north korea update
Slate's Fred Kaplan reports that North Korea had in fact agreed in principle to multilateral talks some time ago. So what made last week's announcement such big news? Apparently the Bush Administration dropped a long-standing objection of its own and agreed to bilateral talkms within the multilateral framework.
Really, this development doesn't change my earlier opinion all that much. The talks are still a good development. But let's be clear: This isn't a case of "Bush held firm and the North Koreans blinked." Rather, it is, not surprisingly, a case of both sides giving a little.
Of course, the notion that North Korea apparently responded to a US concession reinforces the notion that the United States can influence -- not control, but influence -- NK's actions, for good or ill. That being the case, Bush does indeed deserve credit for this positive development, and simultaneously must take partial responsibility for the series of less-than-ideal precursors.
All that said, if Bush does manage to acheive a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, I'll be among the first to applaud, even if the US has to offer a carrot or two to achieve its security goals.
(via The Left Coaster)