Democrats & Liberals Archives

Security: Clinton vs. Bush II

Republicans blame all our security problems on Bill Clinton, while they consider Bush II the epitome of a fierce and effective defender of American security. Let’s take a look at what history says about this, especially with reference to North Korea, our second biggest debacle (the first being Iraq) to date. Bill Clinton negotiated an Agreed Framework and George W. Bush threw it overboard and began bullying. Which brings more security: negotiation or bullying?

The New York Times notifies us:

American intelligence agencies have concluded that North Korea’s test explosion last week was powered by plutonium that North Korea harvested from its small nuclear reactor, according to officials who have reviewed the results of atmospheric sampling since the blast.

Most of the complaints about Clinton were that North Korea cheated and secretly began a uranium enrichment program. True enough. But the bomb N. Korea exploded was powered by plutonium. According to The Times:

The plutonium that North Korea exploded was produced, according to intelligence estimates, either during the administration of the first President Bush or after 2003, when the North Koreans threw out international inspectors and began reprocessing spent nuclear fuel the inspectors had kept under seal.

This means that Clinton was successful in preventing No. Koreans from building bombs with plutonium. He concentrated on plutonium because bombs may be built faster with plutonium than with uranium.

Bill Clinton's negotiation consisted of both sticks and carrots. First he prepared the armed forces for a strike in order to send a signal that he is ready to go to war to prevent N. Korea from building a bomb. Second, he arranged for Jimmy Carter to negotiate a deal:

Yet at the same time, Clinton set up a diplomatic back-channel to end the crisis peacefully. The vehicle for this channel was former President Jimmy Carter, who in June 1994 was sent to Pyongyang to talk with Kim Il Sung, then the leader of North Korea. Carter's trip was widely portrayed at the time as a private venture, unapproved by President Clinton. However, a new book about the '94 North Korean crisis, Going Critical, written by three former officials who played key roles in the events' unfolding, reveals that Clinton recruited Carter to go.

The Agreed Framework Carter negotiated calls "upon Pyongyang to freeze operation and construction of nuclear reactors suspected of being part of a covert nuclear weapons program in exchange for two proliferation-resistant nuclear power reactors."

Net result of Bill Clinton's smart diplomacy was no bombs on his watch.

Bush II threw away what Clinton accomplished. He thought Clinton was too soft and that it was ridiculous to negotiate with slimey authoritarians. Bush believes in being tough. He will not negotiate with tyrants. It's beneath him to talk one-on-one to the cold-hearted dictator of N. Korea. Only tough statements and bullying. In response, N. Korea throws out the nuclear inspectors and begins bomb making in earnest. It defies us and executes a nuclear test. The test does not go off too well, but there will be more.

What a contrast! Bill Clinton believes in negotiating with both military and civilian approaches. Bush II believes in attacking primarily through the military; when the opponent is militarily strong he relies on bullying.

America needs security. However, we cannot achieve it through Bush-type bullying. We can more readily achieve it through smart Clinton-type carrot-and-stick negotiations.

Posted by Paul Siegel at October 17, 2006 6:01 PM
Comments
Comment #188682

“We can more readily achieve it through smart Clinton-type carrot-and-stick negotiations.”

I am not sure if you were trying to be funny but that conjures an amusing mental image.

Posted by: Zeek at October 17, 2006 9:57 PM
Comment #188685

From what I understand, “little Kim” broke the seal on his enrichment facilities the day bush labled him part of the axis of evil. bush made several public aggressive statements about “regime change”.
What the hell did he expect?? One thing is clear from history. Once a country has the bomb, threat of invasion or attack is severely diminished. Kim might be crazy, but he’s playing bush like a fiddle.

Posted by: Observer at October 17, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #188686

Key quote from Paul’s second link: “[p]eople point out that the North Koreans cheated by starting a uranium enrichment program sometime in the 90s. This is true.

So in other words, THEY were not following the agreement, but we should have kept doing so anyway even though they were on the road to nukes? Why?

By 2002, it was estimated that the North Koreans could produce enough enriched uraniam for a nuclear weapon in two years.

It’s far too early to say whether or not Bush’s approach has been a failure. The North Korean regime may very well collapse completely before long as a result of sanctions, and if they conduct another test, as it appears they’re about to, even China might be forced to cut their life line.

North Korea is now painted into a corner, which they wouldn’t have been if we’d just kept buying them off even though they weren’t holding up their end of Clinton’s ill-adviced deal.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 17, 2006 10:20 PM
Comment #188687

Observer, that’s incorrect. Where did you hear such a thing?

North Korea admitted having a secret nuclear weapons program in October of 2002.

In December of 2002 they removed monitoring devices from their nuclear facilities.

On January 10 of 2003, North Korea announced that they were withdrawing from the nulcear nonproliferation treaty.

On January 28 of the same year, Bush labeled North Korea as part of the “Axis of Evil.”

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 17, 2006 10:32 PM
Comment #188688

Lets just start with your first sentence.

“Republicans blame all our security problems on Bill Clinton, while they consider Bush II the epitome of a fierce and effective defender of American security.”

Name one. Certainly not me. This is what’s called a “straw man” arguement. First you build a straw man, then you knock it over. It may be emotionally satisifying, but it adds nothing to the debate.

I don’t know any all left or all right people. Most people I know are in the middle somewhere. Or just right or left of it.

