Thursday, August 6, 2009

A post about something

The last couple posts were largely written from the perspective of me trying to put forth what I thought Clinton's summit meant now and what it could mean in the future. But, for today's post -- and I'm trying very hard to refrain from posting for the sake of posting, I'm going to have to criticize probably the worst editorial I've come across in a long time and try to undo the disservice to the American public that the New York Times has just done. It's definitely worse than the fairly recent editorial from the Los Angeles Times on which I had so much to say. This is just an excerpt:
To start, that means not giving in to Pyongyang’s desire to make the talks a bilateral process with Washington. It is imperative to keep South Korea, Japan, China and Russia — key participants in any effective deal — engaged. Officials from Washington and Pyongyang can still meet separately, as they did under Mr. Bush.

Most important, the United States and its partners need to make clear that the expectations are higher than they were before — that North Korea will not be rewarded again just for recommitting to promises that were broken before and likely will be broken again. Future steps toward disarmament must be irreversible.

Under a 2005 agreement, North Korea shut down its reactor at Yongbyon — the source of plutonium for its nuclear weapons — and promised to dismantle its bomb-making infrastructure. It has since kicked out international inspectors and claims to be rebuilding and resuming its capabilities. One way to make disablement more permanent: pour concrete into the reactor core ("Next Steps With North Korea" : New York Times).
I thought George W. Bush's Administration was out of touch with reality when during the entire time North Korea systematically went from first withdrawing from the NPT and then kicking out inspectors at Yongbyon to eventually detonating a nuclear device, the only thing the Bush Administration actually did was mutter ridiculously delusional demands, such as "CVID" (Complete, Verifiable, Irreversible, Disarmament).

But, this article. This article reminds me of those translated to English, Neoconfucian classics on what it takes to be a good leader or a good king or like a saying from Sun Tzu's Art of War. It throws basically everything a wise and virtuous leader should do (basically mention anything and everything that could be written down without expressing a coherent opinion and, of course, all the while conveniently not mentioning any explicit course of action a good and virtuous leader should actually do). It might make for great philosophy -- if you're into that kind of thing, but it sure shouldn't be wasting space on a major U.S. daily.

What got me in particular was how the author doesn't take a position on the six-party talks. North Korea feels betrayed (China is a permanent member on the U.N.S.C. and they recently passed sanctions against North Korea). So, of course, North Korea doesn't want to go to Beijing for Six-Party Talks. And, the U.S. has rejected bilateral talks with North Korea. And, President Obama is saying nothing has changed:
In words that may well serve to reassure U.S. allies Japan and South Korea, Gibbs said U.S. policy had not changed as a result of Clinton's visit ("White House says policy toward North Korea unchanged" : Reuters India).
So, I would think that this article would have a new suggestion linking back to something from Clintons' trip that has somehow allowed for some new type of dialogue (which it doesn't do) or argue for something that's been proposed in the past (which it also doesn't do).

In an editorial one would expect a stance toward a particular issue and would take the time to outline it. For example, I think it's about time to let the six party talks die, perhaps in favor of four-party talks (and not necessarily in Beijing either). There are just too many countries representing too many interests, which makes the entire process too cumbersome. It also rewards Beijing for doing absolutely nothing, while giving the U.S. the false impression and hope that Beijing actually has the influence to reign in North Korea from developing nukes, when the country clearly doesn't.

Moreover, what does the author mean when writing that the United States must keep her allies "engaged" even as the United States and North Korea can meet without the presence of her allies. I mean what type of "engagement" are we talking about.

President Obama's "engagement" -- which is more like George W. Bush Administration's CVID talk were it ever to have been implemented into policy one day? Or, how Japan was being engaged when the U.S. notified her closest ally in Asia some twenty minutes before taking North Korea off its list of states sponsoring terrorism? (Recall that North Korea kidnapped Japanese citizens from Japanese soil -- imagine the outcry if that happened in California -- which is similar to the warcry that gave us California -- and, of course, North Korea actually harbored Japanese communist terrorist/rebels; This is similar to the Bush Administration's accusations against Tehran early on in this decade if these accusations actually turned out to be true). By the way, I really am a Republican (in a more traditional sense, if you get what I mean).

But anyways, back to this work of profound thought. The author writes, "Future steps toward disarmament must be irreversible." Umm. There's more to this sentence than just stating the obvious and moving towards the asinine. "One way to make disablement more permanent: pour concrete into the reactor core."

Anyways, the reason I bring this up is that this article for all it's gibberish gives off the illusion that people still believe that North Korea will give up it's nuclear weapons in exchange for aid one day. And, this is exactly what this trashy editorial (can't believe it was actually published in the New York Times) presumes: North Korea will give up its nukes. And, one thing that the past sixteen years has shown...Why else would the Obama Administration be "engaging" North Korea in a way that has changed the definition of the word "engagement" (something this reporter just doesn't seem to get).

Sixteen years of North Korean intransigence has now shown both those that had been previously in favor of "engagement" (Sunshine Policy people, what the word used to mean when previously used in context of North Korea) with North Korea and those that didn't are now all basically in agreement -- North Korea will not give up it's nuclear weapons (But let's say for the sake of this article, that it's possible. North Korea will willingly give up its nukes -- as the country borders China, South Korea, and Russia). This time though, let's make it permanent: "One way to make disablement more permanent: pour concrete into the reactor core."

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