Taken at L’Enfant Plaza, at about 11 a.m. today.
Update 2, 9/24: So now that I’ve noticed that I was reacting quite strongly to a seven year-old post, recently retweeted by another blogger–but still, sheesh–let me offer my apologies to Mr. Lewis for the tone of my reaction, and my compliments to Robert Gallucci for at least conceding that the old policy didn’t work.
You know, Jeffrey, you ask that question with a boldness that seems to presume the absence of a ready answer. If reading the bill is too much to ask, then I’ll let Congressman Ted Deutch (D, Fla.) give you the Cliff notes version. (He’s one of 125 co-sponsors, and a respected member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.)
P.S. I can’t speak for others who are also of the hard-line persuasion, but I’m not against talking to the North Koreans. It’s paying them I have a problem with. So now that we’ve framed the question that way, do you or do you not support paying North Korea when almost no one believes they’ll disarm? Because if we can agree that North Korea isn’t going to disarm–and just about everyone does–then I guess talking about paying them is a plan. Now tell me what you have a plan for.
P.P.S. Maybe I can put it this way: our fucking plan for North Korea is actually a plan for fucking North Korea. Or rather, fucking Kim Jong Un, financially speaking.
P.P.P.S. I should be clearer whose plan it really is–and of course, that would be Chairman Ed Royce. Ranking Member Elliot Engel was an original co-sponsor. In the interests of full disclosure, I helped the Committee staff with the drafting and legal advice.
I should also clarify that Jeffrey Lewis is really echoing Robert Gallucci’s question–expletives included–although he does so with apparent approval.
Update: 9/24: Please note the disclaimers here. Anything I write on this blog represents nothing more than my views as a private citizen. I don’t work for the House or any of its Committees or members. I use the possessive “our” above not because I speak for anyone else, but as one of those presumably painted with Gallucci’s broad brush as having no plan because I oppose a continuation of failed “engagement” and “Sunshine” policies.
Although I’ve often disagreed with Gallucci’s policy views, I respect his integrity and the honesty of his appraisals, such as this recent concession:
“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]
This makes Gallucci’s criticism seem especially strange. What good is a plan that’s no different from the one that, by your own concession, doesn’t work?
I’ll begin a gradual return from my hiatus by linking to this excellent op-ed by Rep. Albio Sires, Democrat from New Jersey, on the imperative of addressing North Korea’s human rights abuses. It’s a welcome sign that this isn’t a partisan issue.
This op-ed, by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, follows it logically and compares North Korea’s abuses to some of those that occurred during the Holocaust.
Last Thursday, two days after the hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also held a hearing (on video here). This time, consensus was much less evident than ambivalence, and the views of the State Department were much more in evidence. Most of the oxygen was consumed by the first witness, Special Envoy Glyn Davies.
Our Special Envoy’s testimony, by the way, was sponsored by Deer Park Bottled Water (written statement here).
Chairman Bob Menendez (opening statement here) and Ranking Member Bob Corker* seem to agree that past policies, whatever you may think of them, have failed. (* Yes, Corker, not McCain. Noted.). You may also be interested in what Menendez had to say in Foreign Policy. On the Senate side, it’s just as clear that the current policy direction is considered a failure; it’s less clear what the Senators think a better policy would be, and the State Department’s traditional influence was much more evident in the selection of witnesses.
Say what you will about Davies, but the man certainly knows how to follow a script. Listening to him talk about North Korea’s “deplorable” human rights conditions, or its starvation of its people while it pours money into WMD programs, you wouldn’t think that this was the same guy who once asked a State Department colleague to Trotsky the naughty bits out of a human rights report on North Korea, during the heyday of Agreed Framework II. His statement today reads like an indictment, and he didn’t counsel the senators to show patience or restraint while he works on Agreed Framework III, although later in the hearing, he let on that that’s still his objective. For now, however, the focus has clearly shifted to counter-proliferation and sanctions. Davies mostly talked about U.N. sanctions, but also talked about “national” sanctions, such as the weak ones Treasury recently imposed under E.O. 13382.
