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OP/ED: The North Korean Nuclear Confrontation: A History Of Efforts

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posted on May, 18 2005 @ 05:17 PM
This Op/Ed piece is an effort to highlight very distinct approaches to North Korea by mainly two United States Presidents - President Clinton and President Bush. One President used diplomacy to keep the lid on North Korean nuclear weapons, the latter stonewalled and forced a confrontation no one can afford to allow and that we face to this day.

President George H. W. Bush's watch

President George H. W. Bush

President Kim Il Sung

After the fall of the USSR the North Koreans only source of protection evapourated. In response to their new strategic weakness they endeavoured to obtain the ultimate deterant - a nuclear weapon.

North Korea's nuclear weapons program began in earnest during the presidency of President George H. W. Bush's in 1989. U.S satellite images showed the North Koreans were building a reprocessing plant near the North Korean town of Yongbyon. The reprocessing plant was designed to extract Plutonium from spent fuel rods. Reprocessing plants are prohibited under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that the North Koreans signed in 1985.

Nuclear Reprocessing Plant at Yongbyon, North Korea

President Bush Sr.'s response to this was to pursue a strategy of luring North Korea into compliance of the NPT. President Bush Sr. offered progress in diplomatic ties and normalisation of U.S-N.K relations in exchange for sticking to the NPT.

As a result of this strategy the first IAEA inspections of North Korean nuclear facilities, headed by Hans Blix, were carried out in 1992. However the inspections did not go well with the North Koreans hampering inspections. Many believed the North Koreans to be using their compliance with the NPT as a bargaining chip. They were right.

President Bill Clinton's watch

President Bill Clinton

In 1993 North Korea announces its intention to withdraw from the NPT. The World is shocked by the news and frantic diplomatic efforts begin. The newly elected President Clinton tasks Robert Gallucci to start a new round of negotiations with the North Koreans to bring them back into line. President Clinton faces increasing pressure from Republicans wanting the negotiations to cease.

After 89 days of negotiations the North Koreans announce they are suspending their withdrawal from the NPT. The treaty requires 90 days notice before being released from the terms of the treaty. This was a direct result of President Clinton's diplomatic initiatives. However, the IAEA could not guarantee that the North Koreans were not in violation of the NPT.

In April 1994 the North Koreans upped the stakes considerably by not allowing inspectors to monitor the transference of their irradiated fuel from their nuclear reactor. In addition, the North Koreans threaten to reprocess the fuel giving them enough plutonium to manufacture 5 or 6 nuclear weapons.

President Clinton had a dialemma, how can he stop the North Koreans from carrying out their threat whilst maintaining any semblence of authourity without going to War? President Clinton is a known dove and holds War as a last resort yet he orders plans for a strike on the Yongbyon reactor.

The plan called for the mobilisation of 50,000 troops to South Korea reinforcing the 37,000 U.S soldiers already in South Korea. The plan called for 400 combat jets, 50 ships, and additional battalions of Apache helicopters, Bradley fighting vehicles, multiple-launch rockets, and Patriot air-defense missiles. The estimated death toll from North Korean reprisals are estimated to be 100,000+.

An attack on Yongbyon could only be a last resort. Yet President Clinton ordered an advanced team of 250 soldiers to South Korea to coordinate any U.S strike on Yongbyon. President Clinton, recognising the seriousness of the situation, simulaneously presses the UN to impose sanctions on North Korea and also opens up a secret diplomatic back-channel. He had to, the consequences of military action were just too severe.

President Jimmy Carter
The diplomatic back-channel came in the form of ex-President Jimmy Carter. He had gone to North Korea under the guise of a private venture, against the wishes of Clinton. He was the perfect choice, as President, he advocated the removal of all U.S soldiers from South Korea. The move was fiercly shot down but it had endeared him to North Korean leader, Kim Il Sung. Kim had actually given Carter an open invitation to visit the country any time he wanted.

Clinton's opinion was that Kim Il Sung had backed himself into a corner and needed an out. Carter was his answer, he not only got Kim to back down, he actually negotiated the outlines of an accord with the North Koreans. Live on CNN, having given President Clinton only minutes prior warning, he announced the outlines of the accord stating that Kim "[has] given me assurance that as long as this good-faith effort is going on between the United States and North Korea, that the inspectors will stay on site and the surveillance equipment will not be interrupted."

