Friday, January 11, 2008

Today's Reading Assignment

..from former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton in The Wall Street Journal. With North Korea refusing to provide a full disclosure of its nuclear activities--as promised in the Six Party Accord--the U.S. now has an opportunity to extricate itself from a deal that Mr. Bolton describes as "unwise" and "dangerous."

Moreover, Washington would find ready support for a tougher line against Pyongyang. South Korea's new president, Lee Myung-bak (who takes office next month), is the first "realist" to occupy the Blue House in a decade. Japan's prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, is continuing Tokyo's tough-minded approach toward North Korea. In turn, unity among the U.S., South Korea and Japan would allow Washington to put more pressure on North Korea, through new economic sanctions and other measures.

Sadly, Bolton's advice will fall on deaf ears. The Foggy Bottom crowd is now firmly in charge of U.S. security policies, and the career diplomats--along with the White House--have staked their reputations and legacies on the Six Party deal. Never mind that Kim Jong-il is up to his usual tricks.


OldSarg said...

In light of the disclosure that NK is not abiding by the agreement and this looks to be another State Department screw-up, is the naming of General Will Fraser to the Israeli Palestinian conflict an indication of the Presidents lack of faith/ trust in the State Department?

Unknown said...

Sarg--Good question. I know Lt Gen Fraser (slightly) from my Air Force days. He is an exceptionally gifted audience and a straight-shooter, well-versed in both political and diplomatic matters. When Secretary Rice was on her "shuttle diplomacy" mission to the Middle East a few months back, Fraser was the general that you see in some of the press photos of the U.S. delegation, or various meetings with the two sides.

I think Fraser got the job because of his considerable skills, and it continues the U.S. policy of naming current/former military generals as envoys to the region. You'll recall that retired USMC General Zinni filled a similar post a few years ago. However, I don't think you can discount Mr. Bush's personal suspicion of the diplomatic corps (or, at least some elements within that group). Having let the diplomats take the lead in national security issues, the President may feel more comfortable with Fraser on the job, as someone who will provide unvarnished assessments of the situation, and won't see diplomacy as the only option--or continuing on a peace process that may already be broken.

General Fraser is highly respected by all the players, including Secretary Rice, so he was a logical choice for the job. It's also a sign that his career is still very much on the upward trajectory. And, in an Air Force dominated by fighter jocks, Fraser is a bit of a rarity, since he's a career bomber pilot.

nom de guerre said...

so if "the foggy bottom crowd is firmly in control of" US foreign policy, rather than - you know - the president, the guy who's *supposed to be* in charge ....

can we now give more credence to the once laughable conspiracy theory of 'there's a statist shadow government that's actively mounting a coup against the elected gov't'? like when the intel services trotted out an estimate of iran's nuclear ambitions designed *solely* to undercut their elected boss, GWB?

are those nutty meanderings a little less loony now? if so, what's to be done?

Consul-At-Arms said...

Am presently slogging through Amb. Bolton's book. It's entertaining and occasionally has some fascinating tidbits, but a lot of it is so "inside baseball" as to drag through much of the early chapters.

I've quoted you and linked to you here: