Wednesday, September 21, 2005

North Korea, The United States, and Nukes

In the six-party talks on Monday, North Korea promised to give up its nuclear weapons program in an exchange for "normal" relations with the other countries involved in the talks -- South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China. These 5 nations said that they would provide oil, energy aid and security guarantees in return for North Korea's disarmament.

Supporters of the six-party talks were quick to cheer the agreement, considering it to be of landmark importance. The head negotiator from China called the deal "the most important achievement in the two years since the start of six-party talks." The chief U.S. negotiator seemed enthusiastic as well.

When I read this I was completely unconvinced about the deal's "success." The deal is instantly another blemish on the Bush administration's record. This agreement undermines what the president is trying to accomplish in his stance towards nations from the Axis of Evil, as well as nations that harbor terrorists. This deal is not the steadfast, stick-to-your-guns approach that has made the president successful in the past. But this is besides the point.

Have our country's foreign policy negotiators completely forgotten about the 1994 Agreed Framework? Do they refuse to remember that it failed miserably? North Korea had promised to give up its nuclear weapons program then, yet secretely continued to pursue nuclear capabilities. What makes this new agreement different from the failed 1994 attempt?

Well, nothing. There is absolutely no reason to be confident that North Korea will comply this go around. And two days after the agreement, there are already problems. From Breitbart:

"In a second day of bluster after its disarmament accord, North Korea accused the United States on Wednesday of planning a nuclear attack and warned it could retaliate.

North Korea 'is fully ready to decisively control a pre-emptive nuclear attack with a strong retaliatory blow,' the communist nation's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in an English-language commentary carried by the state Korean Central News Agency."

It remains to be seen what the administration plans to do about this blunder. My hope is that a close, scrutinous eye will be kept on North Korea, and that when Pyongyang missteps, the administration will return to an uncompromising approach in attaining the nuclear disarmament of North Korea.