(Secretary of State Clinton's) attitude is potentially more troubling than the dull repetitiveness of the policy, which invokes the importance of the six-party talks and the need to "get the negotiations back on track."Hey, if “the shoe fits,” y’know (get it, shoe?)…
Take, for example, her repeated references to "smart power," presumably meant to distinguish the brainy Obama team from its predecessor.
The secretary's comments at a subsequent news teleconference only compounded the speech's lack of strategic breadth. Asked her assessment of the Agreed Framework, the Pyongyang-Washington agreement concluded during her husband's presidency, Clinton regretted that "the Bush administration completely walked away" from the agreement. She said that "information" about North Korea's uranium enrichment efforts "should have been dealt with very seriously" but "in addition to the Agreed Framework," not in place of it.Well, at least Bill Clinton didn’t antagonize North Korea (and Great Britain, for good measure) for no good reason over some ridiculous currency counterfeiting episode, as noted here.
This is a breathtakingly confused position. First, North Korea's repeated violations of the Agreed Framework breached the agreement, not the Bush White House. Pyongyang cheated on the agreement's central premise -- the North's denuclearization -- and lied about it.
Also, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times noted the following in this 2005 Op-Ed…
Here's a foreign affairs quiz:Kristof also notes that the most important success of the “agreed framework” under Clinton is that it led to a freeze in plutonium development, which thawed when Dubya walked away from that agreement.
(1) How many nuclear weapons did North Korea produce in Bill Clinton's eight years in office?
(2) How many nuclear weapons has it produced so far in President George W. Bush's four years in office?
The answer to the first question, by all accounts, is zero. The answer to the second is fuzzier, but about six.
The total will probably rise in coming months, for North Korea has shut down its Yongbyon reactor and says that it plans to extract the fuel rods from it. That will give it enough plutonium for two or three more weapons.
The single greatest failure of the Bush administration's foreign policy concerns North Korea. Bush's policies toward North Korea have backfired and led the North to churn out nuclear weapons, and they have also antagonized our allies and diminished America's stature in Asia.
I know it is naïve to consider Kim Jong-Il to be blameless here. However, perhaps if President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll history had not been so loathe to abide by the agreements of his predecessor, we would not have had to concern ourselves with news stories such as this (at least not so soon into the new Obama term, anyway).