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New York Times: Try appeasement again

By Thomas E. Brewton
web posted November 13, 2006

The voice of record for American socialism calls for a return to the appeasement policies of Bill Clinton, what Senator John Kerry calls sensitivity, that permitted the North Koreans to deceive us earlier while they secretly continued building nuclear weapons.

In an editorial dated November 5, 2006, the New York Times editorial board urges the Bush administration to "cut a deal" with North Korea.

If President Bush is serious about trying to negotiate his way out of the nightmare of a nuclear-armed North Korea, he needs to end debate within his administration and empower Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to cut the best deal she can. She should start with a clear pledge that the United States will not try to overthrow the North Korean government if it gives up its weapons program.

Has the Times forgotten that the Clinton administration pledged all sorts of things, including massive donations of taxpayers' money, in return for North Korea's pledge to give up its weapons program? Has the Times forgotten that, almost from day one, the North Koreans secretly resumed their nuclear weapons development program, completely undetected by the "sensitive" Clinton administration.

Let's not forget, by the way, that the Clinton administration's "cutting a deal" with North Korea was the result of Jimmy Carter's unrequested, free-lancing negotiations with his good friend Kim Jong Il.

Given the stakes involved – potential annihilation of a large part of the United States – common sense tells us that simply "cutting another deal" would be highly imprudent, if not treasonable conduct.

"Cutting a deal" with North Korea is code for yet another test of the socialistic doctrine of materialism: the belief that all that matters in world affairs is satisfying the basic animal urges of people with welfare benefits. Give people food, clothing, etc., and they will have no reason for aggression. Has this doctrine ever worked anywhere in world affairs? Doesn't backing down to foreign aggression just invite more and costlier aggression?

Implicit within this oft-failed doctrine is the firm liberal faith that we are heading toward a one-world, UN government that will pass regulations to outlaw war and create an earthly paradise ruled by councils of intellectuals who, unlike the rest of us, have the inside track to the gnostic prescription for playing God.

The administration's policy has been consistently that we will meet with North Korea at any time for rational discussions, provided that those meetings take place with the participation of other directly affected nations. Those nations are China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea.

The reason for not repeating the Clinton one-on-one with North Korea is the realization that only China is in a position to bring meaningful pressure on North Korea. One-on-one negotiations urged by liberals would leave the United States vulnerable to blame from the rest of the world when, predictably, North Korea fails to live up to its end of the bargain. Additionally, when you know that you are negotiating with a liar, it's elementary prudence to want outside witnesses who have a stake in the process themselves.

Much of North Korea's exports and imports are via China. China's reason for curbing North Korea is, at least in part, that it does not wish to see Japan forced into its own nuclear rearmament as a defense against the nuts in North Korea.

The Japanese, of course, must be participants, as they stand in the greatest immediate peril, after South Korea. It is all but certain, as I'm sure Condi Rice has made point-blank clear to the Chinese, that the United States will have no choice but to assist in Japan's rearmament if China doesn't forestall the North Koreans.

However strong China is today, compared to Japan, the Chinese have a long historical memory that includes the repeated ability of the Japanese to dominate that quarter of the world. Moreover, Rice must have suggested, however indirectly, that with its economy lagging, the Japanese government might even welcome military rearmament as a stimulus.

The Chinese, by most accounts facing a potential banking collapse and the need to prop up moribund and uneconomic state industries, have a continuing vital interest in keeping the United States markets open to Chinese manufactures. Doubtless, Condi Rice is making certain that Chinese diplomats are fully aware of the fulminations in Congress against cheap Chinese imports that kill American jobs.

Finally, we must give North Korea at least a face-saving sop, in this case promises of various kinds of aid. If they waltz again on their agreement, then we must look to China to rap their knuckles.

The whole point of real, secret diplomacy, as opposed to Senator Kerry's "sensitive" playing to the mobs in Europe's streets, is to make all parties realize that they imperil their own national interests by not supporting a policy we espouse.

None of the points mentioned above could ever be discussed publicly, because rabble-rousing liberals like John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi would immediately stir up mobs on the campuses and in the streets to scream in front of Hanoi-Ted Turner's CNN cameras that Bush is ginning up another war-scare to put more millions into the pockets of evil capitalists like Halliburton.

The long, drawn-out nature of negotiations with North Korea is not the result of failures by the Bush administration. It reflects the collateral interests of China and, in particular, Russia.

The Chinese are happy to drag their feet while the United States has its difficulties in the Middle East and North Korea, because they want to cement a favored position with Iran and other oil-producers to supply China's rapidly growing energy needs. China also wants a quid pro quo lever with us for future efforts to regain control of Taiwan.

Russia, still smarting over our tipping the Soviet Union over the cliff edge and for our support of the break-away regime in Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution, wants to remind us continually of its ability to cause lots of trouble if we fail to recognize its foreign policy interests.

While overthrowing the North Korean regime is not the aim of United States policy, that occurrence might be advantageous.

No one can predict with certainty what sort of regime might emerge from the power vacuum that would result from overthrowing of Kim Jong Il's dictatorship. We could find ourselves faced with an even worse tyrant, or North Korea's new leaders might conclude that rejoining the world economic community would be the best move.

Should China elect to apply appropriate pressure and to support an insurgent group in North Korea, we can only hope that it would do so in a way to moderate the threat to international peace now posed by the nuclear-powered dictatorship. In that case, the whole world, particularly the impoverished people of North Korea, would benefit. ESR

Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. His weblog is The View From 1776.


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