Friday, January 04, 2008

So Sorry - Slight Paperwork Delay

With the New Year comes another example of the effectiveness of pure verbal diplomacy. Last October, Kim Jong Il again gives the world assurances the North Korean nuclear program will be dismantled. Well, surprise, surprise, surprise, he misses his deadline (or report due date to phrase it in less offensive language).

Missed North Korea Deadline Raises Concern: North Korea renewed its pledge to fulfill its obligations at six-party talks in Beijing in October. It promised to provide a complete list of all of its nuclear activities by December 31st -- a deadline the U.S. says Pyongyang missed.

At the White House, spokeswoman Dana Perino expressed skepticism over Pyongyang's intentions, but also some hope. "This is a very closed society that has had a secret program that's been ongoing. But North Korea did agree with the other members of the five – of the six – party talks to disable and to provide a complete and accurate declaration. We don't have any indication that they will not provide one," she said.

So the White House is putting on the happy face that diplomacy requires, but the American Enterprise Institute is under no obligation to sugar coat the truth.

A Diplomatic Charade: Once and for all: Can we please stop pretending that Kim Jong Il is negotiating with us in good faith? The only surprise about North Korea's latest missed deadline--and broken promise--in the ongoing "six-party talks" is Washington's seemingly unending tolerance for this diplomatic masquerade.

Well into the fifth year of negotiations on denuclearizing North Korea, what tangible results do our arms control conferees have to show for their efforts? Only a temporary shutdown of the North's Yongbyon plutonium facility. (State Department happy-talk notwithstanding, that facility has not yet been fully "disabled," much less "dismantled.")

It’s almost like the petty tyrants of the world have figured out they don’t really have to be artful with the stalling and dilly dallying and general foot dragging because nothing really bad is likely to happen. I wonder if Dearest Leader sometimes smiles at how easy it is to string the “great powers” along and wonders how Saddam managed to bungle it.