This setting up and knocking over of straw men is in my opinion a sign of an addiction. An emotional release and satisfaction one gets in smearing the other side in a “debate”.

I for one think that Bill Clinton screwed up badly in paying blackmail money to the North Koreans. And even when he was told the N. Koreans were cheating he went on telling the American people that he had solved the problem.

But Clinton is not the only one making huge mistakes. So why deny one of Clintons largest mistakes when you don’t believe what you are writting and certainly no one here beleives it.

I believe George Bush screwed up badly in not leaving the Iraqi military and army in place and in moving fast to set up an Iraqi government and to get out. We accomplished what we wanted, we made certain Saddams threats of a continuing nuclear program were resolved. We unfortunately also learned that our intelligence stunk and that the Clintons, John Kerry, George Bush, and everyone who listened to our CIA and national intelligence groups had been misled.

This idea that everyone who voted for Bush backs him 100% is nothing but the silly rantings of those addicted to their emotional poltical rantings. I was opposed to the republican party running Bush in 2000 but saw him as better representing me than save the world, I invented the internet Al Gore. And I again didn’t care for him in 2004 but better that left wing nut case Kerry.

In my case, I remember Nam. I remember kerry getting up and lying about our troops. I remember kerry lying about his going into Cambodia. And yes, the men who were on John Kerrys same boat when he was on it say they NEVER went into Cambodia. I remember the treason as he attempted to build his political power feeding on the radical left wing anti war movement. His lies made him a hero to some, and a traitor to just as many.

Voting Against Kerry was easy….he had lied to the nation in a time of war to gain political power. He was dishonest, treasonous, and he had undermined the troops.

Bush was weak in 2004, Bush had made miscalculations. Bill Clinton pushed Hillary hard to run but she refused. Clinton knew Bush was weak and could be beaten. But Bush hadn’t lied. And the economy that John Kerry was lying about…really wasn’t bad…and that’s how people voted. They knew they didn’t quite like Bush….but they couldn’t stand a dishonest radical left wing John Kerry who suddenly announced the 45 million abortions he had supported all the way, he really “opposed in his heart”. No one beleived it.

Here is a radical thought for you. What would have happened if the democratic party had run a moderate? A genuine, democratic party moderate. One that clearly could take the middle away from Bush? I think we all know what would have happened. That’s what Rove was afraid would happen. That moderate would now be president of the United States. In fact, my wife and I had decided to vote democratic in the last election….if they ran a moderate.

Our favorite was Lieberman. Yes, on 90% of far leftissues Lieberman is with the far left, too far left for me. But he is honest, and he is for a strong defence of American interests abroad. Not anti military like Kerry, Edwards, Hillary, etc. And guess what, after Lieberman was eliminated….the Bush administration admitted that Lieberman was their greatest fear…they felt he could have beaten Bush. I feel he WOULD have beaten Bush. And then democrats would be free this election period to talk about Liebermans “great” economy instead of trying to make a strong economy seem weak.

So enough with the fake straw man Republicans. When your very first sentence is a blatant, false, straw-man…the rest isn’t worth dealing with.

Posted by: Stephen at October 17, 2006 10:32 PM
Comment #188690

Republicans blame all our security problems on Bill Clinton, while they consider Bush II the epitome of a fierce and effective defender of American security.

And visa-versa.

But then, partisan hacks with no plan have to play the blame game, don’t they? Right now, both parties are doing it. That is because no one has a plan on what to do next.

If one of the parties (or President Bush, for that mater) had a plan to deal with NK, I’m sure they’d be all over it during this election season. Both sides have to argue about the past because neither has an actual plan to discuss.

Posted by: TheTraveler at October 17, 2006 10:39 PM
Comment #188691

The only serious and responsible argument that the left is making here is this one—and I’ll take it seriously for the sake of discussion:

Yes, North Korea started cheating on Clinton’s Carter-brokered agreement as soon as the ink dried, but at least they were only enriching uranium at that point, so they were capable of producing far fewer nuclear weapons and less quickly. As a result of Bush openly confronting them for cheating and seeking to punish them for doing so, they started enriching plutonium, and are therefore on the track to creating nukes more quickly. We should have stayed with the agreement, the argument runs, becaus it would mean a slower clandestine North Korean nuclear program.

Okay, that’s the argument. But I disagree. There should be NO North Korean nuclear weapons whatsoever, and if they wish to have even one, then they must pay such a steep price that their regime can no longer exist.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 17, 2006 10:44 PM
Comment #188692

Pilsner,

“It’s far too early to say whether or not Bush’s approach has been a failure.”

Well, yes. Like most politicians’ actions, only the fullness of time reveals whether it is a failure, success, or a mixture of both.

So, naturally, we use our common sense and intuition for the time being.

Your optimistic forecast seems rather unrealistic considering it is North Korea we are talking about and Kim Jong Il is not exactly a stable leader.

Posted by: Zeek at October 17, 2006 10:56 PM
Comment #188693

“It’s far too early to say whether or not Bush’s approach has been a failure.”

You just have to love a guy with a sense of humor.

KD

Posted by: KansasDem at October 17, 2006 10:57 PM
Comment #188694

“Lets just start with your first sentence.

“Republicans blame all our security problems on Bill Clinton, while they consider Bush II the epitome of a fierce and effective defender of American security.”

