Still Kidding Around With North Korea

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Memo: To
Senator's Kerry's Advisors
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Negotiations with Pyongyang

I’m sure you
read the NYTimes story this morning from Beijing, “U.S. Cites
Scant Progress in Nuclear Talks With North Korea." It notes
Senator Kerry’s position that the U.S. should “engage in intensive,
bilateral discussions with North Korea in addition to the six-party
talks, and has criticized the Bush administration for being slow
to enter serious negotiations.” I agree with this position, but
if you look at the last paragraph of the article by Joseph Kahn
you should realize the administration is still not serious about
negotiations with Pyongyang: “During the talks, North Korea repeatedly
denied using uranium enrichment to make nuclear fuel in addition
to its acknowledged plutonium program. The United States said that
no deal could be reached unless North Korea admitted to having
two methods to make nuclear fuel.”

In other
words, the Bush administration is willing to bend over backwards
to come to a diplomatic agreement with North Korea… as long
as it confesses to having a hidden program to develop highly-enriched
uranium (HEU) that it insists it does not have, and for which
there is no evidence. Yes, James Kelly, who leads the American
delegation in the six-party talks, awhile back said a North Korean
delegate told him at a cocktail party that his country had an
HEU program, but the government immediately disputed the story
that Kelly fed to the NYTimes. Our intelligence agencies
have yet to locate evidence of an HEU program and wouldn’t know
where to look for one if they were invited to search high and
low, the way Saddam Hussein invited the CIA last year. North Korea
– supported by its neighbors in Seoul and Beijing –
has indicated it would be willing to rejoin the Non-Proliferation
regime and permit UN inspectors to come look high and low, but
not unless they get iron-clad assurances from the U.S. that we
will deal in good faith, as we have not dealt in the past and
are obviously dealing in good faith now.

That’s right,
our good old Uncle Sam has been acting in bad faith toward North
Korea for a long, long time, preferring to keep it as “an enemy”
rather than work things out with them, as their neighbors clearly
would like to do. Here is a memo I posted here last November 6
that goes over the recent history in support of my contention.
The neo-con intellectuals in the Pentagon and their stooges in
the State Department need to have “enemies,” or their plans for
an American Empire with military outposts throughout the world
dissolve. They really don’t want the UN’s IAEA inspectors back
into North Korea, you surely understand, because the inspectors
will find no HEU program, just as they did not want UN inspectors
back into Iraq, knowing they would find no weapons of mass destruction.
Diabolical little jokers, aren’t they?

Nov 6 2003
A Little Joke We Played on Pyongyang

Memo To: Democratic Presidential candidates
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Those North Korea Nukes

Now that you folks are beginning to realize the extent of manipulation
and deception practiced by the Pentagon warriors in getting President
Bush into a totally unnecessary war with Iraq, maybe you should
start thinking about North Korea. As far as I can tell, none of
you realize the extent of the manipulation and deception the Pentagon
warriors have put into that leg of the u201CAxis of Evil,u201D with the
help of their stooge in the State Department, John Bolton, and
the incompetence of the American news media.

What prompts me to say this now was the report in Wednesday's
New York Times by David Sanger, U.S.
Persuades Allies to Halt North Korean Atom Project
. If you
read the story, you will find the Bush administration saying it
now opposes the idea of Asians and Europeans helping Pyongyang
build two nuclear power reactors to provide electricity for the
country. This came as no surprise to Pyongyang, which has been
steadily coming to realize the U.S. government was fooling in
the first place when, in 1994, we agreed to solicit help from
other countries in building these power plants. That's right,
we cut the deal back then in exchange for North Korea halting
work on the power plants it was then building, which we believed
could too easily be converted into components of nuclear weapons
plants. That u201CAgreed Frameworku201D solved the crisis facing the Clinton
administration at the time, but because our government never intended
to live up to our part of the agreement, it led to the pretty
pass we face today.