President Kim Jong Il

On the day the U.S negotiations began Kim Ill Sung died of a heart attack. He was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Il. The negotiations were sucessful. A military confrontation had been averted, the plutonium was back under international control and the accord became known as the Agreed Framework.

Under the Agreed Framework the North Koreans would renew its commitment to the NPT, shut down the Yongbyon complex, lock up the fuel rods and allow full IAEA inspections at their nuclear facilities. In exchange the United States, in conjunction with Japan and South Korea, would provide North Korea with two light-water nuclear reactors to help alleviate its energy problems, 500,000 metric tons of heavy fuel oil annually until completion of the light water reactors and an assurance that the United States would not invade. Note, the initial reason the North Koreans embarked on the process of nuclear weaponisation was due to security reasons.

The accord also required that after the first reactor delivery the North Koreans would allow the intrusive IAEA inspections to begin. After the the second reactor delivery they would ship their spent fuel rods out of the country. Effectively giving up any chance of building nuclear weapons.

Not a bad investment, two light water reactors, some oil and a promise in exchange for complete nuclear compliance from an obviously volatile government.

Another, less reported, section of the Agreed Framework called for the "move toward full normalization of political and economic relations." After three months of the signing of the accord both nations were to lower trade barriers and install ambassadors in each others capitals.

Initially the North Koreans adhered to the accord, thats more than can be said of the United States. Since the Agreed Framework was an accord and not a formal treaty Congress did not have to ratify its terms. Republicans in Congress balked at the financial investment as did the South Korean. The reactors were never funded and steps towards normalization were never taken.

Republicans objected to what they viewed as Clintons appeasement policy towards North Korea and did not want to be seen as "rewarding bad behaviour". That would be fine if you were dealing with a 2 year old child but is overly simplistic at an international level as can be seen by the consequences.

In December 1994 a U.S helicopter was shot down by the North Korean Army. One U.S soldier was killed and another was captured. The North Koreans accuse them of being spies, the United States said they accidentally strayed off course during a routine training mission. The soldier is eventually released but only after Washington expresses "sincere regret" over the accident.

In 1996 a North Korean spy submarine lands on the South Korean shore. In retaliation the South Koreans suspend their contribution of fuel under the Agreed Framework. North Korea retaliated with the usual firey rhetoric. It later became known that at this time North Korea started to export missile technology to Pakistan in exchange for centrifuges needed for nuclear fuel enrichment.

During this time North Korea had been enduring a major famine. The famine was the result of major economic decline and devastating weather conditions. In 1995-96 floods destroyed 16% of all arable land and drought ravaged the west coast in 1997. According to foreign aid workers an estimated 2 million people died from famine in North Korea during this time.

South Korean President Kim Dae Jung

It looked very dark in regards to North Korea but respite came in 1998 when Kim Dae Jung was elected South Korean President. He quickly instates his "Sunshine Policy" which advocates openness and engagement with North Korea. It assumes Kim Jong Il wants to modernize the North Korean economy and aims to aid him in that process.

However, in a suprise move, North Korea launched a Taepodong 3-stage missile over Japan in an apparent test to prove it can reach the island nation. The move embarrasses President Clinton who backed Dae Jung's Sunshine Policy. Clinton, at Congresses behest, opens a review into U.S relations wih North Korea, headed by William Perry.

After more negotiations North Korea agreed to allow the U.S to inspect its suspected nuclear facility at Kumchangri in exchange for food aid. In March 1999 the U.S inspectors found no evidence of nuclear activity at the site but some sceptics claim the North Koreans removed all traces before the visit.

In May 1999 the inspectors visit is followed by the first Presidential envoy to North Korea. William Perry meets with Kim Jong Ill and hand delivers a letter from President Clinton. Perry tries to convince them to drop their missile and nuclear programs in exchange for a revival in attempts to normalize relations coupled with economic relations.

Months later Perry releases the findings of his review into U.S-NK relations and finds that "the urgent focus of U.S. policy toward the DPRK must be to end its nuclear weapons and long-range missile-related activities." He suggest a two path strategy of a gradual negotiated end to North Koreans nuclear weapons program whilst gradually normalizing relations.

