Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The U.S. Agrees to an Arms Control Deal with North Korea

The New York Times has the story on the new agreement to control North Korea’s nuclear ambitions:
North Korea agreed today to close its main nuclear reactor in exchange for a package of food, fuel and other aid from the United States, China, South Korea and Russia. The breakthrough, which was announced by the Chinese government after intense negotiations and welcomed by the White House as a “very important first step”, came four months after North Korea tested a nuclear bomb.
The partner nations agreed to provide roughly $400 million in various kinds of aid in return for the North starting a permanent disabling of its nuclear facilities and allowing inspectors into the country.
Perhaps equally important, the United States and Japan agreed to discuss normalizing relations with Pyongyang. The United States will begin the process of removing North Korea from its designation as a terror-sponsoring state and also on ending United States trade and financial sanctions.
One would think that Bush’s supporters would applaud the deal. Not John Bolton:
The agreement drew strong criticism from John Bolton, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations who urged President Bush to reject it.
"I am very disturbed by this deal," Mr. Bolton told CNN. "It sends exactly the wrong signal to would-be proliferators around the world: ’If we hold out long enough, wear down the State Department negotiators, eventually you get rewarded,’ in this case with massive shipments of heavy fuel oil for doing only partially what needs to be done."
Is it a good deal? Steve Clemons at The Washington Note recognizes the pitfalls ahead:
This deal could still blow up. That would not be out of character for either the North Korean side -- nor the U.S.
Clemons thinks this deal wouldn’t have gotten done if the Dick Cheney and his acolytes still had an iron grip on the State Department:
The fact that Under Secretary of State for International Security and Arms Control Robert Joseph had resigned may have been a key "environmental positive" in getting this right with North Korea this round. The absence of Ambassador John Bolton's bluster at the U.N. also helped improve the negotiating environment.
I have the feeling that this diplomatic grind will drag on as long as Kim Jong Il can maintain his grip on power. Maybe Sisyphus was a diplomat before he became the mythical embodiment of futility. But if this deal slows North Korea’s seemingly relentless march to becoming a nuclear power it’s worth it.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Nancy Willing said...

grind will drag on as long as Kim Jong Il can maintain his grip on power. Maybe Sisyphus was a diplomat before he became the mythical embodiment of futility. But if this deal slows North Korea’s seemingly relentless march to becoming a nuclear power it’s worth it.
!!!!

nice turn of phrase

8:42 AM, February 15, 2007  
Blogger TommyWonk said...

Thanks you Nancy. I like a well-turned phrase now and then.

10:31 AM, February 15, 2007  

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