That's right. Back in 1994, the only way the right-wingers in
Congress would approve of a deal to provide North Korea with reactors,
even if they were u201Csafe,u201D was to be assured the USA would never
have to deliver on the promise. The rationale was that the Cold
War was ending in the USSR and China, which meant North Korea's
government would soon collapse and the Agreed Framework would
be moot. Back then, Kim il-Jong's father was close to death, and
it was assumed the kid was an incompetent who would be unable
to hold the country together as a commie state. Do you see what
I mean? If you don't believe me, you should ring up Robert Gallucci,
the fellow who negotiated the Agreed Framework. According to the
Times story, he's now at Georgetown University and seems
to think it is a very bad idea to be further provoking North Korea
when it is still engaged in the six-party talks that may end the
latest u201Ccrisisu201D with diplomacy instead of another pre-emptive
war. He’s on record, I believe, in saying the purpose of the Agreed
Framework was to “buy time,” five years he believed would be enough.

The reason I also cite our press corps is that its haplessness
has clearly misled Americans in general and you in particular
into thinking North Korea may be u201Can imminent threat.u201D That’s
because our newsies continue to report that Pyongyang last year
u201Cadmittedu201D it was “enriching uranium” that it has been digging
out of its mines, with the intent of building nukes. It never
did any such thing, yet it keeps popping up in the newspapers
as if it were an actual fact. Today, for example, we find USA
TODAY reporting: u201CA year after North Korea provoked a crisis
with the United States by admitting a secret effort to make weapons-grade
uranium, U.S. officials say the program appears to be far less
advanced than diplomats had feared. Intensive international monitoring
and North Korean ineptitude have significantly slowed efforts
to build a plant to produce highly enriched uranium, says a State
Department official involved in U.S. attempts to stop the spread
of nuclear weapons.u201D

Not only has North Korean u201Cineptitudeu201D slowed efforts to build
a plant, folks. It turns out there is no plant at all and never
has been. North Korea all along has said it has no interest in
building a nuclear weapon, that all it wants is that gosh darned
electricity it was promised, to keep its people from freezing
their butts off in the wintertime, once again bearing down on
the country. (I wrote about this on Feb. 24, in “It
Gets Awfully Cold in North Korea”
.) Our journalists keep reporting
what other reporters have reported and nobody in the government
tells them it ain’t so. The CIA and DIA have never been able to
locate the phantom plant, but never seem to have told the newsies.
Once you understand how our little joke has caused miseries to
the ordinary folk of North Korea, you might understand why their
government is so upset, dropping out of the Non Proliferation
Treaty in protest and rattling their plutonium rods as if they
just might build a nuke.

If asked nicely, the North Koreans would come back into the NPT,
which would mean the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would
be able to check out any suspicious signs of a nuke program. It
now has the technology to do that if given unfettered access. (You
should also know the IAEA has never accused North Korea of cheating
on the NPT, although you could not tell that by reading the major
papers.) By now, though, it is clear to Pyongyang that the warhawks
in the Pentagon — and their stooge, John Bolton at State — don't
want compliance and never have. They want a nice little war, or
at least a regime change and another puppet government like they
have arranged for Iraq. What good did it do Baghdad to persuade
the IAEA that it was no threat? The boys want An American Empire!
Secretary of States Colin Powell, whose heart is in the right place,
has been trying to work things out with Pyongyang, but every time
he makes a diplomatic move, his Undersecretary Bolton has a press
conference and calls Kim Il-jong a commie rat fink. What can a poor
Secretary of State do when his big boss, the President, now and
then has a press conference and calls Kim Il-jong a commie rat fink?
The General should resign and write some new memoirs, that's what.

Dear Democratic presidential contenders, I wish you would take
some time out of the raging debate over the Confederate Flag and
check out North Korea. If you knew what was going on, you would
tell the world and the voters that if you make it to the Oval
Office, you will see to it that those power plants are built and
the North Koreans have electricity and a promise we will not bomb
them as long as they keep the IAEA happy. I for one would sleep
peacefully if the IAEA was happy. By the way, it does not cost
us anything to get those power plants finished. They have been
financed by South Korea and Japan, who are the most concerned
with having a nuke-free North Korea. If you check with former
Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, he can tell you this was my idea
back when I was advising him on matters of this sort. He passed
it on to President Clinton and that was that. Sometimes, not always,
I have good ideas.

28, 2004

Wanniski [send him mail]
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