Skip to comments."What Bush Was Really Asking Kim Jong-il" (In Recent Hand-Delivered Letter) (MUST READ)
Posted on 12/10/2007 8:00:08 PM PST by AmericanInTokyo
What Bush Was Really Asking Kim Jong-il
On Oct. 9 last year, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice returned from a Middle East tour and relaxed in her apartment after dinner with friends. Rice has been the best-traveled secretary of state since Henry Kissinger, but reportedly doesn't enjoy travel very much. Around 9 p.m., Rice got a phone call from Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns. He told her that the Chinese government had informed the U.S. Embassy in Beijing of North Korea's impending nuclear test. An hour later, the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed that North Korea had conducted a nuclear test. Rice was busy making phone calls until early next morning.
At the time, it had been almost two years since the second Bush administration was inaugurated. No solutions to Iraq, Iran or North Korea were in sight. The more the U.S. attacked and criticized Iran and North Korea, the more unpopular it became. In a worldwide poll, almost half of the respondents said the U.S. was playing only a negative role and was not helpful to the international community.
According to an article entitled "The Confidante" by Glenn Kessler, a diplomatic correspondent for the Washington Post, Rice made an important decision right after the North conducted the nuclear test. She decided to focus on three goals -- to achieve success in talks on the North Korean nuclear problem, to make progress in nuclear talks with Iran and to help the Palestinians establish their state -- before the Bush administration's term ends. She was determined to produce tangible results.
Circumstances favored her cause. Hardliners like Vice President Dick Cheney or Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who were deeply involved in the first Bush administration's foreign policies had less influence or had left the administration, and the new Defense Secretary Robert Gates was poised to concentrate only on Iraq.
During her Christmas holidays that year, Rice read through mountains of State Department records. She wanted to learn a lesson from how the Clinton administration wound up its tenure.
Rice revised her goals. She decided that Bush would need some achievements he could display to the American people and she a legacy to leave behind as secretary of state. She had to take a realistic and practical approach. A good example of her change was her decision to find a breakthrough in the North Korean nuclear talks by unfreezing North Koreas US$25 million from the Banco Delta Asia in Macao. The ensuing sudden change in U.S. policy was the outcome of the decision Rice made right after the North Korean nuclear test. Bush gave his consent. Both were desperate for Iraq to be the last and only foreign-policy nightmare for the administration. That is the context in which Bush has now sent a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
It is worth noting here that Bush and Rice are also taking a special interest in the Middle East issue. Bush recently launched new peace talks between Israel and Palestine in Annapolis and is expected to visit the Middle East early next year. The Clinton administration lost the opportunity to improve U.S.-North Korean relations because it gave North Korea a lower priority than the Middle East on its list of last-moment foreign policies. At the time, Clinton rejected Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's recommendation that he visit the North, saying he didnt want to go the other side of the globe at a time when the conclusion of the Middle East peace talks is imminent.
The Bush administration's term ends in about a year, and already election fever is high. The best possible result for Bush and Rice is progress in the talks on both issues -- Middle East peace and the North Korean nuclear problem. If there is no prospect of progress in either in the near future, Bush and Rice would try to focus on whichever issue offers a greater chance of resolution. That is why North Korea should hurry up to declare its nuclear programs, facilities and stockpiles completely and honestly by the end of this year. Will North Korea settle everything up with the Bush administration after years of talks? Or will it go back to square one and start all over again with the new administration that will be inaugurated in 2009? That is the question Bush asked of North Korea in his personal letter.
The column was contributed by Chosun Ilbo in-house columnist Kang In-sun.
This may help answer the growing chorus of Freepers' "Whaaat??? Say AGAIN?!", issued in sheer disbelief and astonishment.
Who will take it on and open this up for wider debate and scrutiny?
Hunter? Thompson? Tancredo? Romney?
I guess it’s gonna be a wait and see.
I think you and I are in agreement.
This looks and smells like an Albright.
No! As long as Kim stays in power, the Norks will play games called 'negotiations', and do as they please.
It will take outside intervention to kick them into the modern world community. The same can be said about most of the muslims, too.
