Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bolton Knows Best

There are certain headlines that are guaranteed to be vastly unsupported by the "news" stories beneath them. "North Korea Agrees To End Nuclear Programs" and this story are a leading candidate for epitome of same:
North Korea agreed in weekend talks with the United States to fully account for and disable its nuclear programs by the end of this year, negotiators said on Sunday.

"We had very good, very substantive talks," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill told reporters. "One thing that we agreed on is that (North Korea) will provide a full declaration of all of their nuclear programs and will disable their nuclear programs by the end of this year, 2007."

North Korea's top nuclear envoy said separately his delegation was pleased with the outcome of the talks, held to hasten the end of Pyongyang's nuclear programme, a target agreed to in principle in 2005 in exchange for diplomatic and economic benefits.

"We agreed about many things," Kim Kye-gwan, speaking in Korean, told reporters. "We made it clear, we showed clear willingness to declare and dismantle all nuclear facilities."
All nuclear facilities they've disclosed to us, that is. And in exchange for what?

Not to pick on the Admiral again, but he appears to not be troubled in the least by this dearth of critical specifics:
Neither side revealed what the DPRK received in return for its capitulation, but some carrots have been long proferred by the other five parties in the talks. Kim Jong-Il has demanded economic assistance and normalization of relations with the US for decades, and certainly would expect to receive both in exchange for shutting down his nukes. That would likely end the war between the two Koreas, which has been ongoing for almost sixty years and only quieted by a truce.
Why would this end the Korean War when officially maintaining the hostilities has yielded Pyongyang repeated appeasenik bonanzas that have both kept the Kim regime in power and enabled them to pursue and construct nuclear weapons?

And when I say bonanza, I don't mean Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker, and Pernell Roberts doing a prequel to Brokeback Mountain:
The US and the other nations should ensure that verification is a big part of the agreement....
Meaning, I take it, that we've made this agreement without ensuring adequate verification protocols.
....The Bush Administration has insisted on better verification regimes than the previous Agreed Framework that allowed Pyongyang to build its nuclear program in secret. That is especially necessary now that the US has apparently agreed to take North Korea off its list of terror sponsoring nations, which will allow the DPRK to start selling its arms openly, and buying even more for themselves. [emphasis added]
Well, hell's bells, who needs verification when you're calling off the posse altogether? Now the NoKos can build their nuclear arsenal right out in the freaking open. At least Kim had to fool Bill Clinton, even if it wasn't very difficult to do; the Bushies appear to already be fools before ever sitting down at the negotiating table.

Ed, however, prefers to let hope be the enemy of hardheaded common sense:
If this succeeds, it will increase pressure on the other major known nuclear dabbler, Iran, which just announced an increase of operational centrifuges to 3,000. That can't be good news for the mullahcracy, who had tried coordination with the DRPK as a means to keep the international pressure split....Hopefully it will represent a real and peaceful victory for the US and pave the way towards freedom for the people starving on the Korean peninsula.
Let's see; we've been strung along "diplomatically" for years by the mullagarchy as cover for their pursuit of nuclear weapons. The NoKos' attempt at working the kinks out of the nukes they made under our noses via the same portentious process of orchestrated deception (e.g. the "Agreed Framework") didn't turn out according to plan, so they've agreed to shut down a reactor (Yongbyon) that was at or past the end of its useful life anyway, in exchange for a wealth of economic aid, international re-legitimization, and probably more light-water nuclear reactors, with the heat of international scrutiny turned off. End result: the Kim regime survives to thrive, prosper, continue to squash, impoverish, and terrorize its people, annnnnd work on its nuclear weapons program. The latter of which we'll be "shocked" to discover another span of years down the road, perhaps when an American city goes up in irradiated flames.

What can the Iranians possibly learn from this that they didn't believe about us already?

This isn't a "real and peaceful victory" for the United States; it is, at best, a deferral of the inevitable nuclear confrontation, a buying of additional time that it is doubtful we'll put to good use by building up our military capabilities to fight major wars in East Asia and the Middle East (and Latin America - don't forget about Comrade Hugo) at the same time. At worst, it is another capitulation that fodderizes a perilous delusion of evitability, and ensures that we will not be ready when the worst happens - probably at the same time.

