Today the Washington Post tries

Today the Washington Post tries to go after the Administration on North Korea, with a couple of critical front-page articles. The more negative of the two, by Steven Mufson, begins:
“A veteran diplomat once gave me this advice: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. When it comes to North Korea, the Bush administration appears to have violated this elementary rule of diplomacy again and again.”
Mufson blames the Administration for being “obsessed with shredding the Agreed Framework that the Clinton administration had negotiated”–even though this supposed “obsession” was admittedly “not without reason.” He criticizes the Administration for wanting to “rip up completely” the Agreed Framework, rather than “look for a reason to reengage North Korea and renegotiate the Agreed Framework.”
But why North Korea could be expected to adhere to a renegotiated Agreed Framework when it shamelessly violated the original agreement, taking the U.S. for several billion dollars in aid in the process, is never explained. And, despite his dissatisfaction with every word and deed by the Administration in relation to North Korea, Mufson is obliged to admit: “Could the Bush aministration have handled North Korea in a different way to prevent this turn of events? Perhaps not. After all, North Korea’s pursuit of uranium enrichment capabilities predated by a couple of years Bush’s declaration that the country was part of the ‘axis of evil.’”
I have no idea what tactics are most likely to disarm North Korea and depose Kim Jong. Neither does the Washington Post. Nevertheless, the Post’s instinct, here as during the cold war, is to assume that all dangerous actions by hostile dictators are somehow a response to provocation on the part of the United States; and are, therefore, mostly our fault. We can only hope that in the months to come we won’t be barraged with articles on the subject of why Kim Jong hates us.

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