Name one.”

Stephen,

Ha, ha, ha, ha! That’s funny. Who’s blamed Bill Clinton? Haaaaaa, haaaaaaaa, haaaaaaaaa, i’m busting a gut. I’ll have to get back to ya when I quit LMAO.

KD

Posted by: KansasDem at October 17, 2006 11:14 PM
Comment #188695

Stephen: Interesting twist. A strawman strawman. wern’t you around to catch ABCs blatant propaganda film and hear Clinton throughly bebunk the regimes attempt to paint him as the one that dropped the ball on 9/11 instead of George the buck stops there Bush?You spent a lot of time dealing that stuff that “was not worth dealing with.” I assume that means you did not read it.

Neo-con: You are correct that a N.K. bomb is an important regional security issue but the arrogance you state it with is one of the reasons they want one and they are not alone. N.Korea is not part of the US. They are a soverign nation. The US can not push everyone on the planet around. Heck,even Brazil is enriching uranium. Othe countries are tired of being bullied. If we keep it up there will be hell to pay.

Posted by: BillS at October 17, 2006 11:23 PM
Comment #188696

Paul

How do people this stupid get their own blog???

keith

Posted by: keith at October 17, 2006 11:41 PM
Comment #188697

“How do people this stupid get their own blog???”

Of whom do you speak? Just what comment do you find to be stupid?

Didn’t Forrest Gump say, “stupid is as stupid does?”

KD

Posted by: KansasDem at October 17, 2006 11:50 PM
Comment #188698

Keith-
We had choice: feed a dictators delusions of power to keep the peace, or trying to talk him out of his deluded state with threats and fierce rhetoric. Which worked? Neither was perfect, but one kept the North Koreans from proceeding quickly towards the bomb, whereas the other has lead them almost to the point of becoming a nuclear power.

When you have no threat save the worst, until you lay down the consequences, you have no leverage. If you do use your trump card, though, you’re committed to what may be a war.

We have not leverage with them until we’re fighting, and by then, we’re doing things the hard way.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 17, 2006 11:55 PM
Comment #188704

Stephen,

On your post above, regarding the straw-man: what a bunch of crap…you argue about one straw-man, and you put up there a bunch of them, and you didn’t even knock one of them down. Who are you kidding with “Kerry lied about Vietnam”. He told the truth, and you hated him for it, but don’t say he lied. He went, he fought, he saw the disgrace, and came back to talk about it. Just becasue you and the right wing neo-con talk radio hosts say he lied, doesn’t make it so, no matter how many times you say it. Kerry was never sure he was going to come back to talk about it, becasue he could very easily had died serving (especially in the area where he served), so to say it was calculated is pretty stupid, don’t you think? Where do you think he was serving, in the Alabama National Guard? What a joke!!! “The people in his own ship”, is another swiftboat lie. The points on “Lieberman”, “American interests abroad”. So you think perpetual war is in the best interest of all? Who’s interest? What have we done in the last six years that has benefited us all? Getting rid of Saddam? For what? People have to stop saying we are better off with Saddam gone from power. We’re not!!!! The Iraqis are not!!! They are dying by the thousands each month - this did not happen under Saddam. Our troops are dying everyday - this did not happen under Saddam. The Iranians are in Iraq (they infiltrated while the Shock and Awe capaign was going on), and they control more of it than we do - this did not happen under Saddam, and we never wanted this to happen either, did you? The most educated and able people have already left Iraq (a million of them). Iraq now will always be a haven for terrorists, no matter how this administration spins this fake war, the damage has been done - this did not happen under Saddam, it happended under Bush II. I am not saying Saddam was not a bad man, becasue he was, but what we did was certainly NOT IN OUR BEST INTEREST!!! Grow up and stop trying to be macho (oooohh, we need someone strong on National defense, oooohhh we do…, and Kerry would not be it, and Hillary would not be it….and Edwards would not be it…oooohhhh fear, fear, fear…they’re gonna blow us up…oooohhh, be careful, they’re trying to kill our families, oooohhh, we need Lieberman to come to our rescue…oooohhh). What a joke!!!

Posted by: George at October 18, 2006 1:28 AM
Comment #188706

For those who don’t acknowledge NK had nukes before Clinton left office … I have some 9/11 conspiracy stories you’ll just love.

Posted by: NobleNation at October 18, 2006 2:21 AM
Comment #188721

Neo-Con Pilsner,

There should be NO North Korean nuclear weapons whatsoever, and if they wish to have even one, then they must pay such a steep price that their regime can no longer exist.

Under NPT, even the nuclear powers should had disarmed a huge part of their nukes long ago. None did, except South Africa and IIRC Brazil.
“Do what we say not what we do” is not a diplomacy. NPT is not revelant anymore, as any unilateralist nation that would refuse nuclear technology access to another nation just because she don’t want.

Nations build nukes for their defense and/or for attack. Only on the second case, attack, should we, international community, put a stop to it ASAP.
In the first case, defense, we can do nothing about it except showing the way by drastically reduce our nukes stock or, at least, stopping being *only* threatfull and regime-change-god-superpower to some nations we don’t like.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 18, 2006 6:31 AM
Comment #188729

What a concept…
Lead through weakness…

Posted by: Cliff at October 18, 2006 8:22 AM
Comment #188730

Hmmm…

“Bill Clinton pushed Hillary hard to run but she refused.”

