Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Fri

16

Feb

2007

Blackmailing Bush - How the "Dear Leader" Duped "The Decider"
Friday, 16 February 2007 21:55
by Mike Whitney

The Bush foreign policy is predicated on one simple axiom: “We will stop the world’s most dangerous men from getting their hands on the world’s most dangerous weapons”. By that standard, Bush’s dealings with North Korea havebeen a wretched failure. After 6 years of fruitless saber rattling and belligerence, the North detonated a nuclear bomb in early October and put region on notice that there’s a new member in the nuclear weapons club.

For the time being, only South Korea and Japan are within range of the North’s missile systems, but as the technology improves the Taepodong 2 will eventually be capable of hitting mainland U.S.A. The bottom line is that the American people are considerably less safe with a nuclear armed DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) than they were before.

The Bush administration has had ample time to take steps to negotiate a settlement between the two traditional adversaries. Instead, they chose to aggravate the situation by trying to topple the regime by freezing bank accounts and enforcing punitive “unilateral” sanctions.

Unsurprisingly, Bush’s ham-fisted tactics have produced the opposite result of what was intended. The North rushed ahead with its research and quickly figured out the basic elements of nuclear bomb-production allowing the madcap dictator in the oversized sun-glasses to build a stockpile of between 6 to 12 nuclear weapons. Now the entire region is on tenterhooks and frantically trying to cobble together a diplomatic solution.

The Bush administration has stubbornly refused to sit down in one-on-one negotiations with the North. Their refusal was supposed to send a message that the U.S. is just “too important” to engage a vassal state like North Korea in serious dialogue. Bush further strained relations by including the North on its “axis of evil” list which includes the states that the US has designated as targets for regime change.

Additionally, Vice President Cheney delivered a blunt warning to Kim in a speech he delivered early last year. He said, “We don’t negotiate with evil; we defeat it.”

What could be clearer?

Given the administration’s blatant hostility, Kim Jung Il did what any leader would do if they were facing a similar existential threat; he developed a credible deterrent to US aggression, nuclear weapons. His research was undoubtedly hurried along by Bush’s bellicosity.

Immediately following October’s nuclear blast, the Bush administration reversed its policy and sent a messenger to the North Korean Embassy to see if they would be willing to conduct secret “bilateral” negotiations in Berlin. Bush was desperately trying to avoid the appearance that he had completely caved in on a matter of principle, but the facts are not in dispute. Bush’s sudden U-turn is just another unfortunate humiliation for the country.

The Bush public relations team is trying to spin the new agreement as a “breakthrough”. But there is no breakthrough. Bush has capitulated on all the main issues. It’s a terrible deal and that’s why so many conservatives are enraged and spewing their anger in the newspapers.

The agreement will remove the North from the State Department’s list of terrorist states and provide 50,000 tons of fuel oil just for shutting down its Yongbyon reactor. But that won’t address the north’s clandestine nuclear program or Kim’s nuclear weapons stockpile. In fact, these are not even on the table!

Just months ago Bush rejected the same deal saying, “We will never agree to blackmail”.

My, how things change once a country gets nukes.

The present agreement is worse than the “Agreed Framework” which was initiated by Bill Clinton in 1994 and which was universally repudiated by Republicans and the conservative think tanks. Nicholas Eberstadt of the far-right American Enterprise Institute summarized it like this:

“This is substantially worse than the Agreed Framework… The (original) agreement attempted to freeze everything that we knew about the DPRK’s activities and probe their good faith. Now, we have agreed to a deal that only freezes part, at most, of North Korea’s nuclear activities for a much higher price then the earlier agreement, with a regime that we know operates in bad faith on nuclear deals.”

Eberstadt is right. Every part of the agreement favors the North. The United States and its allies will have to provide 50,000 tons of fuel oil just for the privilege of sitting down at the bargaining table with the DPRK diplomats. Shutting down Yongbyon is utterly meaningless; that doesn’t tell us where the secret uranium enrichment program is located and that is the fuel-source for the Kim’s nuclear weapons.

There’s no chance that the administration will persuade the North to “denuclearize” (the administration’s word du jour). Kim knows that the real objective of US policy is regime change and that guarantees that he will never give up his nukes. Instead, he plans to use the upcoming negotiations as a means of extorting more concessions from Bush and the allies. Next, he’s expected to demand electrical power from South Korea, additional food and medicine, and the light-water reactor which was promised by Clinton. All the while, his nukes will remain safely tucked away beyond reach; his only real bargaining chip.