Behind the tough talk, however, Davies still sees sanctions as just another way to pressure North Korea back to the bargaining table. To Davies, sanctions are “not punitive, but a tool to impede,” “make clear the costs” of refusing to engage in “meaningful dialogue” and “authentic and credible negotiations” to “bring North Korea into compliance with its international obligations” toward irreversible disarmament. Davies says he (meaning he) “will not engage in talks for talks’ sake,” and that he will insist on “serious and meaningful change in North Korea’s priorities.” I wouldn’t disagree with a word of that last sentence, but then, I didn’t disagree with it when Chris Hill said it, either.
Davies didn’t express, and did not seem to harbor much optimism about diplomacy. He took a swipe (1:30) at the “Camelot” view of Kim Jong Un, a view that he now thinks has been discredited by events. He suggested (1:34) that the most effective sanctions are those directly focused against luxury good and proliferation (seriously?). In his highlighting of sanctions directed at particular categories of transactions, Davies reveals an approach that targets the proceeds of prohibited activities, rather than the instrumentalities of regime maintenance and WMD proliferation. He’s clearly more interested in pressuring North Korea at the margins than in rocking their world.
With respect to what diplomatic approaches stood the best chance of being effective, Davies said that North Korea “allowed” the famine to happen (1:42) in 1990s, so food aid isn’t worth much to the regime as an inducement. He noted that that the Chinese are paying close attention to debates like the one he’s participating in there, at the Senate. In what was clearly intended as a message to China, he references the U.S. “pivot” to Asia and told China (1:44) that if it doesn’t bring North Korea to heel, it will see “more of the same” and “you’re not gonna like it.”
Chairman Bob Menendez was hard to read, but clearly skeptical of past strategies and ready to be persuaded (if not yet persuaded) that the right kind of sanctions could work.
Corker wasn’t hard to read at all. He thinks we’re at a “crossroads,” where if we don’t get results now, we may never get them. Later, at 1:04: “Some people are saying we should call the entire North Korean government as a money laundering concerns, which we could then enforce against third party entities, some of which reside in China.” Gee, who might that be? Davies thinks we’ve already reaped a lot of the benefits to be gained from sanctioning illicit activities, but we should continue to focus on it. Corker also endorsed a greater emphasis on human rights issues in North Korea, and suggested we should increase broadcasting to the North Korean people.
Later, Corker suggested that Davies conceded that a diplomatic solution was years away at best, and that North Korea is well past the red line we drew for Iran. Do we need a red line in North Korea, like with Iran? Why is our policy in North Korea so different than it is from Iran (1:56). Davies thinks pressure will eventually get North Korea to change course. Corker called that “highly aspirational” and unrealistically optimistic.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D, Conn.) gets it. Listen to him distinguish the peoples’ economy from the palace economy at 1:38. Davies notes that “many people are fooled when they go to Pyongyang” based on more cars on the street, and more cell phones. Hmm. He really doesn’t sound like an AP fan, does he?
Sen Chris Coons (D, Conn.) also seemed interested in emphasizing the human rights issue, potentially via the inquiry proposed by the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights. He also expressed concern about our inability to monitor food aid distribution. Davies seems to think the answer is following the examples of groups like Mercy Corps, that have continued to work in North Korea (not the World Food Program, interestingly enough).
Sen. Mark Udall (D, N.M.) asked if negotiated denuclearization is still our goal. Davies thinks there’s still a hope for the six-party talks. Maybe “within a generation or so” we’ll see a very different situation in North Korea. He certainly is good at being cryptic.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R, Fla.) thinks North Korea wants to be accepted as a nuclear power and stay isolated notwithstanding its “atrocities.” He doesn’t think they can be negotiated out of that goal. Everything North Korea does until it achieves that goal is a scare tactic or a delay tactic. Japan and South Korea will want nukes, and Iran will see what North Korea can get away with. Rubio thinks we should (1) delay North Korean’s proliferation, (2) never let the world forget what the North Koreans’ atrocities, and (3) begin to create the conditions for reunification — a unified, democratic, peaceful Korea. Rubio doesn’t think Davies is likely to succeed, and Davies (1:19) agreed to a great extent.
Sen. Mark Warner (D, Va.), thinks the transition to a hereditary dictatorship is a dangerous and unstable time for North Korea. He’s clearly focused on the potential for “fracking” the “microfractures” inside North Korean society. Good analogy. I think I’ll use that.
After Davies’s testimony, there was a second panel, consisting of Amb. Stephen Bosworth, Amb. Joseph DiTrani, and Amb. Robert Joseph.
