Skip to comments."Optimism About N. Korea Is Sadly Misguided" (Condi Rice Approach Takes Another Hit)
Posted on 12/16/2007 4:52:53 PM PST by AmericanInTokyo
Optimism about North Korea is sadly misguided
By Richard Halloran
Sunday, Dec 16, 2007, Page 9
Once again, rosy optimism is billowing out of the Korean Peninsula. And once again, the rest of the world might remember that atop the regime in Pyongyang sit world-class thugs who have repeatedly refused to abide by their agreements.
US President George W. Bush started off the latest surge of hope two weeks ago with a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, urging him in polite but firm terms to keep his pledge to abandon his nuclear weapons.
Six years ago, Bush made Kim a charter member of the "axis of evil." Then the New York Philharmonic accepted North Korea's invitation, with the blessings of the US State Department, to give a concert in Pyongyang in February.
To make sure the orchestra was prepared, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) has posted on its Web site the full score of the North Korean national anthem.
Moreover, for the first time since the end of the Korean War in 1953, a South Korean cargo train chugged into North Korea last week headed for the Kaesong industrial complex that is run jointly by the North and the South.
Unification Minister Lee Jae-jeong rode the train to represent the Seoul government. And US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill has asserted that North Korea has been dismantling its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon even if it is not yet ready to account for the rest of its nuclear program. US officials, however, have neglected to point out that experts who have seen the reactor said it was falling apart and nearly useless.
Amid this mostly upbeat news, people outside of Korea might recall a South Korean diplomat named Lee Bum-suk. In the autumn of 1972, Lee was among those who escorted a visiting North Korean delegation around Seoul. It was the first such journey since the Korean War and included a stroll through the Secret Garden that had once been the joy of Korean kings.
In the autumn of 1983, Lee, by then Seoul's foreign minister, was murdered along with 16 other South Korean dignitaries by North Korean terrorists who exploded a bomb among them during a trip to Burma. The North Korean then in charge of such operations was Kim Jong-il.
In addition, North Korea tried to assassinate South Korean president Park Chung-hee in 1968 and again in 1974, when an assailant missed the president but gunned down his wife, Yook Young-soo.
The non-partisan Congressional Research Service reported recently that North Korea sent 3,693 armed agents into South Korea from 1954 to 1992 and had continued intermittent incursions and kidnappings since then.
Today, clues to current North Korean thinking abound. The reaction to Bush's letter to Kim was distinctly underwhelming. It rated all of two sentences in a KCNA dispatch, far less than its report on Kim's inspection of a cotton plantation.
At the same time, KCNA published a blistering attack on the US, lamenting that the Bush administration had manifested "extreme hostility toward the DPRK," or Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.
KCNA asserted that North Korea was acquiring nuclear weapons, despite the difficulties in doing so, "to cope with the US' continued hostile policy toward the DPRK."
The official organ declared: "The DPRK can never abandon its nuclear program unless the US rolls back its hostile policy toward the DPRK."
In another dispatch last week, KCNA contended that the port call of an unnamed US nuclear-powered submarine in Pusan, South Korea, was "a reckless criminal act of chilling the denuclearization process in the Korean peninsula and driving the situation into the brink of war."
All this, KCNA concluded, "convinces the DPRK that there is no other option but to increase the military capabilities for self-defense in every way."
The news agency, widely considered to reflect the thinking of Kim closely, occasionally expresses contempt for the West, particularly its democracy.
It claimed last week that much touted freedom and democracy "are nothing but camouflage to hoodwink working masses and cover up the reactionary nature of bourgeois dictatorship."
An authority on North Korea, Aidan Foster-Carter of the University of Leeds in Britain, has said that periods of optimism about North Korea are but "false dawns."
He has argued: Again and again, we start over with North Korea without asking what went wrong the last time or how come we never get past first base."
Richard Halloran is a writer based in Hawaii.
this post ties into this
I think you are right AIT Condi repeat history here
FROM ASIA, WITH CONCERN,
Many people here in Japan--darned good allies and pro-US types to begin with--feel somewhat betrayed and think Bush/Condi are for sure walking into a trap. For no good reason.
It frightens me that such a woman can rise to the top of foreign policy decision-makers.
It’s real simple. Most of the governments in the world are just flat out liars and criminals.
Trust (yeah right) but verify. Trust hell, I don’t think so. Prove it.
Why is there such a shortage of common sense and self preservation in the world now among the West? WTF is going on? Do we all have a suicidal death wish?
Most of the world’s cultures are just worthless crap. To hell with them.
The leftists and Islamofruitcakes want us all dead. Simple as that.
My guess is all the worlds dictators, murderous cult religious isamo facists, and all who a hate America including most of our Congress and it’s liberal progressive white flag waving surrenderists are all being nice, and are all quiet in hopes of having another Jimmy Carter clone in the Whitehouse so they can finish off America once and for all! We need a strong conservative moral candidate who will stand tall and fight the hords! Remember with out security there is no america! Rise up patriots! get out and vote
People want their Nobel Peace Prizes and cushy teaching jobs or UN leadership posts in the future, which impacts their behavior in the here-and-now. It is as simple as that. Human nature. Career greed. Self interest. Feathering one's own cap. << 我田引水 >> as the Japanese would say.
Also, I could be convinced on the "follow the money" side of the argument, too.
We need this FOREIGN POLICY DISCUSSION so urgently in the current Presidential Campaign. On the GOP side, since the Dems will appease if they get in office, so our only hope is a solid GOP standard bearer in 2008 and President in 2009.
A total reality check is in order.
It’s repeating the same mistake and expecting a differnt outcome. Talk about insanely beating your head against a wall!
“Condi Rice is the clone of Jimmy Carter as far as her mindset goes.”
I wouldn’t go that far
I dont know how they are going to wiggle out of this one when they start to look really ridiculous when Kim Jong il does not come through with his part of the deal, or is caught somewhere around the world shipping bad things into various ports for our enemies, all the while signing Peace Treaties with globalist, effiminate State Department toadies and sycophants.
Thanks for the ping.
When I heard the other day the New York Philharmonic would go to N. Korea, I thought whyyyy.
They go from axis of evil to what is relative.
Also though John Bolton’s comments re Condi are spot on.
We might “go there” by the end of 2008, though! ;-(
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