The real danger in Bush’s policy-turnabout is the message that it sends to Iran and any other country who wants to improve its prospects vis a vis the United States. If Iran had any doubts that it needs nuclear weapons to fend off the US; those doubts have been removed.

Bush’s blundering foreign policy has dealt a withering blow to nuclear nonproliferation and paved the way for a 21st century arms race. This is a bad deal all around and only underscores one basic truism:

Blackmail works.
More from this author:
The Breaking Point (7828 Hits)
It was another bad week in Iraq. While bodies were piling up in the Baghdad morgue and the militia fighting steadily intensified, the Bush...
A Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy? (9098 Hits)
When Hillary Clinton said that her husband Bill was the target of “a vast right-wing conspiracy”, her critics just laughed at her. No...
Barking Mad (17478 Hits)
It’s not a comforting thought, but it’s the truth. As the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate and the feckless congress concedes more...
More “Culture Wars” Gibberish from nutcase David Brooks (10849 Hits)
Most of us know David Brooks as the balding goofball on “The Jim Lehrer News Hour” who shrugs his shoulders and giggles gleefully whenever...
Why does Thailand have all the Luck? (8554 Hits)
About 2 weeks ago, 10 Soviet-era tanks clanked-along the main thoroughfare in downtown Bangkok and stopped in front of the Presidential Palace. Once...
Related Articles:
The Bush Magical Mystery Political Capital Tour (9668 Hits)
The Bush War Cabinet is invoking the memory of 9/11 as justification for their systematic shredding of constitutional and human...
Why Bush wants immunity from prosecution for war crimes (238403 Hits)
Although not as widely remarked as the elimination of habeas rights and the consecration of torture, the recently passed Senate torture legislation...
You and What Army? Bush Legions Starting to "Unravel" (11601 Hits)
Is it possible the largest and most advanced military in the history of the universe is ready to bust? According to General Barry McCaffrey (ret.)...
"Boiling Point" - Eroding Freedom: From John Adams to George W. Bush (12195 Hits)
Put a frog into a pot of boiling water, the well-known parable begins, and out that frog will jump to escape the obvious danger. Put that same...
Why Bush Smiles: Victory is at Hand in Iraq (11608 Hits)
Despite George W. Bush's ostentatious bucking up of the Iraqi government yesterday, it is very likely that there will indeed be an...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (4)add comment

a guest said:

0
Bush is apparently a "Decider" and not a "Negotiator"
The problem is, he's never made a good decision yet.

Too bad Bush and Cheney haven't decided to resign. IMPEACHMENT is apparently the only option we have left. Which is the better of the two because they should be held accountable for their blatant criminal activities.

Steve Meiers
Hayward, CA
 
February 17, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
...
In all this US articles about countries having the "potential" to strike the US, having bombs and rockets, putting the US in "danger", etc..., "foreign-policy-blundering"-pundits just seem to forget basic history; the only country who has and uses all these weapons to kill indiscriminately around the world, since so many decades, unpunished because not agreeing to simple international law, is the US. I would not expect this kind of "serious" articles from this perspective, from the main, world destabilizing rogue state, the US, but from any of the many victims.
 
February 19, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
...
…well, the point of the so called “US foreign policy blunder” is that as of today and in the future, because of the indiscriminately killings in the past, for the profits of all US presidents sponsors, the survivors have turned a little bit angry against the US. So the US must prevent these countries to have any of the weapons of mass destruction. Retaliation seems to be perfectly OK from a human feelings point of view, and don’t forget, the US happily retaliated by killing hundred thousands of innocent people for only 3000 dead in 9/11. Reminds me a little bit of Nazi-Germany tactics against underground fighters; for every dead German soldier, ten civilians had to be executed.
 
February 19, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
...
...to make it short, a blunder in US foreign policy is if a sovereign state succeeds in its interests, i.e. to keep US military or economical aggressions away, to keep the population alive, etc. A success in US foreign policy, and business as usual, and of no interest at all to the US public opinion, is if the whatever state is economically bankrupted, resources sold out to US companies, civilians killed, existing society thrashed, etc., or in other words, if the US succeeded in exporting US style democracy. How pathetic and of course, you should only impeach a US president for blunders...
 
February 20, 2007
Votes: +0

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top