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Right Back Where We Started

The Six-Party forum dealing with North Korea’s nuclear programs just reached an agreement. I’m extremely happy North Korea decided to disarm, but I’m extremely pissed that President Bush is giving North Korea the exact same deal they had before he triggered the crisis. It was a stupid and dangerous waste allowing North Korea to develop 8+ nuclear weapons in the four years that could have been spent reconciling both Koreas.

In 2000, North and South Korea were on the verge of reunification until President Bush brought the process to a screeching halt in 2001. In 2002, President Bush declared North Korea part of the "Axis of Evil", and then accused them of having a secret uranium enrichment program. In response, North Korea hastily converted spent fuel rods from the reactor President Clinton shut down a decade earlier into eight or more nuclear weapons. For more detail, see Fred Kaplan's "Rolling Blunder: How the Bush administration let North Korea get nukes".

At first, President Bush insisted he would not negotiate with nor offer inducements to North Korea until they disarmed and dismantled the alleged uranium enrichment program, leading to a stalemate that lasted until Condoleezza Rice became Secretary of State. At that point, Bush administration policy flip-flopped and real negotiations -- not just one-sided demands -- led to today's agreement. An agreement that looks exactly the same as the agreement in place when President Bush first became President -- right down to the light water nuclear reactor North Korea is being promised. Crazy.

When I think of what could have been accomplished had President Bush just continued President Clinton's and Kim Dae Jung's policy of opening up North Korea... Damn, it pisses me off. What a stupid, dangerous waste of four years. Well, at least good sense finally prevailed, and hopefully things are back on track.

Posted by American Pundit at September 19, 2005 9:49 AM