It's curious that the N.K. and Cuban relic-commies haven't just been blockaded into dying by now .......................... FRegards
I was a wholehearted BUSH/CONDI supporter on North Korea from day one, until about one and a half years ago, when they broke from reality.A Fierce supporter.
Because they had the correct approach and assailed the way chosen by Albright and the Clintonites.
But then, they abandoned that wise path completely, so I abandoned my support of THEM.
As a result, Bushbots show up here on FR and call me (and others who are critical of Bush and his State Department) a "Bush Hater".
Hater of Bush policies of appeasement?
Guilty as charged.
A “Tiger/Seven” pingaroo!
Now they got caught with their hands iin the Syrian /Iran cookie jar, supplying plutonium to them , according to Israelis post op intel on Septembers bombing of a weapons plant in Syria, where damage assessment by IDF commandos revealed Iranian and Norkie tech corpses in the rubble.
Kim Jong Il knows that this is his last chance with Bush, but then his strategy may be just as the article says. He wants to extend the negotiations until a new administration takes office. He thnks that the Dems under "It Takes a Village" will be suckers the same way Madelaine Albright , America's worst Sec State ever, was.
The USA has turned into a Banana Republic on foreign policy, simply because of the death of any bi-partisan policy on dealing with America's enemies.
And the Democrat party is to blame.
I have a new “peace plan” for North Korea: how ‘bout if we waterboard the pathetic little troll from Pyongyang until he begs to be allowed to destroy all of his WMD programs, disband his military, police and spy services, and then he welcomes Korean unification under the governance of the government in Seoul?????
OK, I guess we can’t so easily get ahold of him for the waterboarding part, but I like the rest anyway.....
Democrats dont get all of the blame, but a lot of it.
Who gives-a-shiite? Bush is both good and bad to me. Good in his prosecution of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and bad for not arming our Civilian Pilots immediately after 9/11, and for his stupid 'shamnesty' plan over illegal-aliens.
His time is winding down anyway, and I'll take him at his word that when he leaves office, there won't be anything left for Iran to build an A-Bomb with.
I'll work here in the USA to get the Bush-Family and the klintoon-mafia out of our politics for four or eight years. Stay well ....................... FRegards
Gotta run just now.
I'll leave this behind...
This article is essentially based on the material from a huge flop “The Confidante” by Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler. They keep rehashing their wishful thinking and spin their opinions as the facts and, unfortunately, by repeating essentially the same story over and over again (”Big Lie” Theory comes to mind) convinced some people of it. And that’s despite overwhelming success of six-party talks on North Korea by shifting the burden for the “problem child” of the region to the country the “child” entirely depends on - China, and shifting the most of the rest of our burden on other players in the region who are now on our side.
Here is the Kessler’s book reviews from sympathetic AFP and AP from last September :
The only game left for Kim is to try and survive until possible Democratic administration with which he can try playing the same bilateral talks (as Biden and other Dem idiots have suggested) that have failed (Clinton / Albright) and are guaranteed to fail because they provide no leverage for US.
Amazing how, using the media, they can spin their failures into successes, and our successes into looking like failures... Easy formula - repeat it enough times and people will start to believe it. So many people, even on FR, started to believe that we were losing “war in Iraq” because of constant repetition until it was no longer tenable.
Barring Democratic administration, North Korea’s days as viable nuclear proliferation threat are over. It’s not surprising that Syria’s nuclear plant development was bombed shortly after we had our “boots on the ground” in Pyongyang.
Our biggest challenge on Korean peninsula will be managing eventual unification so combined Korea would not become a socialist, China leaning state.
Should we recognize them and exchange ambassadors?
Here’s the answer about Albright’s father, apparently Maddie was not a good student of his :
Sorry, you didn’t see it before, entire thread is also pretty good.
Here’s additional info with more good links, if you are inclined.
Also to keep in mind, that was posted around the time when we were “losing” the “war in Iraq” and, consequently, were looking for scapegoats.
Methinks that's a pretty good bet.
“recognize them and exchange ambassadors?”
“Recognize” what and how?
