Tuesday :: Oct 10, 2006

Richardson Calls For Direct Talks


by Steve

Bill Richardson has it right: regardless of what we think about foreign leaders, we have to talk with them as long as they have the means to sell WMDs to terrorists, and as long as we have the opportunity to get IAEA inspectors back into the country to prevent cash-strapped leaders from making such transactions.

John Bolton and the rest of the machismo-deluded Cheney/Bush foreign policy apparatus have it wrong: isolating bad actors because you prefer to ignore the problem until such regimes collapse is a danger to this country’s national interest in a post-9/11 world. But to rely upon China to finally do something about Pyongyang may be foolhardy for two reasons. It isn't clear that the Chinese will act, and if they do, their interests will be served (by taking more direct control of the northern peninsula) and not ours. Secondly, until the Chinese act, if they do, Kim Jong Il can still conceivably sell weapons for cash.

A couple of days ago I said that Kim Jong Il can go talk to a wall, and that the Chinese and Russians can deal with him. The difference between me and the Neanderthals in the White House is that I eventually return to my original and correct position to trust the wisdom and experience of those who know much better, and who see an opportunity to act in our national interest. This White House does not possess such capabilities, and has driven this country’s overseas interests into a ditch damn near everywhere in its blind adherence to failed dogma. No one will like eventually sitting down across a table from the North Koreans to do the tough bargaining that both Baker and Richardson advocate, but in a post-9/11 world such negotiations must be done after sanctions are imposed.

Democrats should put forward their support for both sanctions as a short-term response to the unsuccessful nuclear test, and eventual direct talks as our longer-term response. If Robert Kaplan is correct, Pyongyang is more worried about China than us, so we have an opportunity to take advantage of that situation and improve the world community's ability to monitor and control Pyongyang's program.

Polls show that in the wake of the Cheney/Bush failure in Iraq, voters want diplomacy rather than saber rattling to solve such problems. Democrats will not pay a price for arguing the Baker/Richardson approach, and may soon have the platforms in Congress to offer it as a real alternative to the ongoing failed policies of this administration. In a post-9/11 world, any regime that can produce and sell WMDs to terrorists must be engaged by the world’s remaining superpower regardless of what we think of that regime, or our distaste for granting its leaders face time, respect, and assurances of its own survival. To do otherwise would be to endanger the national security of the United States.

Steve :: 8:30 AM :: Comments (9) :: Digg It!