Tuesday, February 13, 2007

One To Go

UPDATE 2: More details. This could truly be historic. North Korea Agrees to Nuclear Disarmament:
Under the deal, the North will receive an initial 50,000 tons worth of aid in heavy fuel oil for shutting down and sealing its main nuclear reactor, to be confirmed by international inspectors, Chinese envoy Wu Dawei said. The North eventually will receive another 950,000 tons in aid for irreversibly disabling the reactor.

The agreement was read to all delegates in a conference room at a Chinese state guesthouse and Wu asked if there were any objections. When none were made, the officials all stood and applauded.

North Korea and United States also will embark on talks aimed at resolving disputes and restarting diplomatic relations, Wu said. The Korean peninsula has technically remained in a state of war for more than a half-century since the Korean War ended in a 1953 cease-fire.

The United States will begin the process of removing North Korea from its designation as a terror-sponsoring state and also on ending U.S. trade sanctions, but no deadlines was set, according to the agreement. Japan and North Korea also will seek to normalize relations, Wu said.

If Pyongyang follows through with its promises, they would be the first moves the communist nation has made to scale back its atomic development after more than three years of six-nation negotiations marked by delays, deadlock and the North's first nuclear test explosion in October.
Thank you, Osama! Let's see, in 5 years, we've got the Taliban pushed into Waziristan, the tyrant Hussein toppled and his programs ended, Libya disarmed, Syria pushed out of Lebanon, an historic alliance with India, and now the Norks disarming and coming to the peace table after 50 years!

And yet, Bush's policies make us "less safe", they say...


Possibly historic achievement of the Bush administration, if this holds up:
BEIJING - North Korea agreed Tuesday to shut down its main nuclear reactor within 60 days at talks with the U.S. and four regional powers and eventually dismantle its atomic weapons program.
The Axis of Evil is getting whittled down!

Two down, one to go, Iran!

And it looks like the Europeans have realized their negotiations are utterly fruitless:
Too late to halt Iran’s nuclear bomb, EU is told
Iran will be able to develop enough weapons-grade material for a nuclear bomb and there is little that can be done to prevent it, an internal European Union document has concluded.

In an admission of the international community’s failure to hold back Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the document – compiled by the staff of Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief – says the atomic programme has been delayed only by technical limitations rather than diplomatic pressure. “Attempts to engage the Iranian administration in a negotiating process have not so far succeeded,” it states.

The downbeat conclusions of the “reflection paper” – seen by the Financial Times – are certain to be seized on by advocates of military action, who fear that Iran will be able to produce enough fissile material for a bomb over the next two to three years. Tehran insists its purposes are purely peaceful.

“The problems with Iran will not be resolved through economic sanctions alone.”

The admission is a blow to hopes that a deal with Iran can be reached and comes at a sensitive time, when tensions between the US and Tehran are rising. Its implication that sanctions will prove ineffective will also be unwelcome to EU diplomats. Only yesterday the bloc agreed on how to apply United Nations sanctions on Tehran, overcoming a dispute between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar.

The EU document is embarrassing for advocates of negotiations with Iran, since last year it was Mr Solana and his staff who spearheaded talks with Tehran on behalf of both the EU and the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Unstoppable except by determined military action, that is.

We'll still have to deal with the Saudi-Paki axis of course, but things are moving along nicely!

What a diplomatic coup!

Bush will of course get no credit for insisting on slogging through years of tough multi-lateral talks, when Democrats (such as Candidate Kerry) wanted to continue to appease. Not long ago, The Nation lamented:
Flashback to September of 2004:

The Democrat [Kerry] condemned the Bush administration for rejecting direct diplomacy [instead of multilateral talks --ed] in favor of the cowboy president's bluster and blunder. Noting that the White House had failed to effectively engage North Korea's concerned neighbors and other nuclear powers in the process, Kerry said: "The Chinese are frustrated, the South Koreans, the Japanese are frustrated" by what he described as the president's neglectful and "ideologically driven" approach.

"I think that this is one of the most serious failures and challenges to the security of the United States, and it really underscores the way in which George Bush talks the game but doesn't deliver," explained the senator from Massachusetts, who spoke as one of the most experienced observers [a watcher, not a doer??? --ed] of arms control issues in Congress.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan accused the Democratic presidential candidate of promoting policies that would allow North Korea "to dupe the United States," while claiming that Bush was "pursuing a plan that will lead to the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons program..."
McClellan may well have been prophetic!

The Nation refused to believe and is still fighting the last election:
The third and arguably most consequential truth is that, if the U.S. had elected a different president in 2OO4, the prospects for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and throughout the region would be far greater than they are today.

UPDATE: More analysis at Tigerhawk.


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