Tuesday, February 13, 2007

North Korea: Some good news, finally

Sure, Iraq is complete chaos, and we have no coherent approach to Iran, but at least we are making some progress with Axis-of-Evil charter member North Korea. Yesterday, the Administration announced a deal that would bribe transfer $400 million to the North Koreans in exchange for inspections and dismantling of its nuclear program. Predictably, the neocons are against it:

“I am very disturbed by this deal,” former US Ambassador to the UN John "Walrus" Bolton told CNN. “It sends exactly the wrong signal to would-be proliferators around the world: ‘If we hold out long enough, wear down the State Department negotiators, eventually you get rewarded,’ in this case with massive shipments of heavy fuel oil, for doing only partially what needs to be done.”

Bolton is right, of course. On the other hand, the alternative is to have a rogue regime with starving citizens continue its production of nuclear weapons. Which is worse? Call me crazy, but I'd take the deal.

The North Koreans, by the way, probably won't uphold the deal, since it's basically the same one Clinton negotiated in 1994. But it's better than no policy at all, and the Bush Administration -- and the State Department -- deserves credit for coming to the table and brokering a deal.


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