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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

North Korea's Rising Urgency

Senators Levin and Clinton opine about how do deal with North Korea's nuclear weapons in The Washington Post:

This is about more than the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the fate of South Korea and U.S. troops stationed there, important as those things are. What is at stake is the stability of Northeast Asia and, arguably, the global economic and political order. The administration must get serious. It doesn't matter who is at the table as long as we and the North Koreans are there, and as long as both sides negotiate with seriousness and urgency. The administration must inject both into the process. Seriousness is demonstrated by spelling out a package to the North Koreans that addresses their fundamental need for economic assistance. It is demonstrated by rhetorical restraint. Name-calling aimed at our opponent has only hampered diplomacy. Seriousness means sending a senior U.S. official to meet with Kim Jong Il. And the way to know whether we have been trying hard enough is to determine whether our Asian negotiating partners also think diplomacy has been exhausted.
If, as the good Senators say, the stability of Northeast Asia and the global economic and political order is at stake here, then how can it be true that the only ones who need to be at the table is the North Koreans and the United States? If this is a problem for the entire region and the entire world, perhaps the entire region and the entire world should help to solve it. China of course is the nation that has the most influence on North Korea. China of course also would really like us to buy off North Korea and temporily put the genii back in the bottle. If you believe, as I do, that any solution that doesn't involve harsh censure and reaction from China toward North Korea will only promote there being a North Korean nuclear crises every few years, then making sure China takes the lead in these negotiations is of critical importance. For this to happen, China has to be convinced that solving the North Korean nuclear crisis is more important to them than it is to us. North Korea, and the North Koreans do not have a fundamental need for economic assistance. They have a fundamental need for a new government structure that doesn't cause famines and destroy any hopes of livelihood for it's people. An economic assistance package will only strengthen the regime and make it last longer. That may be something we need to do, it may be worth it to trade the lives of North Koreans for the lives of South Koreans and others threatened by Kim Jong Il's nuclear and conventional weapons. We may indeed make that choice, but if we do, we should not for a second pretend that we are helping the North Korean people. We will be instead consigning them to a longer and more painful slavery. I certainly agree that our diplomats should not be engaging in name-calling. No matter how tempting it may be, they should refrain from mocking Kim Jung Il's hairstyle. However, to pretend that he is a civilized person, that he is a legitimate representative of his people, or that he is anything more than a thug who is trying to blackmail us with weapons of mass destruction would be fundamentally dishonest. If there is evil in the world, it is represented by Kim Jung Il's regime, built on the oppression and squalor of his people. We do no one any good pretending he is a Statesman.


Blogger Vestigial Fish said...

I agree. It's China's ball. The problem won't be solved until China wants it solved. I am firmly convinced that if China told Krazy Kim to knock it off today, the crisis would be over tomorrow.

7/06/2005 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Gib said...

Spot on, Dave. In my dream world, anything that gives China a greater role on the world stage should hinge on their handling North Korea.

7/06/2005 09:40:00 AM  

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