Daniel Poneman is a former National Security Council staffer and the co-author (with Joel Wit and Robert Galluci) of the new book Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis. I’ve been working my way through the book in anticipation of our having Dr. Galluci (leader of the team that negotiated the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea, now dean of the Georgetown University foreign service school) on our Northern Alliance Network Radio show this weekend.
Because I have been preparing for the interview, Poneman’s Boston Globe column on the subject of the current North Korea crisis caught my eye and I wrote about it briefly in “In lieu of a resume.” I criticized the column in part for being written in the kind of diplomatic doublespeak that verges on gibberish.
My own undiplomatic assessment of the column has not deterred Mr. Poneman from writing with diplomatic grace to elaborate on the point he was making in the column. I’m grateful for Mr. Poneman’s diplomatic response and this time I’m letting him speak for himself:
Until recently I was ignorant of the world of blogs, but your fellow blogger and my college roommate Hugh Hewitt introduced me to them a few weeks ago, and I now find a thriving political discourse which is great, even if not always friendly.
Naturally I was not pleased to see that you found my recent op-ed to border on gibberish, but I welcome any discussion and even criticism on an issue of this importance. I thought I would take at least one more shot (hopefully in plain English) to explain the core of my argument in favor of dealing with the North Korean nuclear problem in stages.
The United States seeks the permanent, thorough, and transparent dismantling of the nuclear weapons programs of North Korea and Iran.
The odds that either North Korea or Iran will just say