Joe Lieberman cyncially joins the “blame American first” crowd in this piece about North Korea in the Washington Post. Lieberman goes further than even most Democrats when he argues, without evidence, that “the Bush administration has bullied its way to the opposite result from what it presumably wanted — a non-nuclear North Korea” (what is the word “presumably” doing in that sentence?) And Lieberman actually claims that the Clinton appeasement policy was working until Bush came along because the North Koreans “kept [the] central part of the agreement [pertaining to weapons-grade plutonium]” and relations between the two Koreas, and even between North Korea and the U.S., improved. Only if one reads further (not easy to do because Lieberman doesn’t write much better than he speaks) does one get an acknowledgement that North Korea flat-out violated the 1994 by pursuing a nuclear program based on uranium enrichment. Ever the apologist, though, Lieberman again points out that the North Korean nuclear program is not based on plutonium, as if this is supposed to console us.
In addition to re-writing the historical record, Liberman offers as a solution the usual mush — forget the past and simply negotiate a new agreement by which North Korea agrees to become a non-nuclear power (with “full international inspections” of course) in exchange for political recognition and regional economic investment. Lieberman fails to explain why the North Korean dictator would agree to disarm in exchange for these benefits, unless he believed that he could obtain the benefits without living up to his promises. As he was able to do under the Clinton appeasement policy that Lieberman defends.
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