During a Camp David press conference with South Korean President Lee
Myung-bak last Saturday, George W. Bush appealed for patience with
respect to his administration's efforts to secure through negotiations
North Korea's nuclear disarmament.
Ironically, the people
most in need of such counsel are not Americans convinced by Pyongyang's
past behavior that it will breach today's denuclearization accords as
it has all previous ones. Rather, the folks who really need to heed the
president's injunction against impatience are those in Foggy Bottom
responsible for these negotiations: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
and Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher
Hill. These diplomats are trying to achieve a fait accompli — accepting
uncritically and immediately rewarding incomplete, unverified and
surely fraudulent North Korean representations about their nuclear
Never mind that this latest, so-called "breakthrough" bears no resemblance to the total, verifiable and verified
accounting we were promised as part of the deal Chris Hill struck with
the North Koreans in February 2007. Those of us who believed Mr. Hill
was just the latest of a string of ambitious interlocutors to be duped
by the North Korean regime were not surprised when that accounting was
not provided by the stipulated deadline of the end of last year.
we are told Pyongyang will be allowed to make nothing more than
unverified declarations about their plutonium program. Worse yet, they
will not have to disclose anything about their covert enriched uranium
activities and their proliferation of nuclear weapons technology to the
likes of Iran and Syria.
In what passes for forceful American
diplomacy these days, the North has been induced to do nothing more
than acknowledge we believe they are engaged in such behavior and are
"concerned" about it.
Of course, the State Department
continues to dissemble about its acceptance of this proverbial
pig-in-a-poke. Last Thursday, spokesman Sean McCormack said about this
new deal: "Every aspect will be subject to verification and, if we
detect that they have misled or attempted to mislead, there will be
diplomatic consequences." In other words, if we catch them lying to us
again, Foggy Bottom will begin firing off demarches — the diplomats'
missives that Richard Perle famously ridiculed as "demarshmellows."
this laughable threat will prove empty if no real effort is expended to
detect North Korean misrepresentations. The Rice-Hill team has
systematically cut out the State Department's own verification
professionals under Assistant Secretary Paula DeSutter. Instead, in a
maneuver reminiscent of the notorious decision to send diplomat Joe
Wilson to ferret out the truth about Saddam Hussein's alleged uranium
purchases in Africa, Foreign Service officers are dispatched to go
through the motions of "verifying" the latest deal.
of it is that so little is being bought at such a high cost. Mr. Hill
is determined to have North Korea removed from the State Department's
state-sponsor of terrorism list and relevant provisions of the Trading
with the Enemy act. He evidently seeks to do so the moment Pyongyang
serves up its incomplete and unproven declaration, possibly as soon as
It is obvious why North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il is so keen on
securing these U.S. concessions. He knows they will clear the way for
infusions of foreign investment from companies anxious to exploit his
nation's vast slave-labor work force — providing desperately needed
life-support for a regime President Bush once rightly said he "loathed."
is less apparent is why is Foggy Bottom pushing so hard to dismantle,
as a practical matter irreversibly, the most important sources of U.S.
leverage on the North? It is not as though North Korea is out of the
terrorism business; its ongoing help to the nuclear weapons programs of
Iran and Syria constitutes the ultimate in state-sponsored terrorism.
The former has repeatedly declared its intention to wipe Israel off the
map and bring about a world without America. And the threat posed by
the latter will finally be disclosed to Congress Thursday in a
classified briefing on the September 2007 Israeli raid aimed at
countering the Syrian-North Korean nuclear joint venture.
easy explanation for Chris Hill's impatience is that he is a veritable
poster child for the State Department affliction known as "clientitis."
He pushes for whatever the North Koreans demand, without regard for
Another factor may be the progress now made
to enable millions of Americans to invest "terror-free." Thanks to
recent steps by the Financial Times Stock Exchange, Conflict Securities
Advisory Group and Northern Trust (among a rising number of other
investment houses), such investors will soon be able easily to ensure
their portfolios do not include publicly traded companies doing
business with North Korea or other officially designated state sponsors
Kim Jong-il pitched a fit when the U.S. Treasury
froze $25 million in one of his accounts in Macau two years ago.
Imagine his upset if billion-dollar capital infusions he expects are
Mr. Bush was reportedly told last week by his
Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Mike McConnell, that the U.S.
intelligence community does not believe the regime in Pyongyang will
denuclearize and that it will, instead, simply cheat on this deal as on
all the previous ones. That being the case, it is all the more obvious
that the president's call for patience should apply first and foremost
to his State Department's efforts to give away what is left of the
store — appropriate and needed designations of North Korea as a
state-sponsor of terror and enemy of this country.