In September 1999 North Korea agreed to freeze all missile testing and President Clinton responds by easing some economic sanctions imposed on North Korea since the 1950's Korean War.

By 2000 relations on all sides had improved dramatically. South Korean President Kim Dae Jung visited Pyongyang for the first time. Families separated since the 1950's reunite for the first time. North and South Korea march together at the Olympic Opening Ceremony in Sydney, Australia.

In October 2000 South Korean President Kim Dae Jung received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to open relations with North Korea. A direct result of his Sunshine Policy.

A high level North Korean envoy, Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok, visits Washington in October 2000 and invited President Clinton to Pyongyang in an effort to demonstrate their commitment in improving relations. Kim Jong Ill also promises to sign a treaty banning the production of long-range missiles and the export of them. Both governments express "As a crucial first step, the two sides stated that neither government would have hostile intent toward the other and confirmed the commitment of both governments to make every effort in the future to build a new relationship free from past enmity."

As a result of Vice Marshal Rok's visit, U.S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright maid the advanced trip to the North Korean capital. She becomes the highest-level U.S. official to visit North Korea since the Korean War in 1950.

The talks with Albright and her staff seem to contradict the common perception of the North Korean leader. Robert Einhorn, Clinton's Cheif North Korean negotiator, who sat in on the talks had this to say about Kim Jong Ill. "He struck me as a very serious, rational guy who knew his issues pretty well," Wendy Sherman, Albright's North Korean Policy coordinator, had the same impression and said "There were 14 unresolved issues, and he sat with the secretary, answering all her questions.".

Einhorn went further saying "When Albright presented him with the questions, at first he looked a little puzzled, as if he hadn't known about them. Albright offered to give him time to look them over, but he said, 'No, no, I can do this.' He went down the list, one by one, and gave specific explanations. For example, on the question of missile exports, 'Yes, I mean no exports of missiles of any range.' And 'Yes, I mean to ban the export of missile technology, not just the missiles.' On issues where it was clear he didn't want to be drawn out yet, he skipped over them. He understood where he wanted to be clear and where he wasn't going to be."

After the Albright-Kim talks finished there was a frantic effort by the State Department to finish hammering out a final deal with the North Koreans but time ran out. President Clinton devoted the remainder of his term trying to secure a peace deal in the Middle East. However, as President Clinton left the Whitehouse for the last time as President the ground work was in place for a future deal with the North Koreans and the North Korean's nuclear fuel rods were still under lock and key.

President George W. Bush's watch

President George W. Bush

A few days before President Bush took office a half dozen members of Clinton's National Security team briefed the new administration on North Korea. Reactions were mixed at the briefing with Colin Powell showing hs eagerness to continue the work carried out by Clinton. Others such as the new National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, were less enthused. One participant at the briefing recalls "The body language was striking, Powell was leaning forward. Rice was very much leaning backward. Powell thought that what we had been doing formed an interesting basis for progress. He was disabused very quickly."

With the inaugration of President George W. Bush in January 2001 hopes were high that he would finish off the groundwork started by President Clinton. During a visit by South Korean President Kim Dae Jung, Colin Powell, the new U.S Secretary of State stated "We do plan to engage with North Korea and pick up where President Clinton and his administration left off. Some promising elements were left on the table." However Colin Powell was later censured by President Bush and later remarked that he had leaned "too forward in my skis." It was not the first time Powell found himself out of step with the Bush administration. He was the sole diplomat in an administration of hard-liners.

The visit by Kim Dae Jung to Washington to meet President Bush was a diplomatic disaster. Now that South Korea had a leader that was willing to negotiate with the North the United States had a leader who was not. Bush was of the opinion that to negotiate with an "evil regime" would be to recognize it, legitimize it, and if the negotiations led to a treaty or trade - prolong it. Bush was on the record as saying he "loathed" Kim Jong Ill. He distrusted anyone who wanted to negotiate with the North Koreans, that included Kim Dae Jung.