I had not realized what an extreme figure Bosworth really was until this hearing. You could have mistaken him for Christine Ahn with sensible glasses. Bosworth thinks we’ll eventually engage again, because there are no better ideas. But for what purpose? (Bosworth didn’t say it here, but he has acknowledged that North Korea will never verifiably disarm.) Bosworth wants broad engagement that would give North Korea aid, diplomatic recognition, and a peace treaty. He thinks we need to make North Korea feel secure. Bosworth blamed the BDA sanctions for the collapse of the 2005 agreement — because all negotiations with North Korea are tenuous, and they have to be “reassured” that they are not giving up their one piece of leverage for nothing.
DiTrani took a more careful view — yes, we have a lot of benefits to offer North Korea, but only after they denuclearize. In a way he didn’t when he testified at the House, he seemed to blame the BDA sanctions for the collapse of the 2005 agreement. Menendez picked up with this in a revealing question, asking why, if North Korea was serious about diplomacy, it still refused to allow verification in 2008, long after we dropped the BDA sanctions. DiTrani backed away from what Menendez and I heard, saying that we’d always told North Korea that law enforcement was a separate matter, unrelated to disarmament talks. Later, under questioning by Corker, DiTrani spoke up that economic sanctions against the regime could be an effective pressure point.
Robert Joseph, in my view, got it exactly right: North Korea will only abandon its nuclear and missile programs “if it is judged essential to regime survival.” Listen to his statement at 2:17; it’s a shame no one was listening anymore. Joseph doesn’t suggest we should shouldn’t abandon diplomacy, but we should do it right, and we should adjust our expectations to reality. We need to pressure China “the principle obstacle to effective pressure on North Korea,” which supports them unconditionally, no matter how deadly their behavior. and we always release pressure prematurely. ”Promotion of human rights, while part of official U.S. talking points for years, has not been a significant element of U.S. strategy. It should be ….” Listen to him again at 2:36. He’s on fire.
I’m not fond of conspiracy theories, and I’ve credited President Obama with a “not bad” North Korea policy so far, but when the evidence right before your lying eyes begs for an inference … well, I’ll stop short of answering my own question and say that Congress ought to inquire further. Exhibit 1:
SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Yonhap) — A White House delegation made a secret trip to North Korea in August in what might be an attempt to discourage it from taking provocative steps ahead of the U.S. presidential elections, a South Korean newspaper reported Thursday.
If confirmed, it would mark the second known visit by U.S. officials to Pyongyang this year, following the previous one before the North’s rocket launch in April.
“A U.S. Air Force plane flew into Pyongyang through the Yellow Sea route after leaving Guam on Aug. 17,” the Dong-A Ilbo quoted an unidentified diplomatic source as saying. “This jet stayed in Pyongyang for four days and flew out of the city on Aug. 20.”
The source was quoted as adding it took the same route four months earlier.
Given such a relatively long journey, the newspaper said, the Barack Obama administration might have attempted “in-depth negotiations” with North Korea prior to the Nov. 6 elections.
“Chances are high that the U.S. sought to curb North Korea from taking military provocations and offered some measures in return,” the source said, according to the daily. [Korea Times]
Less than a month after America’s election, Kim Jong Un announces his next great erection. Exhibit 2:
North Korea announced Saturday that it would attempt to launch a long-range rocket in mid-December, a defiant move just eight months after a failed April bid was widely condemned as a violation of a U.N. ban against developing its nuclear and missile programs.
The launch, set for Dec. 10 to 22, is likely to heighten already strained tensions with Washington and Seoul as the United States prepares for Barack Obama’s second term as U.S. president and South Korea holds its own presidential election on Dec. 19.
This would be North Korea’s second launch attempt under leader Kim Jong Un, who took power following his father Kim Jong Il’s death nearly a year ago. The announcement by North Korea’s space agency followed speculation overseas about stepped-up activity at North Korea’s west coast launch pad captured in satellite imagery. [AP]
President Bush removed North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism on October 11, 2008, to reward it for its progress toward disarmament. Discuss among yourselves.
