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 programs.
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 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.
Now, we are told that 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 that 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 that, “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.”
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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