Not only did President Bush distrust the Nobel Peace prize winner he viewed him with startling contempt. Charles "Jack" Pritchard, State Department's special North Korean envoy under Bush, said "Bush's attitude toward KDJ [Kim Dae Jung] was, 'Who is this naive, old guy?'" To Bush, Kim Dae Jung, had committed a personal snub with his pre-Washington visit to President Putin of Russia, in which he issued a joint statement endorsing the preservation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. At this time it was common knowledge President Bush intended on scrapping the ABM treaty.

As a result, when KDJ arrived in Washington D.C President Bush criticised him and his Sunshine Policy. President Bush and his advisers, notably Vice President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, had decided to not only isolate North Korea but to isolate South Korea waiting for the election of a conservative with whom they could work with.

The Bush administration announced its intent to conduct its own review of U.S-NK relations. To reporters President Bush expresses his distrust of North Korea saying "Part of the problem in dealing with North Korea, there's not very much transparency. We're not certain as to whether or not they're keeping all terms of all agreements."

Stunned, the North Koreans threaten to consider restarting missile tests if the Bush administration doesnt resume diplomatic contact aimed at normalizing relations between their two countries. The following month the U.S State Department announced that North Korea had completed another Taepodong missile test.

After completing their policy review, the Bush administration agreed to resume talks with the North Koreans but insists on a much broader agenda. An agenda that far extends the previously agreed issues of missile and nuclear programs. The new policy calls for reduction to North Korea's conventional forces and an immediate resumption of IAEA inspections.

The September 11th attacks occur and fears over terrorists accquiring nuclear equipped missiles intensified.

South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun

In 2002 President Kim Dae Jung was replaced by Roh Moo Hyun as South Korean President in a landslide victory. Roh was a human rights lawyer who was swept to power on a pro-Sunshine policy and anti-American platform. Anti-American sentiment in both North and South Korea was increasing.

During the 2002 State of the Union address President Bush declares North Korea part of an "Axis of Evil" and claims Pyongyang is "a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens." Bush goes further to state that the United States is prepared to act pre-emptively to prevent the "grave and growing danger" of nuclear equiped rogue states. North Korean official newspapers declare that Bush's speech was "little short of declaring war."

The following month, President Bush visited Seoul for the first time. He was preceeded by his assistant Secretary of State for Asian affairs, James Kelly, who was also accompied by Charles Pritchard who recalls the mood in Seoul, "The conversation in the streets of Seoul was, 'Is there going to be a war? What will these crazy Americans do?' Roh said to us, 'I wake up in a sweat every morning, wondering if Bush has done something unilaterally to affect the [Korean] peninsula."

In October 3rd 2002, James Kelly visited Pyongyang to confront the North Koreans with the claim that they were secretly enriching Uranium. The Agreed Framework centered on Plutonium enrichment but the Americans claimed that Uranium enrichment violated the spirit, if not the letter of the framework. The next day the North Koreans admit to the secret enrichment but refuse to end it.

The admission is not publically announced for two weeks. The U.S senate was debating whether to authourise President Bush to go to war in Iraq. The threat from Iraq supposedly trumped the threat of nuclear war from North Korea who clearly had enough plutonium for 6 nuclear weapons and the missile delievery systems to use them. The announcement that North Korea was enriching Uranium was not publically released until the authourisation to invade Iraq was granted. It is argued that the North Koreans were a vastly more pressing problem than Iraq yet Bush was fixated on Saddam Hussein.

Relations had now soured so much that the Agreed Framework was unraveling and it was clear that the Light Water reactors were never going to be built. On Oct 20th President Bush formally announced the withdrawal from the Agreed Framework and urged all nations to cut off economic relations with North Korea. In November, the U.S. Japan, and South Korea cut off all fuel oil shipments to North Korea.

Now the North Koreans have even less strategic security than they did back in 1989. Their fuel needs have been compounded and they are literally starving to death. The North Koreans were once again boxed into a diplomatic corner, they decided to replay the crisis of 1994. In December the North Koreans expelled the IAEA inspectors, restarted the Yongbyon reactor and opened the container of fuel rods. The following month they formally withdrawed from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

By now the North Koreans insist that only bilateral talks between the United States will resolve the impasse. Pyongyang states that they will reverse their decision to withdraw from the NPT and drop its declarations if the United States resumes its commitments under the Agreed Framework as well as sign a non-aggression pledge. Bush refuses and maintains that multilateral talks including Japan, South Korea and China are the only path to "peace".

