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High on Foggy Bottom

To outward appearances Secretary Rice has delegated responsibility for diplomatic issues with North Korea to Christopher Hill, with Iran to Nicholas Burns, with Iraq to John Negroponte, and reserved Israeli-Palestinian issues to herself. While Secretary Rice seeks to salvage a legacy out of her weak record of the past seven years, American interests in every one of these areas have suffered. In her treatment of Israeli-Palestinian issues, Secretary Rice has traveled beyond the absurd to the contemptible, as for example in her likening of the cause of Palestinian Arabs to that of Southern blacks under segregation.
Michael Freund’s Jerusalem Post column attends to this astounding comparison. The Post also notes that Israel’s designated partner for peace still graphically aspires to Israel’s elimination. Secretary Rice’s response to those who point out that the time is not ripe for Palestinian statehood is that there is never a good time. The regression of the Bush administration to the mean is nowhere more striking than its current efforts in this area.
With respect to Iran and Iraq, Michael Ledeen gets to the Foggy Bottom of the Iraq story. Not surprisingly, the usual snags have emerged as the time has arrived for North Korth Korean denuclearization. Among the snags is the recent discovery of traces of enriched uranium on smelted aluminum tubing provided by North Korea, suggesting that Pyongyang’s denial that it had a clandestine nuclear program is, not to put too fine a point on it, false.

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