Did he tell you this himself?

As far as the “straw man” argument, I’m really tempted to go back and cut and paste some of the right wing drivel posted about Clinton in the past few weeks on these blogs, but then again, I’ve given up trying to argue facts with such people. There are maybe two or three conservatives who post comments on these blogs that I actually take seriously (and occasionally agree with), but I’m convinced the rest are either shills, agents provacateurs (I don’t put that past democrats), or just old fashioned idiots. The last of the three can be identified by their inability to complete a sentence and frequent use of capital letters and italics to push dishonest claims (have you noticed that when you present these people with undeniable evidence they are wrong, they tend to disappear until the next blog posting?)

What I would like to add is that North Korea has a history of using our nicer tendencies against us. There should be no carrots whatsoever for them, and were we not bogged down in a pointless and unjustifiable conflict in Iraq, we might be able to take on that ugly little midget in Pyongyang. Unfortunately, he knows we can’t burn the candle on both ends, so he’s using our preoccupation to his advantage. Any time we spend negotiating is time he has to add to his nuclear arsenal. What do we even have to discuss with North Korea? What do people like Bill Richardson think we have to gain with talking to them? Maybe they’ll agree to start counterfeiting euros or yen instead of dollars?

Posted by: Jacob in SC at October 18, 2006 8:35 AM
Comment #188731

Cliff,

“Leading”, alone, is also a concept, you know.
There is this little thing called “free will” which eventually will break any enforced leadership…

Call it a weakness if you want, but being in fear up to the point to have the most biggest nukes stockpiles on earth and yet still fearing being attacking doesn’t make being the #1 power looking that great.

Oh, BTW, in case you miss it, my point was about leading through example. No way I was talking about balancing power or not.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 18, 2006 8:45 AM
Comment #188732

I should have used only third person singular pronouns, since there is no authority in North Korea save Kim, the physically-repulsive megalomaniacal dictator for whom the “Napoleon Complex” should be renamed.

There is no “they” in North Korea. Thoughts by anyone save Kim have been sent to the same concentration camps to which he sends the handicapped.

Posted by: Jacob in SC at October 18, 2006 8:49 AM
Comment #188733

Jacob in SC,

What I would like to add is that North Korea has a history of using our nicer tendencies against us. There should be no carrots whatsoever for them, …

So, only stick for NK? In such case, doesn’t NK could rush ASAP to raise its defensive power, by rushing to nukes? Wait a minute, it sounds exactly like what happening! They get few nukes.

Hurray for the no carrot only stick diplomacy!

… and were we not bogged down in a pointless and unjustifiable conflict in Iraq, we might be able to take on that ugly little midget in Pyongyang. Unfortunately, he knows we can’t burn the candle on both ends, so he’s using our preoccupation to his advantage.

Are you saying he knows better than White House?
Because both of them could have known that, right!? Only one choosed to ignore this little “you can’t burn the candle on both ends” issue.
One could wonder why…

Any time we spend negotiating is time he has to add to his nuclear arsenal. What do we even have to discuss with North Korea?

Hum… so why Bush didn’t use his stick policy on NK *before* they get nuke(s)? Afterall, he got 4 years to do it. 4 years sounds enough to screw a nation poor like NK. It takes only a few weeks for Iraq.
Or does someone changed the oval office’s world map so bad that Bush got his axis of evil quite mixed, NK becoming Iraq?

Oh… then the WMDs, the nukular mushroom, the smoking gun reason given by Bush make sense… for NK! He just get the name (and place) wrong!

You’re a genius. Thanks for making US foreign policy crystal clear to me now.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 18, 2006 9:02 AM
Comment #188734

Jacob,

There is no “they” in North Korea.

There is over 20 millions north korean, large enough for a least one single “they”.
But, please, be my guest and press the red button to nuke them him.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 18, 2006 9:05 AM
Comment #188737

Oh, Phillipe…thanks for reminding me why there are conservatives in this country. Your sappy appeal really moved me…really. You deserve an academy award.

If you think I was trying to defend Bush you missed the point entirely.

There is nothing to be gained by negotiating with DPRK, and you really made no points at all to say otherwise? Maybe we should promise more humanitarian aid to be squandered on their military?

There really is no “they” in North Korea as long as Kim is in power. By completely distorting my comments suggesting we should nuke NK, you’ve effectively brought yourself down to the level of those on here who rely on crappy emotional appeals rather than pragmatism.

Posted by: Jacob in SC at October 18, 2006 9:18 AM
Comment #188738

Lest Philippe further bolster his feeling of smug self righteousness by correcting my spelling/grammar mistakes, I’ll apologize for not proofreading my previous comment.

Posted by: Jacob in SC at October 18, 2006 9:22 AM
Comment #188739

In all honesty, rereading Phillipe’s comment, I see no point whatsoever save:

Bush Bad
America Bad
Poor Kim

I’m tempted to go statement by statement as Phillipe did with mine, but since I see very little substance, that might be dignifying it too much.

Posted by: Jacob in SC at October 18, 2006 9:30 AM
Comment #188744

Jacos in SC,

There is nothing to be gained by negotiating with DPRK, and you really made no points at all to say otherwise?

