Some Second Deal
OpinonJournal reports the most-ignored official statement of the week, made by the nation's Director of National Intelligence, retired Admiral Mike McConnell. Appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, McConnell dropped this little bombshell about North Korea's nuclear program:
'While Pyongyang denies a program for uranium enrichment, and they deny their proliferation activities, we believe North Korea continues to engage in both."
As the Journal observes, McConnell's admission didn't receive much attention, because it contradicts Bush Administration efforts to maintain the Six Party nuclear deal with North Korea. Fact is, a similar 2002 admission--from the North Koreans--prompted the White House to suspend aid for Pyongyang, part of the fatally-flawed "Agreed To" Framework of the Clinton era.
As the Six Party accord continues to unravel, official U.S. policy seems to be reverting to form. Confronted by the very real possibility that North Korea has broken another agreement (surprise, surprise), Foggy Bottom and the White House prefer to whistle past the graveyard of failed diplomacy, hoping that the treaty can somehow be salvaged, or the entire mess can be pushed off on the next administration.
In either case, it's a fool's errand. As Bush foreign policy morphs into Clinton II, it's worth remembering what happened in the 1990s. By putting all its eggs into the diplomacy basket, the Clinton team ignored intelligence assessments that reported continuing nuclear activity by North Korea. That covert effort led to Pyongyang's first nuclear blast in 2005. We can only wonder what Kim Jong-il is up to, this time around.
Similar thoughts on the matter from Claudia Rosett.
Labels: North Korea nuclear program