There is a distinctly murine odor to all of this. A Grand Bargain with North Korea would be a diplomatic policy choice and debatable on its own terms, but that isn’t what this story suggests. No fair-minded citizen — regardless of whether you voted for this President — should tolerate the use of our diplomats as partisan political bagmen to buy the temporary silence of the world’s worst despots with taxpayer funds. Democrats who are old enough to have condemned arms-for-hostages can’t offer a principled defense to buying Kim Jong Un’s pre-election silence, if that is what the evidence shows. If Republicans are an effective opposition, then it is their duty to the people to explore this question at confirmation hearings for the next Secretary of State, if not sooner.
For the Administration, shooting the North Korean missile down over the Yellow Sea would be an excellent way to show North Korea and China that there are limits to our patience without attacking North Korean soil. It would also be a good way to show Japan and South Korea that if they’re not willing to defend themselves, they need us.
A week ago, I really didn’t care who Romney chose as his a running mate — then came the rumor that Condoleezza Rice was the leading candidate. Having now established the limits of my apathy, I wonder what explains the excitement among certain Republicans about the idea that Rice would be the perfect Vice-Presidential candidate (for anything other than spending the next 100 days re-litigating Bush’s foreign policy). One answer may be the dullness of the other alternatives, but another must be Rice’s compelling personal history. In the end, her “mildly pro-choice” views on abortion will probably disqualify her, and John Fund thinks he has the inside track on her actual odds of being selected: “zero.”
But even if that part of this discussion is moot, I still can’t stand hearing it said that Rice’s diplomatic legacy recommends her for higher office. Leave aside the broader question of Rice’s tenure as a whole, which speaks well enough for itself, or her executive skill, which also draws unfavorable reviews. Just look at the mess she made of our North Korea policy, where President Bush gave her a relatively free hand during his second term. Rice made Chris Hill her instrument for that policy, and thereafter, she was either inexcusably uninformed about what Hill was doing, or allowed him to willfully deceive Congress and the American people, continuing to trade valuable aid and concessions for North Korean obstructionism, false declarations, uranium-smeared “verification” samples, and blatant nuclear proliferation to Syria. By the time this charade unfolded, China held Rice in such contempt that it brushed off her protests as North Korean cargo planes loaded with missile parts refueled on Chinese runways for the long trip to Tehran.
I wrote the criticism that follows in reaction to Hill’s nomination as Ambassador to Iraq, a position he filled for about a year before he quietly retired to an academic job. All of this applies with equal force to Rice.
By now, we know how the story of Agreed Framework ended. North Korea never provided a full disclosure of its nuclear programs; never dismantled or handed over a single nuclear weapon; never handed over any fissile material; never completely dismantled or disabled any of its several reactors in various states of completion; and never came clean about the September 2007 revelation that it was secretly building another reactor in Syria even as it negotiated with us. [....] Meanwhile, North Korea steadily reneged on every last one of its commitments in Agreed Framework II.
Even before the failure of Agreed Framework II had played out, Congress had some questions, and Hill went to the House Foreign Affairs Committee to answer them just days after the deal was signed. Hill made more promises than Bernie Madoff at an AARP convention, and he broke them just as promiscuously.
Hill insisted in his opening statement that North Korea must disclose “all” of its nuclear programs, and that “[a]ll means all, and this means the highly enriched uranium program as well.” Despite North Korea’s denial that it had a uranium enrichment program in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Hill pushed to give North Korea the million tons of heavy fuel oil, lift Trading With the Enemy sanctions, and remove North Korea from the list of state sponsors. North Korea still denies having had a uranium enrichment program to this day.
Democratic Chairman Gary Ackerman wondered about verification. Hill responded, “I can assure you what we will not end up with is an agreement where they pretend to disarm and we pretend to believe them. We will have an agreement where we know.” But after President Bush granted the North Koreans key concessions at Hill’s urging, the North Koreans balked at verification. Hill tried to paper this over with a vague, almost meaningless verification protocol.
Rep. Chris Smith asked about North Korea’s oppression of its own people, including the diversion of international food aid to favored subjects. Hill answered: “I can assure you that any agreement … will be done entirely consistent with our laws and obligations [to condition non-humanitarian aid on human rights improvements, and to distribute aid according to internationally accepted humanitarian standards]. I can promise you that, Mr. Congressman…. As I have made crystal clear in all my discussions with the North Koreans, the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea can never have a fully normal relationship absent progress on these important fronts.” A year later, in an interview with the L.A. Times, Hill had changed his answer: “Obviously we have continued differences with [North Korea], but we can do that in the context of two states that have diplomatic relations.” On another occasion, when Hill was asked about the atrocities in the North, Hill was quoted as saying, “Each country, including our own, needs to improve its human rights record.” Contrary to the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, Hill continued to exclude human rights from the talks’ agenda, and pushed President Bush to give more concessions after the North Koreans frustrated U.S. efforts to monitor the distribution of its food aid.
