Tuesday, May 4, 2004
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North Korea talks to Selig Harrison
The Financial Times reports that North Korea has told Selig Harrison -- a North Korea expert who has acted as a conduit for North Korean diplomatic proposals in the past -- that it has no plans to sell its nuclear material to Al Qaeda:
The problem with these kind of dimplomatic messages is that they merely confirm the predispositions of the different elements of the Bush administration. To
I'm betting that Bush will side with the conservatives on this one.posted by Dan on 05.04.04 at 12:40 AM
There's nothing inconsistent between the positions you ascribe to Powell and to Cheney. They could both be true, and it's really a matter of which course is preferred for optimal results.posted by: Ray on 05.04.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]
It seems to me that whichever view is correct (the pragmatic or the conservative), this in unquestionably good news. Was this not the whole point behind our involvement in Iraq in the first place? The fact that it has already yielded such startling results (in Lybia and North Korea) should give the critics pause. And who knows what other belligerents are currently involved in frenzied negotiations behind the scenes?posted by: Barry N. Johnson on 05.04.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]
I've been waiting for evidence that the recent railroad disaster was not an accident, such as another one.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 05.04.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]
We can try drawing a new line in the sand, and threatening a nuclear attack if a nuclear sale occurs. But warheads aren't that large.
Scared: Force was never a good option against North Korea as it risked so many South Korean lives.
The problem remains How can we ever trust such a regime? We cannot and experiece shows that they will almost surely continue to cheat.
Den Beste posted a theory last year that our strategy should be (and is) to starve them out till the regime collapses. There is a lot of information coming from N. Korea suggesting this will happen. The latest train wreck really has to hurt as both trains were filled with energy, a resouce in very short supply there and the damage to the rail system will only make things worse for their economy.posted by: tallan on 05.04.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]
pragmatism simply makes no sense with this regime.posted by: kluless on 05.04.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]
That you can ascribe the term "conservative" to Cheney and juxtapose it against the "pragmatism" of Powell is just plain wrong on so many levels Dan. Cheney is not a "conservative". He's a political and big business operator who works in the Republican party. He does not represent "conservative" values. He does however side with the hardliner and reactionary pro-confrontation military wing of thought within the Republican party - a position more neoconservative than conservative.
In addition, Powell is not a "pragmatist". Powell always has been "conservative" about the use of military force, favoring it only if strongly supported by the public and delivered with overwhelming force as a last resort for strictly Machiavellian National Security Interests. For instance he opposed the Bosnian/Serbia invasion for years.
However he cannot be called a pragmatic, since he has gone along with some truly pathetically unpragmatic ideas. Suffice to say both your labels are wrong, and your analysis messed up. What Bush wants is to get relected. Hence he will punt the ball to buy time. What he choices in December may be quite different, but for the time being all he wants to do is keep the lid on the pot.posted by: Oldman on 05.04.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]
One of the drawbacks of having weak Presidents is the difficulty they have breaking bureaucratic deadlocks on important and even urgent issues. This is what is going on here.
The default is Cheney's side of the Cheney/ Powell disagreement on North Korea, because this is the side that requires no action to be taken. But we don't know that from the President, or from anyone who speaks for the President. This leads to the thought that the powers within the administration have just agreed to disagree until some major crisis either proves one side right or forces action one way or the other. In any event is it not logical to expect a President who entered office with no knowledge of Korea other than its approximate location on a map to break a stalemate between determined senior officials with strong views on a difficult subject.posted by: Zathras on 05.04.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]
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