Sometimes, as C.P. Snow and others have pointed out, the
results of "open politics" and "closed politics" are exactly
opposite. Perhaps in some way, President Bush's apparent closing off
of contact with North Korea involves action in the interest of
But the publicly apparent result seems unfortunate.
We are told that the United States and South Korea are "at sharp
odds over how to deal with the communist regime" of North Korea.
Could it be that the Bush administation is acting responsibly? If
so, the responsible conduct is secret.
The word "treat" -- so problematic and ill defined in these
affairs, seems problematic again here:
" Mr. Bush told the South Korean leader, who is preparing to sign
his own peace declaration with the North, that the United States
still regards the North Korean regime as a threat. "
Why can't nation states that are a "threat" to each other
negotiate with each other. Isn't this the usual reason for
negotiations. Isn't distrust natural, even obligatory in such
affairs, especially when nuclear weapons are involved?
Naturally, unless ways to CHECK can be negotiated, uncertainties,
and fear of deceptions, are inescapable military realities.
President Bush asks:
``When you make an agreement with a country that
is secretive, how are you aware as to whether or not they are
keeping the terms of the agreement?''
Can't this question be reasonably applied to ANY militarily
competent nation state.
Isn't the United States "secretive" in the senses that
Shouldn't distrust be assumed , and the consequences dealt
with? I've suggested just this, on a larger scale disarmament issue
(#266, this thread.)
Mr. Kim said he would continue his efforts to open up North Korea
but South Korea ``will consult with the United States every step of
the way so that the progress in South-North Korean relations serves
the interests of our two countries.'' Wouldn't removal of the
nuclear threat from North Korea serve our interest?
One wonders what can be served by closing off negotiations
pursuing that end.
Perhaps the Bush administration is not closing off negotiations,
but is simply taking time, as of course it must, to understand its
President Kim fears that
A hard line from Washington, he fears, could
prompt a similarly tough backlash from the North Korean military,
which has been skeptical of the openings to South Korea, Japan and
That would be unfortunate, counterproductive behavior on both
Could it be that President Bush has committed his own legitimacy,
and the legitimacy of the Republican party, to Missile Defense? Has
he done so to such an extent that practical alternatives, that
reduce risk much more effectively than Missile Defense possibly can
in the next eight years, have to be rejected.?
If so, it seems bad judgement, against the interest of the
nation, against the interests of his party, and, it would seem to
me, against his own.
I'm sure there must be another explanation.