Monday | January 13, 2003
North Korean Two-Step
Can someone explain the following to me? First, it now appears that three months after President Bush labeled North Korea as a member of the "Axis of Evil", he released $95 million in aid to them, and waived an inspection requirement on their nuclear program that was called for in the 1994 Agreed Framework.
While your mind is spinning on that eye-popping contradiction, and in confirmation of the suspicions that some of us have had since the State Department reported in October that the North Koreans copped to violating the framework, we now find buried in a AP story today, a denial by the North Koreans that they ever admitted any such thing. Now of course this could be one more conflicting signal from an unstable regime that wants to twist the facts in its direction (I mean the North Koreans, not Bush).
But take a step back and consider several possibilities here. According to the BBC story in April, again three months after the "Axis of Evil" tag line in the State of the Union, "President George W Bush waived the Framework's requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors." So after breaking off promising negotiations with them that Clinton had started at the end of his term, and tagging them as an outlaw nation, he then sends them a contradictory signal that it is OK to get the aid money without having to submit to inspections. Yet six months later, Kelly confronts them with "evidence" we have (stop me if this sounds familiar, Mr. Hussein) that they have been violating the Framework. Then our government tells three GOP congressmen (two weeks after the visit and after such a revelation cannot affect the Iraq resolution vote in Congress on that day), that North Korea admitted to such violations, which the North Koreans now claim was an American lie.
Our next action weeks later was to cut off their oil heading into winter, based on what the North Koreans now insist was a lie told by our government, and such a cutoff constituted a US abrogation of the 1994 Framework. And then our government was surprised at the North Korean reaction to our abrogation of the Framework, actions we took because the North Koreans allegedly admitted to abrogating the treaty themselves, which they now deny.
Given the conflicting signals received from this administration (you can be a member of the Axis of Evil, pocket $95 million because it is "vital to the national security interests of the US", and not have to submit to inspections), and the possibility that it was the US, and not the North Koreans who abrogated the treaty, is it any wonder why some in the Administration want to turn the heat down on this issue as soon as possible?
Should we ask the follow-on question: what was this $95 million for, and specifically which companies stood to benefit from the release of such funds?
Update: The BBC website has two interesting pieces; the first is an essay that makes the point that Bush’s own behavior of walking away from treaties has set a terrible example for the North Koreans to follow. And a second piece is a timeline of the crisis, which shows as far back as November 18th both the North and South Koreans were questioning whether or not the North had actually admitted having a nuclear weapons program. In fact, the South said it was possible that the US was misinterpreting what the North actually said.
Of course, the US media has said nothing about this possible lie by the Bush Administration, nor has it tried to pin the Administration down on this possibility in the near two months since.
Posted January 13, 2003 05:33 PM | Comments (14)