Another sign that North Korea was actively seeking a diplomatic resolution to the crisis was evident when North Korean U.N mission delegates visited Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico and a former U.N. ambassador in the Clinton administration. Richardson had previous experience bargaining with the North Koreans as he was the one who travelled to Pyongyang to negotiate the release of the U.S soldier killed in the helicopter that was shot down. He also negotiated the release of an American hiker who had accidentally crossed the North Korean border and who had been arrested as a spy.

Assuming that the use of Jimmy Carter as a diplomatic back channel was the norm in American diplomacy the North Koreans attempted to use Richardson in a similar way. Richardson was willing to serve as an intermediary and after two days of talks at Santa Fe he stayed in touch with the Bush administration. But the talks failed, Pritchard later recalled "The North Koreans were grasping for straws, looking for any friendly face. But they forgot to do the math. Richardson was a Democrat, a Clinton guy. No way would Bush have anything to do with him." Einhorn agreed saying that in the Bush administration "The default mode was skepticism about anything involving Clinton."

In Jan 13th 2003 Jim Kelly tried to keep the diplomatic life-line open for North Korea stating at a press conference in Seoul that "Once we get beyond nuclear weapons there may be opportunities--with the United States, with private investors, with other countries--to help North Korea in the energy area." However Kelly, like Colin Powell, was alone in his overtures to the North Koreans. He received no confirmation that his expression of faith in diplomacy was reciprocated by the Bush administration.

Furthermore, Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, a specialist in North East Asia, testifying infront of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that "Our suggestion is not quite that we handle these talks multilaterally, but we have a multilateral umbrella, of any sort." The comments reportedly infuriated President Bush who immediately ordered a ban on any public discussion of anything that might resemble one-on-one or bilateral talks with North Korea.

President Bush's stance on North Korea was shared by Cheney and Rumsfeld who both agreed that negotiations were the wrong way to deal with such regimes in the first place. President Bush had no desire to resume nuclear weapons talks with the North Koreans let alone about their energy needs. It was a matter of principle for the Bush adminstration, they couldnt be seen to be negotiating with such a regime. Infact Pritchard recalled reading an NSC memo early on in the Bush administration explicitly stating the "no negotiations policy" in an effort to maintain "moral clarity".

Due to the lack of talks or negotiations the North Koreans resumed the reprocessing of spent fuel rods. When the North Koreans threatend to do this back in 1994 President Clinton warned that doing so would cross a "red line", when Kim Jong Il actually did it in 2003 President Bush did nothing.

In the meantime North Korea harrassed U.S spy planes off its coast and pulled out of armistice talks that had been ongoing since the end of the Korean War.

Asian specialists within the U.S government were flabbergasted. The reprocessing of spent fuel rods was serious, when the North Koreans had the plutonium the strategic situation changed - permenantly. Even if the Bush administration could get the North Koreans back to the negotiating table they could never be sure as to whether the North Koreans had disarmed. The plutonium could be stored any where in the country in underground bunkers. Even before this latest round of reprocessing the CIA estimated the North Koreans could of produced two nuclear weapons produced from the reprocessing between 1989 and 1994.

In March 2003 President Bush ordered several attack planes as well as B-1 and B-2 bombers to Guam. Well within range of North Korea. This was intended to show the North Koreans that an air-strike could be forthcoming but it was too little too late. Any air-strike on the reprocessing plant would be too late as the fuel rods could be any where by now. It was a hollow threat and Bush made no moves to support the planes in Guam, he moved no naval assets into the area to prevent a North Korean invasion of South Korea. The offensive moves were also not accompanied by any diplomatic moves as Clinton's were back in 1994. Two months later Bush ordered the planes back to their bases.

Why the lacklustre show of force? A senior administration official speaking to the New York Times gave an insight: "President Bush does not want to distract international attention from Iraq."

Having defeated Saddam Hussein, Donald Rumsfeld sent President Bush a memo regarding the North Korean situation. It called for "regime change" in North Korea (against international law btw) and Bush seemed to agree later saying to Kim Jong Il: "You're hungry and you can't eat plutonium."

