April 28, 2004

Berger's Vision: The Fisking XVIII

Sandy Berger was commissioned by Foreign Affairs to produce a foreign policy essay for the next president from a Democrat perspective.

This is much too long to analyze in one shot, thus the numbered title, Part XVIII is below:

A Democratic administration must clearly and promptly test whether Kim Jong Il intends North Korea to become a nuclear factory or whether he will negotiate his way into the international community. U.S. officials must put a serious proposition on the table -- a nationwide, verifiable dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear programs in exchange for economic and political integration -- and be prepared to sequence implementation in a reciprocal way once the ultimate objectives are accepted. We must be prepared to take yes for an answer. And if Pyongyang's answer is no, South Korea, Japan, and China will join us in coercive actions only if they are convinced that we made a serious, good-faith effort to avoid confrontation. The worst option is one in which cash-starved North Korea becomes a supplier of nuclear weapons to al Qaeda or Hamas or to radical Chechens, who then deliver them to Washington, London, or Moscow.

And the North Koreans will simply say that they will not talk about such vital matters until the important issue of the shape of the table is resolved. The US will either confess to wanting a deal badly enough to give away the store or be stuck negotiating the shape of the table with neither a yes, nor a no available to use to convince our regional partners to take further action against North Korea. Indirect pressure can be used, but it is already being used.

The United States has already demonstrated that it is willing to take yes for an answer. The demonstration has quite publicly happened in the case of Libya, which is now well on the way to restoring its position in the community of nations despite a long history of bad behavior. The difference is that there is a demonstrated change in attitude and action. North Korea has not undergone the same change. It has not uttered a real yes so our behavior hasn't changed towards it.

Posted by TMLutas at April 28, 2004 02:41 PM