May 09, 2005

Operation: Vaporize Tokyo

Well this sure looks like good news: the White House is getting ready to adopt "the John Kerry plan" towards North Korea and open direct talks with Kim Jong Il. Of course, they could've done this four years ago, but then again... er, never mind. I don't know what the counterargument would be.

UPDATE: Oh, never mind. Reading the full story, it doesn't actually look like anything will change. This isn't the John Kerry plan after all. By "direct talks," the State Department means that it will continue to chat up North Korea within the six-party framework. Oy. This is madness. All the "six-party framework" has ever meant is that delegates from all six nations would crowd into a poorly-ventilated room, with 40 translators speaking every which way, while U.S. envoy James Kelly and NK envoy Li Gun trotted over to one corner to speak quietly. Except that the U.S. wouldn't put forward any actual negotiating positions. Not surprisingly, nothing ever got accomplished.

The key issue here has never been whether North Korea and the United States should start speaking to each other directly. They've been speaking to each other directly. The issue is whether the United States actually decides to offer anything to Kim Jong Il in return for abandoning his nuclear program. That, oddly enough, is how negotiating tends to work. And Kim Jong Il seems at least vaguely receptive to further negotiations. But according to the CBS report, it seems the White House has only offered to recognize North Korea's sovereignty. Oh, please. Colin Powell has been recognizing North Korea's sovereignty since late 2002. This isn't remotely serious. On the bright side, if San Francisco gets nuked I won't have to fix that rickety cabinet door in our kitchen...
-- Brad Plumer 9:31 PM || ||