more thoughts on korea
or, the Bush Administration needs to attend International Relations 101
Now for a few other points:
- One reservation some critics--myself included--have regarding the Bush administration's obsession with Iraq is that the focus could leave the US ill-prepared to deal with other threats, such as al-Qaeda and, yes, North Korea. Recent developments would tend to support that perception.
- The US has been adamant about resolving the Korean situation through diplomacy, in stark contrast with both its aggressive policy toward Iraq and its stated doctrine of preemption. While I agree that negotiation is the proper first response, the US's efforts have been muddled, leading to some embarrassing backtracking from bellicose rhetoric.
- The bottom line is, the US must negotiate. In foreign policy, a nation achieves its aims with some combination of the carrot and the stick. Unless the US is indeed to prepare to go to war in Korea, and all that implies, the US has absolutely no choice but to give the North Koreans something--either directly or through an intermediary such as Japan--to change its actions. The fact is, we want them to negotiate, so insisting on a list of preconditions for talks is doomed to failure. Further demands with nothing to back them up leave the US in an untenable and ridiculous position.