Re ambassadors, no - we are still officially in the state of armistice, I believe, yet it didn’t stop us from having talks with them about them dismantling their nuclear program. We already have some people on the ground to monitor the progress or lack thereof, with consequences. Are they ambassadors? How do we expect to have anything done with North Korea if we don’t have “contact” with them? Does that mean that they are now our buddies? Of course, not! Do we trust them? Of course, not - if we did, we would not have to go through all this nightmare. But for all intents and purposes, this is the end game - dismantling their nuclear program and this requires a “contact” with their counterparts and negotiating the terms.
Formal surrender of Japan in WW2 on board of USS Missouri two weeks after acceptance of Allied victory and terms took previous “contact”. This time we will not have “surrender ceremony” on board of USS Reagan because we didn’t technically “win the war”, North Korea is free to remain a basket case and museum of communism - yet we are accomplishing our strategic goal - defanging “Little nuclear” Kim, something that would not be possible without deft cool-headed diplomacy.
Thanks for the links.
I think Bush feeling roaney too LOL!
I have disdain for the about-face, as well. However, the larger picture will, I believe, continue to be obscured by the MSM and Democrats because [as with all elections] party lines are getting blurrier.
As per usual AmericanInTokyo, you have nailed it. The Russians seemed like they were showing signs of cooperating with the USA on pressuring Iran until the Israeli bombing of the Syrian ‘weapons’ site on Septemer 7th (or was it 6th?). In any event, after the incident Putin came out and all but told Bush he will back Iran’s continued development of nukes. I have a feeling this about face from Putin is what startled the President out of all of these things surrounding NK, Iran and Syria.
It has revealed Russia’s bad intentions in promoting Iran to build nukes. No doubt these nukes will be used against Israel, the USA and/or the West. Even if they don’t use them a successful nuke test will plummet the global markets sharply downward. This would tickle Russia pink as it means financial collapse of the West and an opening for Russian ambition. Russia is playing game, set match on the dominant position of controlling the worlds economy by controlling the oil. They are not there yet, we have 120,000 troops and a carrier fleet in there way. But the USA has already stated we will be reducing troop deployments in 2008. I think in two or three years we are going to see some really ugly developments unfolding. Our DOD and on the ground intelligence had best get further prepared and FAST considering our policy now appears to be containment. Bad, bad strategy in my opinion.
“Barring Democratic administration, North Koreas days as viable nuclear proliferation threat are over. Its not surprising that Syrias nuclear plant development was bombed shortly after we had our boots on the ground in Pyongyang.”
Uh-huh. We catch them ploliferating plutonium. Did any get into Iran? Probably. The North Korean regime has had 50 years of breaking agreements. Think now they have suddenly changed their ways because we caught them violating yet another agreement? Do you think they take us seriously at all now? Do you think China will go through a massive economic correction? Think China will give Kim millions of tons of food aid to support that big military of his? I believe you are a bit overconfident in this statement of no longer a threat of proliferation. Wonder why guys like John Bolton wanted no part this Administrations’ State Department when it did an about face in 2005?
“Our biggest challenge on Korean peninsula will be managing eventual unification so combined Korea would not become a socialist, China leaning state.””
Our biggest challenge is going to be whether we use nuclear weapons when North Korea attacks South Korea. The catalyst will be no food aid from China means you will either use that army or face violent overthrow from 2 million hungry troops. There is a reason NK is still proliferating. Ever consider they are selling advanced missle teach and raw plutonium to pay for the regime’s massive military expenditure?
Of course. They already tried, they already failed, and it's far easier to monitor and catch them being there (instead of IAEA and UN) and having other parties on our side - we've seen that already. This deal is not based "on trust", like the Clinton / Albright deal was.
Think now they have suddenly changed their ways because we caught them violating yet another agreement?
