Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One diplomatic success

What with all the excitement of conventions, an ex-hot wars in the Caucasus, hostile fleets in the Black Sea, Afghanistan heading south, Pakistan heading south, and al-Maliki of Mesopotamia giving directives to Feckless Leader himself, it may be hard to notice that the six-party talks with North Korea seem to have struck a reef, and are, perhaps, headed into the depths.

The issue for the North Koreans is the US designation of them as a 'state sponsor of terrorism', while the US says it won't do that until it has 'independent verification' that they have really and truly dismantled their nuclear program.

So, N. Korea now says that it has suspended disablement, and might start rebuilding the whole project again.

The talks had been touted as a diplomatic success for the administration, basically putting relations and denuclearization back at the level they were at the end of the Clinton administration. Not a high bar of success, but hey, who's counting anyway.

Because this is so low on everyone's radar screen, it's hard to even try to get a picture of what is really going on. N. Korea claims the US is now insisting on 'extra inspections' that were not part of the agreement. From here it looks like the Bush administration is once again running a bait-and-switch operation. The question is, why?


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