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October 4, 2004
Truthsquadding At The Washintgton Post On North Korea

The Washington Post editorial board does a little "truthsquadding" this morning in a staff editorial on North Korea. In the first presidential debate, John Kerry asserted that George Bush's Korean policy had resulted in the nuclear weapons Kim Jung-Il claims he now has, an unsupportable accusation, as the Post notes:

Some truth-squadding is needed here: While the CIA concluded that North Korea may have built one or two nuclear weapons before Mr. Bush took office, and while U.S. intelligence agencies believe the fuel rods have been reprocessed into plutonium, there is no certainty that North Korea has built more nuclear weapons. To say so is to make the same sort of reach that Mr. Kerry faults Mr. Bush for making in his statements about Iraq's nuclear program.

In other words, since the CIA concluded that the North Koreans had one or two nuclear weapons already as Bush took office, and since their prevention had been the entire point of the Agreed Framework, further negotiation along those lines were rather pointless. The Bush administration correctly dropped that pretense and used another tack to control North Korean ambitions: the six-nation multilateral talks.

Kerry derided Bush's reliance on the six-nation effort and claimed that direct negotiations with Kim would resolve the problem. However, the Post disagrees:

As soon as the United States agrees to bilateral talks, the North Korean regime will refuse further sessions of the "six party" negotiations that have been underway, relieving China, South Korea, Japan and Russia of responsibility for pressuring Pyongyang and leaving the United States to make a deal alone. Lacking the tools of China -- which controls North Korea's energy supplies and could cause its regime to collapse simply by loosening border controls -- the United States would once again face the choice of offering distasteful bribes to a murderous dictatorship or threatening an almost unthinkable war.

Kerry proposes to trade away all of the leverage we have on Kim, mostly from China after painstaking diplomacy allowed us to have that on our side. China themselves announced the night of the debate that the only solution would be the current model for negotiations. North Korea wants bilateral talks because it fears China, and not because it wants to make a deal with the US.

The change Kerry offers is sheer folly, and especially odd considering his insistence that George Bush is a dangerous unilateralist. The difference here is that George Bush tried several times to get France, Russia, and China to work with him on Iraq and to finally enforce the sixteen separate resolutions for disarming Iraq and complying with the terms of the 1991 cease-fire, and they refused, having been (as we know now) deeply involved in kickback schemes from the Oil-For-Food program. Kerry would have us throw away the assistance we already get from Russia and China to return to the Agreed Framework that allowed North Korea to build the weapons we wanted to prevent in the first place.

It's hard work to get that clueless, but Kerry manages to do it. Kudos to the Post for seeing through the smokescreen.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 4, 2004 4:32 AM

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The situation in Darfur was made up by the Bush Administration. George Soros is already writing the script for a new MoveOn commercial. Hey, wadda 'bout dem North Korean Nukes? Meanwhile, Kerry gets another rejection. Ya think he's getting the [Read More]

Tracked on October 4, 2004 6:54 AM

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