Rep. Ed Royce asked about North Korea’s counterfeiting of U.S. currency, which the agreement never addressed. Hill said, “I want to assure you that I have repeatedly raised with the North Korean side that it is completely unacceptable to be engaged in this type of activity…. We have no intention of trading nuclear deals for counterfeiting our currency.” Hill’s answer flirted with perjury. By then, he was probably already engineering the return of $25 million in counterfeiting-tainted funds to North Korea and the lifting of U.S. sanctions relating to counterfeiting and money laundering. The funds transfer may have been been a technical violation of 18 U.S.C. sec. 1957, which prohibits knowingly engaging in any transaction in criminally derived property. If Hill ever raised the issue with the North Koreans again, there’s no evidence of it. As of April 2008, Treasury believed that North Korea was still counterfeiting U.S. currency.
This was just the beginning of what would become a pattern for Hill. After months of North Korean stalling on the full disclosure of its nuclear programs, Hill finally secured a North Korean promise to deliver its disclosure by the end of 2007. Hill went to Pyongyang in November to find out whether the disclosure would be delivered on time. The North Koreans handed Hill a declaration so patently incomplete that Hill knew it would be a deal-breaker to accept it. Later, asked by reporters if he’d had “a chance to see” a draft of the North Korean declaration, Hill said “no.” [....]
Hill tried to conceal what he could not explain, most embarrassingly the September 2007 revelation that North Korea had been building the Syrian nuclear reactor destroyed by Israeli warplanes. For months, the Bush Administration kept key congressional committees in the dark about the reactor and North Korea’s involvement in it. The ranking Republicans on the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committee later co-wrote a blistering Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal to demand a briefing. When that briefing finally took place in April of 2008, it drew furious reactions in Congress, but did not kill Agreed Framework II.
More broadly, Hill continued to sell the President, the Secretary of State, and the American people a diplomatic initiative ostensibly aimed at denuclearizing North Korea long after North Korea had forcefully repudiated any such intention. No one knows when the North Koreans first started insisting that they were going to keep their nukes, agreement or not, but it took the visit of former U.S. diplomat Jack Pritchard to Pyongyang in the spring of 2008 for us to learn about it. In May of 2008, Pritchard told a Washington Post reporter what the North Koreans had told him, and what the North Koreans had almost certainly been telling Hill for months: “that the United States should get used to a nuclear-armed North Korea.” Not long afterward, the North Koreans cornered Condoleezza Rice face-to-face and demanded “to be recognized as a nuclear state.” Since then, the North Koreans have repeatedly and publicly insisted that they will never give up their nuclear weapons. Yet Hill continued to press his bosses for more concessions and fewer conditions until the end of the Bush Administration.
In the end, Agreed Framework II accomplished absolutely nothing except to give Kim Jong Il more aid, more diplomatic concessions, and more time to expand their capacity to produce nuclear weapons. If anything good came of Rice’s gullible outreach to Kim Jong Il, it was to prove conclusively that policies like hers have no prospect of disarming North Korea, or moderating its domestic or trans-national ruthlessness.
There’s nothing more I really care to say about what we should have done about the North Korean-built nuclear reactor at Al-Kibar in Syria, which Israel destroyed in a September 2009 air strike. This was a matter of some temporary inconvenience to Chris Hill’s efforts (abetted by the President and Secretary of State) to sell us a shiny, pre-owned agreed framework, complete with rust-proofing and warranty.
Recently, however, Dick Cheney’s memoir has revived that debate. Michael Anton, writing in The Weekly Standard, summarizes Cheney’s argument. Bob Woodward responds here, at the Washington Post. For sur-rebuttal, we have this piece by Elliott Abrams, Eliot Cohen, Eric Edelman and John Hannah, writing in the Washington Post. Among the interesting facts we learn from this is that Syria apparently had other facilities on its territory, presumably reprocessing facilities, that were designed to work with the reactor.