No, I don't. Shipments to Syria wouldn't have been very recent. Like I said, it's not based "on trust" anymore, same way Soviet Union's deal to reduce nuclear stockpiles were not based "on trust" - "Trust but verify" (Ronald Reagan). That's what we are trying to do, to de-nuke them. And yes, China is very interested in "more stable" non-nuclear North Korea, as soon as they were made to understand and appreciate that it presents much bigger threat to them then it is to us. So did some people in South Korea, who previously had an appeasement full-out "sunshine policy". That's what turned it around, not assurances from Kim, like in Clinton / Albright kiss-and-forget deal that relied on UN to verify, while we paid the ransom.
Of course, we have the seemingly only other, "John Bolton option" - just nuke the bastards now, so we don't have to nuke them later, is it his option? Fine, but that's not State Department's call, and not Condi's call - that would be President's and DoD. If that's not John Bolton's option, what is? What options did he suggest when he was right hand of Condi in State Dept (not DoD), and she was making every effort to keep him there despite boneheaded GOP Senators like Voinovich from Ohio who put a hold on him? Is there any agreement that could be considered verifiable that he / we could agree to, that would not be subjected to the same criticism and questions?
Like I said, there is not going to be a "surrender" signing ceremony on USS Reagan... Oh well, I am starting to repeat post #22.
I am striving but having a hard time recalling a single public statement from Putin, ever, indicating he was on our side in anything. All I can come up with is the rosey scenarios of hopeful pundits and Bush's initial crush on him just because iirc he wore a cross his mother gave him. Oh yeah, and that "look into his soul" thingie
Because the Clinton approach was clearly assailed by the Bush Administration on a point by point basis in the first five years of his rule.
He, however, came over the fence, and you hear no such criticism of the Clinton approach out of this Administration. Conversely, you hear no criticism of the new approach of Bush, by the Clinton Administration veterans of those policy issues. Again, because essentially they are indistinguishable.
In case of the "Axis of Evil" Bush NK Policy, hated by our enemies abroad and in the United States: isolation, (diplomatic and economic), ridicule, resistance to engage in bilateral talks, no carrots but just sticks, freezing of assets and the like--is now "Version 2.0".
Everyone around that is or was plugged in, including Ambassador John Bolton, know that the 2006-2007 shift by Bush/Condi has just about everything to do with Administration "legacy" in the closing days, and not necessarily a strategic shift to our benefit or indicative of a strong position on our point, but rather, from one of patent perceived, if not de-facto, weakness.
The challenge here is to establish, enumerate, and expand upon any patent differences between the Clinton Administration DPRK policy of December 1999 and the Bush Administration DPRK policy of December 2007.
The differences are few and far between, and this point is well known and well talked about in knowledgeable South Korea, Japanese and American (conservative) policy circles.
Thank you, q5, for your good comments and kindness as well.
Well, it's kind of late for that, it had been done over and over and it would be a waste of time carping on what Clinton / Albright did as everybody already knows that. Now it's time not to talk about Clinton but to actually put machinery that de-nukes North Korea with the help of coalition, so that if we have a Dem administration in 2009 they would have to follow it and not able to screw it up (while, of course, blaming Bush and taking credit for success themselves).
Conversely, you hear no criticism of the new approach of Bush, by the Clinton Administration veterans of those policy issues.
What can they criticize - a success in foreign policy that they themselves have failed to achieve? To bring attention, once again, to one of their many glaring failures in foreign policy? What for?
Everyone around that is or was plugged in, including Ambassador John Bolton, know that the 2006-2007 shift by Bush/Condi has just about everything to do with Administration "legacy" in the closing days, and not necessarily a strategic shift
One, neither Bush nor Condi give a darn about "legacy" - they have proved it time and again and it's obvious for anyone to see, except MSM or the writers of fictional letters from Bush to Kim, i.e. the people who always and only care about their own and someone else's "legacy" - that's all they talk about.
Two, there was no shift, strategic or other, in a policy - Kim was squeezed until he agreed to the conditions that would allow us to make sure he is de-nuked, through carrots and sticks approach, which was there from the beginning. Clinton / Albright had only carrot and carrot, which was an acceptable diet for Kim. Bolton wants sticks and sticks, which was not working, was not and is not going to work, as there was no incentive for either Kim or China to comply and we would have problems with not only them but also from our allies in the region - lots to talk about, but would only lead to occasional escalations and distractions to WOT, with no progress in what we really want to achieve - de-nuked North Korea.