It seemed that a diplomatic solution to this credible nuclear threat would not be forthcoming until April 2003 when Kelly and Pritchard were sent to Beijing to try and arrange multilateral talks. He was ordered not to talk to the North Koreans by himself and could only talk to them in the company of other delegates. During this visit Li Gun, the North Korean Foreign Minister, announced that North Korea had nuclear weapons as a "deterent". He said they would not be given up until the U.S gave up its "hostile attitude" to North Korea. On returning to Washington Pritchard told of how the North Koreans had a "bold, new proposal", a proposal that said they would give up their nuclear weapons for a formal non-aggression pact with Washington. President Bush dismissed the proposal out of hand saying to a reporter "They're back to the old blackmail game."

By August it was clear that the Bush administrations strategy of destabilizing North Korea would not work, as was the North Koreans attempts to get bi-lateral talks. As a rare compromise both countries agreed to "six party talks" involving Russia, China, Japan, South Korea. For the first time at these talks Kelly was allowed to talk one on one with North Korean delegates but only in the same room as the other delegates (no secret one on ones) and had to start his 20-minute-only talk with "This is not a negotiating session. This is not an official meeting."

Since the Bush administration came to power the State Department had pursued a diplomatic route whereas the Pentagon and the NSC opposed it. Bush's compromise, the six party talks, took the middle road and failed completely. He allowed Kelly to talk but not to say anything meaningful. He allowed him to go to the table but not to put anything on it. Is it any wonder the six party talks were scrapped?

During the talks the rhetoric coming out of Washington did nothing to help. Undersecretary of State John Bolton was quoted as saying life inside North Korea was "a hellish nightmare" and that Kim Jong Il was a "a tyrannical dictator." Hardly the statements to make when your country is engaging in 6 party negotations however true they maybe!

Around this time Pritchard quit his position in the U.S government stating "My position was the State Department's envoy for North Korean negotiations, yet we were prohibited from having negotiations," He later found out the Bush administration hadnt wanted him to partake in the 6 party talks lest he take them too seriously. Pritchard was told that they referred to him as "the Clinton guy." Powell, Pritchards sole backer in the administration, pleaded for him not to quit, or to do it less publically. He stayed on to secure another round of talks in August then resigned.

The next round of talks eventually stalled and North Korea still refuses to partake in them until the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice aplogises for refering to North Korea as "an outpost of tyranny". The Bush administration refuses.

Just last month North Korea launched another Taepodong missile into the Sea of Japan. It also plans on a nuclear weapons test in the near future. North Korean - U.S relations have never been worse.

My thoughts

Whilst this was a long Op/Ed I think the basis for a possible nuclear war warrants an indepth look into how differing attitudes from more than one U.S President have worked. Its interesting to see how the North Koreans operate and how best to avoid a nuclear show down. The situation we are in now is dire.

We find ourselves with a nuclear armed North Korea, starving, with inadequate energy supplies, isolated, fearful of its national security and the Bush administration can only resort to venemous invectives.

Some conservatives see President Bush's refusal to negotiate with North Korea as a virtue. I see it as the sure fire way to endanger U.S national security.

Did they not learn anything from how to get the best out of the North Koreans from Clinton? At least his "appeasment" got nuclear disarmament and complete IAEA inspections of North Korea. What has Bush's stonewalling and refusal to negotiate got us?

Plans for pre-emptive nuclear strikes on North Korea thats what the Bush administration views as the best course of action. Rather than lose "moral clarity" they entertain the notion of nuclear warfare. That speaks volumes for the mentality of the Bush administration.

Do you think nuclear war, not just in North Korea, is a better option than coughing up some money and negotiating? Do you think Bush knows the exact location of their Nuclear Weapons any way? Do you think a nuclear strike will end North Korea's nuclear weapons? I think not, I think after the first U.S nuclear missile is launched, all rationality and all bets are off. Nuclear weapons launched by North Korea, or sold to terrorists - its all possible.

Who's aproach was best for U.S National Security and the Security and stability of the World at large? You be the judge.

Related News Links:

Related Discussion Threads:

[edit on 18/5/05 by subz]

posted on May, 18 2005 @ 06:17 PM
Wow, obviously a lot of work went into this. I disagree with some of your analysis and conclusions, but I think it's a good OP/ED and should be voted up.

