Way off base
You won't get an argument out of me there.
There’s no country in the world remotely like North Korea.
North Korea’s test of a long-range missile that could reach the U.S. was dramatic. But it didn’t violate international law or disrupt the fundamental balance. An incomparably greater challenge is North Korea’s stealthy production of plutonium.Don't be so sure Nicholas. The trajectory of one missile crossed a flight path used by Airlines flying into South Korea. I would think that was a violation of international law.
That is where President Bush’s policy toward North Korea has failed dismally.Blame Bush, the favorite creed of those who write for the New York Times. Who fired the missile, Bush or Kim Il-Jong?
Then Mr. Bush’s blustery refusal to negotiate led the Dear Leader to ramp up plutonium production, so today North Korea has enough plutonium for four to 13 nuclear weapons. David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security estimates that by mid-2008 it will have enough plutonium for eight to 17 weapons.Refusal to negotiate? Who sent a delegation to Pyongyang in 2002? Who was in six power talks with North Korea since 2003?
What have these talks accomplished? Last year we seemed to think there were results but North Korea quickly reneged.
Finally, Mr. Bush’s approach has bolstered the cowboys in North Korea while undermining moderates.
The old diplomacy cliche about turning moderates into hardliners. This was so often heard when discussing the old Soviet Union.
It works even less well here. Only one person in Pyongyang matters. Kim Il-Jong and he is no moderate but does as he pleases.
Probably true or even fire one at the ROK where the fallout would drift over to Japan. Killing two birds with one stone.
The real missiles to worry about, by the way, aren’t the intercontinental ones, which are unreliable and probably not capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The most threatening are medium-range Nodong missiles, which probably could deliver nuclear warheads to Japanese cities — killing hundreds of thousands of people and severely harming the world economy.
I totally agree with the first sentence and your column is a splendid example of it at work. You're clever Nicholas, but spit it out.
Granted, the hardest job in the world is devising a North Korea policy; the easiest is to criticize one. Nonetheless, our present policy is failing so wretchedly that it’s time to start afresh.
Escalating confrontation is a fool’s game, because North Korea has more taste for brinksmanship than we do. It can hold a nuclear test, test a missile so that it “accidentally” lands near a Japanese port, send a few spy submarines to torpedo Asian stock markets, or trigger a financial panic by leaving a (sealed) suitcase of anthrax in the Tokyo subway.I don't like the military option either but how do spy submarines torpedo the Asian Stock markets? Nicholas you're confusing me(and most NYT readers I'd guess).
The only option we have is to negotiate seriously, both in the six-party talks and directly with the North. Mr. Bush has steadily adopted more pragmatic policies toward North Korea over the last five years, and briefly last fall when he entrusted his able envoy, Chris Hill, with real authority, the talks went surprisingly well. Then North Korea had a tantrum and the administration reined in Mr. Hill, and we’re back in a crisis.That tantrum was probably well calculated PR. Like the family re-unification meetings and opening a railroad line between North and South. Kim has a history of dangling some concession or change and then taking it back.
Mr. Bush is absolutely right to raise North Korean counterfeiting and human rights abuses. But if we want to do more than huff and puff, those concerns must be part of an overall strategy to roll up our sleeves and engage North Korea, with our first priority a halt to plutonium production. It’s time to hold our nose and negotiate directly.Kristoff's column ends right there. Leaving the unanswered question of how one on one negotiations will be any more fruitful than the six-power talks.
The column leaves me with the impression that its only purpose was to bash the Bush administration's policy. For it is just as hollow as Kim Il-Jong's promises. Nicholas Kristof, you can do better than this.
Open Post- Blue Star, Right Wing Nation, Basil's Blog, Adam's Blog, Outside the Beltway, Bright & Early, Cao's Blog, Bloggin Outloud, Third World County,