My point is there is nothing to lose by negotiating with DPRK. Talking is very cheap, compared to going war or starving a nation.

And I agree, now that NK have nukes, there’s nothing much to gain. Except avoiding a war. But who care about wars…

There really is no “they” in North Korea as long as Kim is in power.

There is people behind every leader. Even when he’s a paranoid dictator. Ask China what they fear more: Kim or massive north korean immigration..

By completely distorting my comments suggesting we should nuke NK, you’ve effectively brought yourself down to the level of those on here who rely on crappy emotional appeals rather than pragmatism.

Then I’m sorry if I distort it by my sarcasm. Could you tell us, then, what’s your pragamtic solution to deal with North Korea (the nation, not its dictator only) ? Because so far, your solution was “take on” NK. Good start. Care to elaborate a little bit?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 18, 2006 10:04 AM
Comment #188754

“My point is there is nothing to lose by negotiating with DPRK. Talking is very cheap, compared to going war or starving a nation.”

We’ve tried that. Negotiating with Kim has brought nothing in the past. It’s like negotiating with a spoiled child. He pitches a fit until someone takes notice, then storms off when he doesn’t get his way. Our carrots (such as humanitarian aid) have been denied the people and given to the military. Never did I suggest going to war, and I think Kim is doing a bang-up job starving his own people by himself. You’ve indulged your little fantasy a bit much: I never suggested either of these things. Try to focus on what is said, rather than what you imagine. Negotiating with Kim presumes he has a shred of integrity, that he has the capacity to adhere to an agreement.

“There is people behind every leader. Even when he’s a paranoid dictator. Ask China what they fear more: Kim or massive north korean immigration.”

What people? The ones he starves? Are you suggesting that others, besides Kim, have power in this nation? If so, I’d like to know who, and how you came upon this information, since nobody else seems to have it. You can invite Kim to all the “love-ins” you want and it isn’t going to do anything for the people of the DPRK. He’s not just paranoid, he’s a monster. The USA isn’t responsible for the ills facing the North Korean people, and neither is the USA responsible for curing them. You seem to forget that massive North Korean immigration would be caused by Kim. You’re asking what China would fear more, the cause or the effect. You can’t divorce the two.

“Then I’m sorry if I distort it by my sarcasm. Could you tell us, then, what’s your pragamtic solution to deal with North Korea (the nation, not its dictator only) ? Because so far, your solution was “take on” NK. Good start. Care to elaborate a little bit?”

When you use sarcasm and insults to attack people, it just makes you look like a jerk, it doesn’t bolster your point. If you’d like to scroll up, you’ll find that I never suggested I had a solution, in fact all I did was ask what we have to gain by negotiating. You’ve yet to answer this, except by saying “what have we to lose?”. What we have to lose is allowing this spoiled brat to get his way, letting him know that if he screams loudly enough, we’ll cave. Until he returns to the six-party talks, there is no reason for us to engage him. I invite you, once again, to respond to what I actually said rather than attempting to tell me what I really meant. If you’d like to answer my question, feel free, but honestly, I was hoping for an intelligent answer to my question, rather than a bunch of smartassed zingers.

Posted by: Jacob in SC at October 18, 2006 11:18 AM
Comment #188758

Philippe,

I would like to explore further the idea you have set forth:

My point is there is nothing to lose by negotiating with DPRK. Talking is very cheap, compared to going war or starving a nation.

The question I have to continually ask myself is the following: Is there a point when talking is not the right solution? If the answer to that question is yes, then I have to ask myself how will I know that the point has been crossed? Further I have to decide if the point is crossed what am I going to do about it?

In the case we face with North Korea, I do not believe the United States has given up on trying to negotiate a solution. I believe that the U.S. is insisting that North Korea stop all nuclear weapons production and destroy what weapons they currently have. I further believe that the U.S. is willing to provide substantial humanitarian and economic assistance to the people of North Korea.

Here’s what we know:
- North Korea has not lived up to its agreements to the U.S. I understand there is a lot of stupid debate about placing this blame on the policies or agreements made by various U.S. presidents. I believe the blame game between Republicans and Democrats on this is stupid because the bottom line is North Korea made an agreement and they broke it, their decision, their responsibility. Without use of force there is nothing any world government can do to force another government to keep their word.
- North Korea has not been willing to discuss stopping their nuclear weapons program.

So back to my first question: Is there a point in time when talking is no longer effective? With regards to NK not willing to talk and their continued development of WMD that threaten U.S. allies and potentially the U.S. I believe that talking is at this moment in time futile. I believe that the UN sanctions against NK are the correct next step to try to get NK to talk.

What happens if the sanctions don’t work? What if the one country that could really put the pressure on NK won’t do what is necessary (China)?

So you tell me, do you think there is ever a time when negotiating is ineffective? Do you think the time has come when negotiating with NK is ineffective?

Tom

Posted by: Tom U. at October 18, 2006 11:42 AM
Comment #188766

Tom,

So you tell me, do you think there is ever a time when negotiating is ineffective?

When you’re dead. Only time.
Because it’s very cheap trying, when compared to alternatives, it worth it everytime. Negociating, aka talking, communicating, is the best way human have to eventually discover what’s other people really think or want.

Do you think the time has come when negotiating with NK is ineffective?