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 04:11 AM
Thanks, took me atleast 5 hours to type up
I'd been meaning to post an Op/Ed on the differences in attitudes between Clinton and Bush for a while now. It's a major insight into how diplomacy can get what you want out of th North Koreans. I also feel it shows the North Korean leader in a better light, in a light that shows he is capable of rational thought.

I would be interested in knowing what you disagree with in my conclusion though. If you would like to post about it I would like to discuss it with you.

[edit on 19/5/05 by subz]

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 07:31 AM
A nice, informative timeline of the NK issue. You saved me a lot of work collating info on an important issue, the history of which, until now, I only had a general idea of. Thank you.

Content is what really matters and thus I don't usually comment on style, but I will here because your constant flipping between past tense and "headline-speak" present tense made the article a bit of a pain to read, to the point where it actually detracted from from the content a little. If you choose a tense, you have to stick with it through the entire section, and you usually don't want to flip more than once, such as when finishing describing past events and then beginning a new section describing the present situation. Anyway, I aint no inglish teacher, so nuff about that.

Despite all the drama it sparked, it is probable (and the hope of many) that the threats of pre-emptive strikes on NK nuclear sites are just more bluster and bluff from the Bush regime. The deployment of planes to Guam and the belligerent negotiation styles mentioned in your article are historical examples of this. They know they've got the biggest guns and they figure Kim Jong Il can bullied into compliance. Will it work? Not if the NK's past reactions to threats are any indication. The more you poke a cornered animal with a stick, the more likely it is to bite back, then you're only left with two choices: kill it or let it go.

One question is, does N.Korea really need the security of nuclear weapons? It seems that the US has only spoken of regime change as a reaction to NK's nuclear ambitions, not the other way around. If N.Korea worked to maintain a conventional army and fixed its internal issues, it's unlikely it would be threatened by other nations. Is Kim Jong's paranoia justified, or is he really a mad despot? Maybe we don't have all the facts. I remember Kim claiming that some of the nuclear facility inspectors were spies. It's easy to dismiss this as paranoid rantings, but who really knows? It wouldn't be the first time such things have happened. Saddam's claims that the WMD claims were a baseless smear campaign were also dismissed as the desperate ravings of an evil dictator. Hindsight, 20/20, and all that stuff...

Interestingly, all the hype over the recently reported apparent missile test by NKorea was overblown. The missile was a short-range missile incapable of reaching Japan, and not linked to NK's nuclear weapons program. Asian governments in the region downplayed the test. Those same Asian nations have also expressed doubts about the assessment that NK was preparing for an underground nuclear test. The only entity making a fuss over the missile test, and making claims of nuclear test preparations is the United States government. Can you spell "agenda"?
"The missile that North Korea recently fired is a short-range missile and is far from the one that can carry a nuclear weapon," Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min-soon said in an interview with South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

"This isn't a case to be linked to the nuclear dispute."

Song also commented on reports that Washington warned allies that Pyongyang might be ready to conduct an underground nuclear test as early as June, with Song saying South Korea had not received no such warning.

Song is South Korea's top envoy to the nuclear dispute.

South Korean officials have said they have not yet detected any signs to suggest that Pyongyang is preparing for a nuclear test.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

[edit on 2005/5/19 by wecomeinpeace]

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 09:17 AM
wecomeinpeace, I fully understand what you mean about the past and present tense in that op/ed. I did it unconsciously as I typed it up on the post without drafting it. If you think it's bad now, you should of read it before I edited out most of the present tense words. Alas, trying to edit them all out at 12:30am when you've been typing since 7pm is doomed to failure.

Theres more editing I'd like to do to it but for some reason I cant edit it any more.

I just think the way Clinton dealt with the North Koreans was the best over all strategy. Even George H. W. Bush agreed that negotiations were the way forward. The way George W. Bush deals in absolutes is just going to get people killed and will do nothing to prevent the North Koreans from arming themselves.

Remember: Only the Sith deal in absolutes

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 06:37 PM
Good stuff, however, I'm not certain as to how you managed to come to your usual Bush-bashing conclusion.

