The Spine

Maybe You’re Accustomed To Reeling When Reading John Bolton’s Opinions. I Don’t.

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More on the North Korean advance in its nuclear strategy. Not unsuspected but much ignored.

And the truth is we've been ignoring Pyongyang's mad and aggressive moves in the atomic arena for years. Even under President Bush. And President Clinton.

The current administration has made some angry sounds. But John Bolton, the best ambassador to the United Nations we've had in decades, doesn't believe they augur what we'll do. Which is start up the six-party talks again while the child prince, Kim Jong-un, inevitable successor to his monstrous father, Kim Jong-il, continues the reckless game of nuclear production and small wars against South Korea.

As Bolton writes in the Los Angeles Times:

The North may once again be testing America's strategic patience. We must avoid repeating our recent errors. After U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously concluded in mid-2002 that Pyongyang was preparing an industrial-scope enrichment program, the Bush administration decided to confront the North. At a key meeting in October 2002, the North defiantly admitted it was engaged in enrichment. Unfortunately, the U.S. response was to launch the hapless negotiations known as the six-party talks, providing cover for the North's continued progress on nuclear weapons.

He concludes:

The last thing Washington should do now is resurrect the failed six-party talks or start bilateral negotiations with the North. Instead, serious efforts need to be made with China on reunifying the Korean peninsula, a goal made ever more urgent by the clear transition of power now underway in Pyongyang as Kim Jong Il faces the actuarial tables. North Korea's threat will only end when it does, and that day cannot come soon enough.

I don't know if there is any sympathy left on the left for the Communist monarchy which has ruled (and further ruined) the country for decades. But the competition between North and South is the paradigmatic expression of the conflict between democracy and dictatorship. So who won?

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