State kowtows to Kim Jong-Il

I have repeatedly observed how the Bush administration’s diplomacy regarding Iran, the Israel-Arab conflict and North Korea has come to resemble the that of the Clinton administration. Now a State Department friend forwards a striking example.
Below is email correspondence on how to characterize North Korea in the upcoming Human Rights Report. “Glyn” is deputy assitant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Glyn Davies; “Erica” is deputy assistant secretary for human rights Erica Barks-Ruggles.
The correspondence is silly, but it illuminates the depths to which the department goes to maintain the illusion of progress in the six-party talks. As “diplomacy” is wont to do, the process has long since become more important than getting rid of North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Does it not occur to anyone in the department that that we might be moving in the wrong direction if we can’t even call Kim Jong Il “repressive” for fear of wrecking the talks?
Davies writes to Barks-Ruggles:

From: Davies, Glyn T
Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 6:13 PM
To: Rosenberger, Laura M; Barks-Ruggles, Erica J (DRL)
Cc: Heller, James R; Hefner, Timothy B; Richhart, Raymond D; Turner, Julie E (DRL)
Subject: RE: HRR intro
Erica:
I know you are under the NSC gun, but hope given the Secretary’s priority on the Six-Party Talks, we can sacrifice a few adjectives for the cause.
Many thanks.
Glyn

Laura Rosenberger (the department’s North Korea human rights officer, I think) forwards Barks-Ruggles the text of the human rights report on North Korea as edited by Davies with this message:

From: Rosenberger, Laura M
Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 5:06 PM
To: Barks-Ruggles, Erica J (DRL); Davies, Glyn T
Cc: Heller, James R; Hefner, Timothy B; Richhart, Raymond D; Turner, Julie E (DRL)
Subject: FW: HRR intro
DAS Barks-Ruggles:
Glyn Davies asked me to pass this language for the HRR intro on DPRK along to you

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