On a somewhat related note, although this piece by Jonathan Pollack about North Korea’s missile trade is interesting, it finds that North Korea’s missile exports declined precipitously after 2006. So how can Pollock be so sure of that? He thinks this decline coincides roughly with when the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1695, the first resolution banning North Korea’s missile program. I suspect that Pollack is partially right — North Korea probably did sell fewer missiles outright since the Proliferation Security Initiative began to bite, although I have yet to be convinced of exactly when the decline began or how steep it was. The reason? It may just be that because of said resolution, the North Koreans and their customers simply became more cagey about hiding their commerce. One way they went about this was to fly their missile parts right through the Beijing airport. Maybe Pollack has ways of registering that traffic, too, but I tend to doubt it.
Also somewhat related: I don’t find myself agreeing with Jennifer Rubin all that often, but I think failing to block Wendy Sherman’s confirmation will eventually turn out to be one of the worst decisions the Republicans in the Senate failed to make. It would have been better to let Sung Kim slip through and make Sherman the political issue, but some congressional oversight is still better than none at all.
Looks like my question has been answered:
The U.S. State Department is trying to persuade a senior Republican senator to lift a hold on the confirmation of Sung Kim, the nominee to become a new ambassador to South Korea, congressional sources said Monday.
Jon Kyl (R-AZ), assistant minority leader in the Senate, has been blocking the confirmation process for more than a month, according to the sources. He is known as a staunch conservative on foreign policy. [....]
“Sen. Kyl seems to be placing a hold on Kim’s confirmation due to the Obama administration’s North Korea policy, but he has not clarified the reason,” a source said, requesting anonymity. [Korea Times]
Apparently, the Senate custom is that hold letters are, at least initially, anonymous, and therefore unexplained.
I’m just glad to see that someone in the Senate is still looking over the State Department’s shoulder, now that Sam Brownback has gone back to Kansas.
So months after Chris Hill protege Sung Kim was nominated to be our Ambassador to South Korea, I’d assumed that he must have been confirmed in the dark of some night when I was too busy to read my news aggregators. Not so:
The official confirmation for the next U.S. ambassador to South Korea designate, Sung Kim, is unexpectedly being delayed although it seemed a mere formality. Apparently some senators are stalling because they worry about the direction of the Obama administration’s North Korea policy, but who they are is not known.
Kim’s nomination was supposed to be wrapped up before Congress adjourned for the summer early this month so he could be posted at the end of the month. A senate confirmation hearing late last month also went smoothly and took no more than half an hour. But in its last meeting before the adjournment, the Senate only confirmed the nomination of David Shear as ambassador to Vietnam, but not Kim. [Chosun Ilbo]
It seems that one Republican Senator is holding up the nomination to extract policy concessions from the Administration over North Korea policy, and specifically, food aid. As to who the Senator in question is, your guess is as good as mine, and possibly better.
One source said, “The Korean Embassy in Washington is asking around trying to find out the cause of the delay, but even the State Department apparently said it doesn’t know.” The prevailing theory is that Republicans who take a hardline view of North Korea are holding up the process to ensure that the Obama administration does not repeat the mistakes of former president George W. Bush, who drastically softened his stance toward the North during his later years in office but achieved nothing.
This is a tactic that the Republicans used with mixed success before. The nominations of Kathleen Stephens, Chris Hill, and Kurt Campbell were all held up for varying periods of time by former Senator Sam Brownback. Brownback eventually dropped his holds on the Stephens and Campbell nominations for policy concessions. In Stephen’s case, Chris Hill broke the promise after Stephens was confirmed. In Campbell’s case, lifting the hold may have been for the best. Campbell has generally been a voice of reason and an advocate of attaching negative consequences to Kim Jong Il’s aggressive behavior. Hill was confirmed over Brownback’s metaphorical dead body — meaning, a filibuster and a cloture vote — only to leave office as U.S. Ambassor to Iraq after just a year in office.
Anyway, one person they can’t pin this on is Sam Brownback.
Another person they can’t pin this on is me. I had nothing to do with any of this. Not directly, anyway. At least, not this time. But still, you can’t deny that getting profiled on OFK seems does have an inverse relationship to the speed of a Senate confirmation, no?