence and decency imply acceptance of the Glans Plan, but acceptance of the Glans Plan doesn’t imply intelligence and decency. For example, I (of course) accept the Glans Plan; I’m decent but not intelligent. John Bolton accepts the Glans Plan; he is intelligent.

  4. Victor Cha reveals an anecdote involving an avid reader of One Free Korea at the US Foreign Service, who must have thought the film clip of Kim Jong-il and Hans Blix in “Team America” would help break the ice at the 6 Party Talks…

    “…members of the US delegation could be heard ‘giggling loudly’ at the film Team America, in which Kim Jong Il is represented as a grotesque singing puppet. ‘One of our members, a jaded foreign service officer, thought it would be “funny” to take the iPod into the adjacent room and show it to the North Koreans,’ he recalls. ‘We decided against this impromptu introduction to American pop culture, and probably avoided a diplomatic incident.”

  5. Interesting link, Spelunker.

    Is this why China preserves North Korea? To keep getting good deals on minerals? Then the leaders of China are effing stupid.

    [A technical note: molybdenum, number 42, is not a rare earth element. Those are 21 scandium, 39 yttrium, and the fifteen lanthanides, 57 lanthanum through 71 lutetium.]

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