But don't take my word for it - I'm just agreeing with a former Ambassador to the United Nations:
Kim is once again besting the U.S. in accomplishing his two central strategic objectives: staying in power and preserving his nuclear-weapons program. The working groups currently underway do nothing to achieve the proper ends of U.S. foreign policy. A few weeks ago in Shenyang, China, the "denuclearization" working group met without visible progress, even on permanently dismantling Yongbyon.

There is still simply no evidence that Pyongyang has made a decision to abandon its long-held strategic objective to have a credible nuclear-weapons capability. This inconvenient fact should make it impossible for the State Department to concede on other issues, even if it were inclined to do so. Creative minds are therefore working on ways to explain that any forthcoming North Korean declaration of its nuclear capabilities is "full and complete," thus eliminating the remaining troubling obstacles to full normalization of relations.
Now tell me if the following doesn't sound awfully similar to the "news" story above:
Consider a possible North Korean "declaration," perhaps drafted with State's coaching, which would say something like this: "We manufactured two nuclear devices, one of which we detonated last October. We detonated the other earlier, but you didn't recognize it as a nuclear explosion. We currently have no nuclear devices. Our plutonium reprocessing efforts were not very successful, which explains why we only had two devices, neither of which produced large yields. We ultimately disposed of our limited remaining plutonium to others, and we have no idea where it now is. We currently have no plutonium. On uranium enrichment, we purchased some UF6 and a small number of centrifuges for a test cascade from A.Q. Khan, but we could not progress due to inadequate funds. Accordingly, we long ago sold all but a small amount of the UF6 and the centrifuges to third-parties. We will produce what little we have at Yongbyon shortly. That's it. Are we done now?"

Many will fall for this pretense of "full disclosure," especially those needing a diplomatic "success" to justify long years of faith in the Six-Party Talks. The alternative is to reject any North Korean declaration without full and timely verification. IAEA inspections alone are not enough.
Ambassodor Bolton then asserts what he considers to be "enough":

Precisely because our knowledge of the North's nuclear program is incomplete, we need an intrusive, indeed invasive, verification mechanism before having any confidence that North Korea's nuclear program is in fact being dismantled. We need smart and extensive verification activities inside North Korea, including no-notice inspections, a full range of sensors and sampling, unrestricted interviews and document reviews....

We need to know, among other things, precisely how many nuclear weapons the North has manufactured, how and where it manufactured them, how many it now as, and how much reprocessed plutonium remains available for weaponization. If any devices, fissile material or nuclear manufacturing equipment have left North Korea, we need to learn the specifics.

We need to understand the full extent of its uranium enrichment program, and if weapons-grade enriched uranium was produced, where it is and how much there is of it. We also need to know specifically if North Korea possesses any enriched uranium metal or any weapons- or missile warhead-design information.

President Bush has stressed that we must also deal with Pyongyang's biological, chemical and ballistic missile programs. We must address these programs, especially the missiles, soon. Failure to make explicit the important connection between weapons and delivery systems will certainly come back to haunt us, and we are on the verge of allowing this point to slip away entirely.

Finally, we need to learn the details of North Korean nuclear cooperation with other countries. We know that both Iran and Syria have long cooperated with North Korea on ballistic missile programs, and the prospect of cooperation on nuclear matters is not far-fetched. Whether and to what extent Iran, Syria or others might be "safe havens" for North Korea's nuclear weapons development, or may have already participated with or benefited from it, must be made clear.

Does this "breakthrough" agreement with the NoKos contain any of the above stipulations? Ambassador Bolton believes it needs to include ALL of them. Think Kim would agree to ANY of them?

Now do you understand why I have zero confidence in any "diplomatic breakthrough" when its apologists use words like "hopefully" in attempting to sell it? When it comes to enemy regimes and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction that can reduce me and my family to atomized slag, "hopefully" doesn't cut it.