The agreed fig-leaf

The six nations involved in negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program have reached some sort of agreement. However, as Fox News reports, there seems to be a dispute about the extent to which, in exchange for lots of aid, North Korea has agreed to forbear from developing and/or maintaining nukes.
The existence of this disagreement is pretty good evidence, if any were needed, that this or any other negotiated deal with North Korea is quite unlikely to put an end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. I just don’t see North Korea giving up the nuclear weapons it has worked so hard, and at such great cost, to obtain.
There are three broad options for dealing with North Korea. The first is to attack it, but this a non-starter — the last thing we want is a war on the Korean peninsula, particularly since North Korea is not an expansionist or ideologically driven entity like Iran. The second is a regime of hard sanctions and perhaps some sort of blockade or intercept program. That regime wouldn’t cause North Korea to disarm, but it might hasten the collapse of the current governemnt. On the other hand, it might well increase the incentive for North Korea to sell nuclear technology and/or know-how to our enemies.
The third option is to kick the can down the road through an agreement, as the Clinton administration did with its 1994 “agreed framework.” An agreement gives the administration a fig-leaf, and the provision of aid, coupled I hope with Chinese cooperation, may decrease the likelihood that North Korea will export its nuclear technology. This appears to be the option that Bush has selected. All things considered, I would have preferred option two.
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