It's not a shift in the Bush policy or change in the game, it's a logical progression to another, final stage of it - the end game.
And again, it really doesn't answer the questions I asked, what would John Bolton do instead, and how would his agreement with North Korea differ from the one now? And how it would be verified differently from the one now? And when would that happen and why? And would we "trust" Kim to abide by the agreement? And how that would be different?
We didn't and don't trust Libya's Qaddafi, yet his nuclear plant is disassembled and we are trading with and buying oil from Libya. Yes, it was a different situation and therefore it took a different method and policy of achieving it, but that's exactly the point - different situation require different solution, not one-size-fits-all foreign policy... Oh, and by the way, after that "unfortunate incident" with Syrian nuclear development, who would be stupid enough to pay Kim to deliver nuclear and/or plant construction materials, knowing that they will be tracked? Kim is now, for all practical purposes, out of proliferation business.
... and this point is well known and well talked about in knowledgeable South Korea, Japanese and American (conservative) policy circles.
Yes, I am sure it is "talked about", which is kind of sad because what's not talked about are any real, tangible, executable, not fantasy-driven, plans and policy proposals.
We are so bitter, we can't even accept one of our own rare diplomatic successes, which came despite the Democrats in Congress, State Dept and other 3-letter agencies apparatus throwing monkey wrenches into the wheels of anything that could actually work to help US become stronger.
Tiger, check this.
He did not do anything of the sort.
You should know better than that.
I will side with the folks I know here in Asia, who are not nitwits, (and I will side with the people of North Korea who have to continue to suffer this dictatorial regime) and say that it was not a foreign policy victory for the Bush team.
We have dramatically different interpretations. And time will prove ultimately whether I or you had the correct one.
With professional respect,
Chia Head was watching carefully what the resolve of China and U.S. was. He concluded that they are full of big talks but would not take any action which would really hurt N. Korea. And he was right in retrospect.
The whole saga is full of projection of U.S. desires into the mind of Kim Jong-il. Viewing from his angle was confrontational, inflexible and lacking true insight. Who has true insight now?
Let Bush, Condi, and Foggy Bottom camp next to Chia Heads' nuke and worship it. I won't.
I also remember endless love calls to Beijing. That is another stupid instance of projecting our wishes into their mind. Chinese must be laughing at us.
Bush/Condi/Foggy Bottom deserve Kim Jong-il.
To see who's analyses and predictions hit the target.
We are more or less on the same page. Saw quick headline last night of an eruption in South Korea’s House over the failed Sunshine policy and appeasing North Korea. This is a powder keg that is not going to go away without some kind of military intervention from the USA but it doesn’t have to be direct.
A blockade and forced inspections of cargo ships and planes might help but truth is it is relatively easy to put enough KG’s of plutonium on a diplomatic flight to Syria or Iran.
The likely solution is to assist South Korea and arm them with nukes, give the continent there own version of MAD and then withdraw our 20,000 troops on the ground. They are nothing but a speed bump and likely to be annihalated in the first 48 hours of an attack by the North. Once we have armed the South with nukes, we would change our policy to not interfere if there is a conflict. In fact, we should do the same with Taiwan. China and Russia is arming our adversaries with nukes, we should apply the same strategy until Russia and China see the futility of another major arms race or attempting to cripple the West via proxy and then deny culpability.
I don’t recall John Bolton ever talking about nuking North Korea. I also don’t recommend a pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea or Iran for that matter, that pretty much insures a thermocnuclear war with Russia and/or China.
I agree with your point. I am simply stating this behavior by Putin was never so boldly or so directly stated to our Administration over Iranian nukes up until very recently. The President has been seeing through this dangerous continuation of Cold War tactics by Russia and China of using Islamic proxies to weaken the West. Too bad the President can’t convince Congress to build more nukes. I fear we are going to need them and supply allies such as South Korea and Taiwan with them. We can’t continue funding our military to provide an entire portion of an allies military any longer.