Thursday, September 27, 2007

Getting Away With Attempted Murder

When some analysts doubted that North Korea would ship nuclear material to Syria and thus triggering the whole Big Hole Incident, the objection was that North Korea would never risk aid in the Six Party Talks by doing this.

I wrote that the North Koreans would expect to get away with this if caught:

And to the professional diplomats who don't think North Korea would "risk" talks with us by selling WMD technology, get real people. Pyongyang doesn't believe there will be any fallout from such a deal. They believe we are so invested in talks that we will let such a side deal slide rather than risk the glamour of a signing ceremony with fancy bound documents affixed with impressive wax seals and colorful ribbons. I'm guessing the North Koreans are right.

I was apparently all too correct:

The US faces a dilemma going into the next round of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons: how firmly to press North Korea for details of proliferation of its nuclear technology to foreign clients.

Ahead of the Thursday meeting in Beijing, the issue has assumed critical importance with revelations of an Israeli raid early this month on a Syrian base where North Koreans were suspected of imparting not only know-how but also materiel needed for Syria to develop nuclear warheads.

"The US government has some evidence, but they seem to be deciding now is not the right time to talk about it," says Kim Tae Woo, senior research fellow at the Institute of Defense Analyses, affiliated with the South Korean defense ministry.

We should cancel the talks and cancel the aid already committed until North Korea explains this proliferation attempt and agrees to measures to stop future sales.

If we let the PIllsbury Nuke Boy get away with this, treating our discovery of their proliferation as an embarassment for us that we are too timid to bring up, why will North Korea abide by any agreement they sign? They'll know they can get away with anything because we're too timid to call them on violations!

Sometimes you have to walk away from a pending deal to seal the deal on acceptable terms.

UPDATE: Oh good grief. We've just announced we will provide aid to North Korea:

"This action is in accordance with the principle of 'action for action' under the six-party talks and demonstrates the US commitment to the denuclearization of the DPRK (North Korea)," said White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe of the US aid promise.

Johndroe said the 25 million dollars was for 50,000 metric tonnes of heavy fuel oil for the impoverished state.

Action for action? Is this some sick State Department joke? North Korea tries to dump some of their nuclear material in Syria for quick cash while trying to look clean, we catch them in this action, and our action is to dole out money?

Are we that stupid? Is it possible that we could teach North Korea any worse lesson by this aid grant? Why would North Korea ever play it straight with us? Why would they ever be afraid to cheat on an agreement?

Why do I expect any better of our diplomats?

Are we really this dense in learning how to treat enemies? Squeeze them until the just die.

Is it that difficult to treat enemies like the enemies they are?