Nope. You neither, it seems.
In worst case, you learn how much large and *real* the disagreement is, which is always better than killing someone because you *guess* he disagree about everything you believe in.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 18, 2006 12:09 PM
Comment #188775

Philippe,

You’re right I don’t think the time has come to stop trying to negotiate with NK.

I’m not sure I’m convinced that the talk til your dead strategy is the only proper course of action (please let me know if I’ve over-simplified your position not my intention, just trying for brevity and accuracy). History tells us that there come times when certain countries decide to become aggressive regardless the attempts at negotiation.

I’m a strong believer in fighting for freedom when all else fails. But it’s the deciding when all else fails that’s difficult.

I think what little of this thread’s debate I find of interest regarding security attempts between previous administrations and the current administration is more along the lines of post mortem reviews rather than criticism.

I found Paul’s cause and effect conclusion to Bush’s diplomacy hollow. I do not believe that any course of action taken so far with North Korea to be effective. I therefore cannot assign blame for any course of action or for that matter success. I think the better debate is: What is the best course of action now?

Let me conclude with this thought. I don’t believe either Clinton or Bush are to blame. Each tried a different approach to dealing with an extreme regime. I believe the ultimate problem is with the decisions North Korea has made. I believe North Korea (Kim) is responsible solely for their decisions. No policy from the U.S. forced North Korea to build nuclear weapons. Every U.S. policy with regards to North Korea was made with the clear purpose of dissuading NK from making WMD and providing humanitarian and economic aid as a reward for their compliance. North Korea is solely responsible for escalating the tensions between our countries.

Tom

Posted by: Tom U. at October 18, 2006 12:45 PM
Comment #188776

The NK problem is that there is a possibility that they might sell or use nuclear weapons. A Kennedy like response is called for. If the US or any of our allies,including SK are attacked by nuclear weapons from NK there will be an overwhelming automatic response upon NK,period end of sentence. This worked on the Soviet Union for forty years.

Posted by: BillS at October 18, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #188778

BillS

Maybe that is the correct course of action. We certainly don’t want to be victimized by a nuclear explosion domestically or among our allies. However, there is a problem with a Kennedy-like response. Suddenly North Korea has no way to retreat. Is there enough international support or is this a go-it-alone strategy.

The problem with providing a way for North Korea to retreat is that you haven’t changed their behavior. I think the response we need to provide is one that has high success to change behavior without violence as the ultimatum. Maybe there will come a time when violence is the ultimatum, but I’m not sure we’re at that point yet.

Tom

Posted by: Tom U. at October 18, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #188782

Stephen,

Give me the name of the swift boat Bush, Rove and Chenney served on in any war… Oh, that’s right, they didn’t serve.

Give me the name of the US Army regiment Bush, Rove and Chenney served in… Oh, that’s right, they didn’t serve.

Give me the name of the US Navy Ship Bush, Rove and Chenney served on during time of war… Oh, that’s right they didn’t serve.

Give me the name of the US Marine Corp unit Bush, Rove and Chenney served in… Oh, that’s right they didn’t serve.

You can call John Kerry what you like, but it doesn’t make it true. Bush and company are the true cowards, not Kerry. Give me the name of anyone on Kerry’s boat that say’s he lied about the actions that got Kerry his medal…

Maybe Kerry went over the top about what he did while in charge of is swift boat while serving in Vietnam. But at least he served and did put his life on the line. At least he checked the box, “For over Seas Duty.” Unlike Bush, who checked the box, “Not for Over Seas Duty.”

If you think Bush hasn’t lied while he has been president of the US you have had your head in the sand too long. We NO Bush lied about Saddam and “nuclear” (Bushs words) weapons. I’m not going to go into it hear but the facts are all over the place about Bush.

Just think back to the 80’s and early 90’s. What did the Republicans say about the democrates in those days? Oh you can’t vote for one of these guy’s, they are draft dodgers.” Then in 2000 when one of their own run for president and he is a draft dodger, all of a sudden it isn’t so important. The fact that the draft dodger ran against war veteran didn’t matter. Slam the veteran and make him out to be the bad guy. Forget the fact Bush was too much of a pussy to fight for his own country. If you want to debate policy and who is right or wrong, that is one thing. But to try and say that Bush would run a war better, treat the troops better and know more about the true effects of war and how to win. Then you need to stay off Kerry. At least Kerry had the balls to serve this nation. In my opinion that gives him the right to also criticize our gov’t.

You can say you support Bush’s ideas more than Kerry’s, but you can’t say Kerry didn’t earn his right to serve this country. What did Bush ever do to earn his right? He was a failiure as a business man 3 times. He never was successful at anything he did in the business world. He road his fathers coattails all the way to Washington.

Posted by: Rusty at October 18, 2006 1:56 PM
Comment #188794

Neo-Con Pilsner-
It comes down to what Bush promises, and what results he delivered. With North Korea, he promised to confront them. Mostly, he’s left them alone. This is the diplomatic equivalent of taking your ball and going home. meanwhile Kim Jung Il continues to play his game, trying to get our attention. He’d be doing it one way or another. This way, he’s got the ability to do the world a whole bunch of harm if somebody doesn’t take him aside, make some promises, etc, etc.