The article shows how NK has repeatedly folowed "diplomatic channels" while secretly doing whatever it damn well pleased. The article clearly stated even Clinton saw the need for military intervention. There are numerous instances in the story where NK continued developement while negotiations were taking place, using them as a means to gain time. Then soon after negotiations were completed, surreptiosuly breaking these agreements.

Even Carter's "unofficial" move, failed to make any lasting difference.

If anything, I draw the opposite conclusion. When offered the carrot, NK ate it and moved on. When Clinton, and now Bush Jr, waved the stick, NK at least sat up and took notice.

The scary part is even under both the carrot and the stick, NK still went forward, showing an obsession with creating offensive nuclear attack capability.

And I was *this* close to giving you a "way above" for an article of depth, accuracy and freedom from bias.

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 07:45 PM

You have voted subz for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have one more vote left for this month.

Well, you got one from me at least
Damned good job, political party lines aside.
I remember seeing something along these lines on the Discovery or History channel a month or two ago. Really made me think about things differently. In my opinion, the main thing it shows regarding the differences between Bush and Clinton is that Bush does not want to negotiate. It seems he wants it all or nothing, and if he doesn't get it then the guns start up.

I'm not a political person, I'm not strictly a Bush basher or a Clinton lover. I'll admit I lean more liberal than conservative, but I like to go generally for what I think is best regardless of whether it's Red or Blue. But I really think Bush is in the wrong in this instance. It doesn't seem like he gave any options a chance, and completely renegged on what Clinton had setup. Whether you agree with what Clinton did or not, it was something that was in the works, and it has to be a black mark on the US for Bush to back out of a deal like that.

Even Carter's "unofficial" move, failed to make any lasting difference.

Any possible "lasting" difference wasn't given a chance to show itself. As all of this was being set up, Clinton's term ended and Bush's began. He threw everything Clinton did out the window. All of this might have been avoided. Then again, it might not have. We can't say for sure. I personally think, according to this timeline and the one I saw on TV, things were looking better before Bush got into office. Whatever else good or bad he may have done, his handling of NK leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion.

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 08:06 PM
thanks a lot for the post. There is a lot of good info there that I was wondering about. But may I know if the links you provided are the sorce of the info and facts for all that you posted?

posted on May, 20 2005 @ 04:07 AM

Originally posted by Phugedaboudet
Good stuff, however, I'm not certain as to how you managed to come to your usual Bush-bashing conclusion.

Quite frankly Phugedaboudet I know you're staunchly pro-Bush so I didnt expect anything else from you. Its not that I am biased that annoys you, its that my bias is different from yours.

Your point about the North Koreans breaking the Agreed Framework any way is right but you have to see both sides. Every time the North Koreans agreed to a plan the U.S congress would nix it and the "carrots" just evapourated. The funding for the light water reactors (a major component of the AF) never got through congress. It was the Americans who reneged on the agreement and because of that the North Koreans restarted their programs.

If you can condemn the North Koreans for this then you should condemn your own congress even more!

This isnt party politics, im not even American, im neither a Democrat or a Republican. I taken each President as I find them. But atleast under Clinton the North Koreans nuclear ambitions were under constant supervision and kept in check. Under Bush's hard line no-negotiations policy the opposite can be said, no supervision and they've actually made nuclear weapons.

Now if you think thats something Bush should be proud of then fine, Im not going to change your mind. But dont make out like its 100% the North Koreans who are breaking the AF because its just not true.

Originally posted by McCory1
Well, you got one from me at least Damned good job, political party lines aside

Thanks buddy, I appreciate that

Originally posted by Red Golem
But may I know if the links you provided are the sorce of the info and facts for all that you posted?

Not all but most. I refered to dozens of websites to confirm dates and things I knew to be false in both articles I cited. e.g. The election of Roh Moo Hyun was given wildly different dates (years apart). Getting background info on Kim Dae Jung was also a multi-site affair.

posted on May, 21 2005 @ 06:35 PM
thanks a lot for the in and for your dilagance in getting all the facts that you can.

posted on May, 30 2005 @ 06:46 AM
Solid write up and alot of good information.

posted on May, 30 2005 @ 07:49 AM
Thanks FredT, that means a lot to me coming from someone like you

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