The real think I don’t think you’re picking up on is that this regime is absolutely pathetic as a world power. It’s got its armies and artillery units to threaten the south with, and it could cause a bunch of regional problems, but it really is no match for use, if we decide to make it a bad day for them. They know it. They’ve known it for half a century. Their only real trump card, aside from the potential for a nuclear weapon, is their alliance with China. China is the only reason there’s even a North Korea to begin with.

We could have played the game a little bit, indulged a charity case dictator for the sake of his people, and then gradually pried this country out of the dark ages by using our aid and our trade as a means to open up avenues of trade and crack open this Hermit Kingdom’s shell. As we have seen in China and Russia, once the daylight comes in, people start getting wise to the limitations of communism. Then, the people start changing the system.

The bad thing about Neocons is this belief that they have to be the ones to slay the dragons, that they can’t wait for the dragons to croak of old age, and lesser successors to emerge, or push the villagers into overthrowing the dragon themselves.

Bush’s intimidation from a distance, his unwillingness to negotiate to further our secret purposes has not prevented them from refining plutonium, or attempting these tests. They may very well succeed. If results are our guide, then the fact that they have tested a device should indicate to you that Bush’s results are inferior to Clinton’s with their results having never gotten so far under him. It seems to me that the most Bush can say is that he got tough with them. The reality is, we are in the corner to, because if NK pushes hard enough, and we don’t respond with the promised force, then they will know they can get away with an awful lot.

The Neocons speak of the lessons of Munich, but they fail to see that the major failure of Munich was presaged by tough talk after 1918 towards Germany that was not backed by action. That is the direction we’re taking NK now, if they push and push and nothing gets done. We could have buried them in minutiae, occupied them with both legitimate efforts to satisfy and agreement, and the deceptions required to cover-up secret development, slowing their efforts long enough for us to refine our plan.

But no, Bush must have his showdown. Having gotten us to this point, though, he’s put us in a position where we’re simply not ready to respond that way, and he knows it. So what do we do? How do we keep this from unraveling? Bush has no answers as of yet. Clinton, no doubt, would have a plan by now.

Stephen-
Bush was not a passive customer of intelligence. He had several groups within his White House processing the data, looking for justification to invade. Funny thing is, though, most of the time, you gather intelligence to see what’s going on, identify potential threats, and having assured yourself by evidence and espionage of whats going on, you act. Bush’s problem is that intelligence is a means to a policy end. Because such practices skew the information, he basically ensured his own mistake by not making the construction of a good picture of what was going on the first priority.

The problem with the Republican’s voting habits is that they do the same thing. They want to ensure the Democrats don’t get in, so they can’t punish errant Republicans. They buy propaganda without questioning, when it savages the opposition. One example is this “invented the internet” B.S. He said he was one of the people who put through the legislation to help create the internet, which was true enough. However, Republicans wanted a reason to confirm their choice more than they wanted to look it up for themselves.

As for Kerry? First, he related soldiers stories, which have been documented elsewhere as true. Atrocities were committed. If you actually heard his testimony, you would know that he admitted that he, like other soldiers, were lead to commit actions by the leadership that were against the laws of war, such as being sent on search and destroy missions, creating free-fire zones, and the use of heavy machines as anti-personnel weapons. You would know that he blamed this not on his fellow soldiers, but instead on their leadership in Washington.

Kerry did not lie about Cambodia. There are plenty of stories about missions being sent up that far, including one that ended up involving the Prince of that nation.

The Right likes to pretend that Vietnam was a well run war that was cut short by Liberal gutlessness. As such, they deny atrocities, ignore strategic problems, gloss over the fact that we were fighting a war for one side that they weren’t willing to fight for themselves, and deny the illegal aspects of the war, such as bombing and invading Cambodia.

Also ignored are the following: Public sentiment against the war was high on all sides. Kerry was calling for us to speed up a withdrawal that was already promised by the Nixon administration. Nixon was procrastinating for his “Peace With Honor”, ultimately leading to more than half the casualties of the war taking place under his “withdrawal”.

There was no winning the war at that time. The seeds of defeat were sown long before, perhaps even during the Kennedy administration. It wasn’t a matter of gutlessness. Guts or no, having not gotten the South Vietnamese united behind their government (much less given them one worth uniting behind), and the South Vietnamese armed forces willing to fight for and hold ground, everything else became this country paying to fight a war for them where our enemy was too non-industrial to feel the effects of our airpower all that well, and productive enough in terms of personnel in order to keep bringing reinforcements into the field.

You talk about lies, but there are a lot of lies you need to clear from this party history of the war. The Journalists saw what they did, learned what they did, and without the blinders imposed by the military bureaucracy, they passed along stories that embarrassed the military, and which should have. Vietnam was very much a war of disconnect between command and the field. The media didn’t lose the war, it just saw the beginnings of that defeat, which the military failed to take care of. Dissent didn’t lose the war. Losing the war, steadily, painfully, and expensively over time is what brought the dissent. Wars in free countries are never affairs of perfect support for policy. People may be sensitive to supporting the soldiers, but for many, that also means making sure their lives aren’t being spent recklessly or needlessly.

Kerry, despite everything, managed to get within a few percentage points and a few hundred thousand votes. Today, with Bush’s numbers, he could have won.

Lieberman not only would have never won, but he didn’t win to begin with. That’s it, plain and simple. Republicans would like to believe he represented a lot of sentiment among us, but the reality is, he representes a distinct minority of the party, now and then.

We aren’t buying the notion that this war has a big upside, if we just stick with it. most Americans, by a wide margin, don’t see much of a future in an indefinite war.

The strawman here is your picture of us, of Kerry. The GOP has given you one decoy after another to buy your cooperation in the face of their radicalism, in the face of their departure from conservative and moderate principles. They’ve pounded you with scary propaganda about how lousy the Democrats are, and have become more dependent on that, in the process, than they have upon actually managing decent policy.

The question you should ask now is similar to what Neo-con Pilsner should ask: what about results. The only thing you have to fear at this point is fear itself: the paralyzing fear of trying out the Democrats, or building up your own party’s policy expertise again, rather than continue depending upon these corrupt showmen who have hijacked the American right for their own benefit, and that of their friends.

Keith-
I don’t know. Maybe they just do it to annoy you.

Cliff-
Strength or weakness is determined by the results one can acheive. Bodybuilders, who train for muscle mass and tone, are often weaker than their more athletic counterparts. They sure look strong, but appearances aren’t everything.

Bush is a political bodybuilder. Clinton was a political athlete. The difference should be obvious: Clinton got better results. Pick the political athletes in the future, if you don’t want to get pummelled in the elections.

Jacob in SC-
Thanks for reminding many liberals why we fight the GOP. We gained a great deal of time on the North Koreans with our deal making. It might not have produced all the results desired for, but we did a hell of a lot better remaining in the game rather than taunting like a cheerleader from the sidelines.

As for there being a “they” in North Korea? There most decidedly is. The more you negotiate, and drag out their efforts, the more you can get into contact with people, the more you can open the average citizen to contact with the outside world. You don’t kill these regimes by shutting the door on them, you do it by putting your foot in the door.

We’re shouting outside the door, and they in their isolated squalor only care about making themselves big badasses, so they can get our attention. They really have no serious hope of acheiving much militarily with their weapons, their biggest value, and their most profound threat is in having them to trade. take that away, and they lose the initiative, because they need foreign aid and other things more than anything else. Once they’re in that position, we have the initiative, and we can limit their mischief. It’s not appeasement, it’s charity for an otherwise pathetic regime.

If you don’t think they’re pathetic, let me ask you a question: How do a failed nuclear test and failed missile tests show them to be a big threat?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 18, 2006 2:39 PM
Comment #188802

“Observer, that’s incorrect. Where did you hear such a thing?”
On January 10 of 2003, North Korea announced that they were withdrawing from the nulcear nonproliferation treaty.
On January 28 of the same year, Bush labeled North Korea as part of the “Axis of Evil.””

pilsner,
Here’s the transcript of the jan 2002 SOTU where the ‘axis of evil’ statement was rolled out.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/onpolitics/transcripts/sou012902.htm

Wanna play some more?

Posted by: Observer at October 18, 2006 3:07 PM
Comment #188805

Stephen:

How was North Korea’s nuclear test a failure?

Posted by: Jacob in SC at October 18, 2006 3:19 PM
Comment #188814

Great question?

Neither president has ever served active duty in the military, altthough BushII did serve some National Reserve time.
Does anyone remember Kosovo? Clinton justifiably apprehended a foreign dictator, tried him before the world and we still have him locked up(Milosevic), without losing one of our troops.
If one thing sticks out in my mind about 9/11 is watching BushII run. I briefly wondered if the country had been taken over. I’m no expert, but does the Secret Service order the President in a national emergency or is he still the cheif executive? I belive with F-16’s at Air Force Ones wings and all air traffic grounded, most men would feel comfortable flying back to Washington D.C.
Personally I have never felt more or less safe whether it was a democrat in the white house or a republican, but I have always voted for who I thought was the most qualified and suited my middle class interest. I believe half of this country in 2000 and 2004 just liked BushII for his stuttering and regular guy personality.
We still haven’t seen Karl Rove’s “October surprise.” I suppose it will be a condition orange during the final week before we vote.

Posted by: Harold at October 18, 2006 4:08 PM
Comment #188846
Kerry, despite everything, managed to get within a few percentage points and a few hundred thousand votes. Today, with Bushs numbers, he could have won.

Kerry DID win. When George Bush took office stole the election for the second time, the American people lost.

Posted by: Pat at October 18, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #188865

Pat

“Kerry DID win. When George Bush took office stole the election for the second time, the American people lost.”

Are you another aluminum foil hat conspiracy theorists or is there a rational bone in your body.

Posted by: Keith at October 18, 2006 9:35 PM
Comment #188866

“How was North Korea’s nuclear test a failure?”

It was a failure in the sense that the estimated yeild less than 1 kiloton, or 1000 tons of TNT. Some estimates as low as 200 tons. For reference, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 15 kilotons, Nagasaki about 22 ktons. Those are considered small by todays standards, and 1 kiloton barely qualifies as a battlefeild tactical nuke.
To help quantify that, todays nukes are measured in ‘mega’ tons, or millions of tons of TNT. Our biggest bombs are in the 50megaton range, and average is between 400-700 depending on who’s talking.
Anyway, not to downplay N.Koreas test, it was a nuke, but probably one of the least succesfull ‘first nukes’ of any country ever.
Here’s a link for info on nukes:
http://www.tinyvital.com/Misc/nukes.htm

Posted by: Observer at October 18, 2006 9:37 PM
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