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U.S. Foreign Policy: Another Heckuva Job

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A few days ago, Trudy Rubin had a good column about Secretary of State Rice and U.S. Mideast Policy. This was not a rave review:

Rarely has an American secretary of state looked so hapless.

At a time when American policy is failing in Iraq and flailing toward Iran, Rice’s trip shows why a shift of U.S. strategy is badly needed, soon.

The only way to break out of the present cycle of failure in the Middle East is to put the Israel-Palestinian issue back on the front burner.

When the United States invaded Iraq, many on the Bush team believed the road to Jerusalem (meaning resolution of the Palestinian issue) ran through Baghdad. They believed Iraq would morph into a pro-American democracy, which in turn would undercut the regimes in Syria and Iran. The Palestinians would have to accept whatever deal Israel offered, and the Bush team wouldn’t have to push the peace process forward.

Unfortunately, White House expectations proved to be 180 degrees wrong.

The chaos in Iraq strengthened Iran’s hand. Meantime, U.S. passivity on the peace process has boomeranged. President Bush’s endorsement of Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip was bound to strengthen Hamas, which could claim it had pushed Israel out by force. Had the White House wanted to strengthen Abbas, it would have urged Israel to negotiate a withdrawal with him.

The downward spiral that followed in Gaza and the West Bank has endangered Israel and U.S. policy as well.

Well, the Mideast is a tough nut to crack. Clinton couldn’t solve it either (It’s Clinton’s fault. Yeah, that’s the ticket.) But the Bushites aren’t doing better with North Korea, according to Josh Marshall:

Here’s the CNN brief on their article about Rice blaming Bill Clinton for the president’s latest failure.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday defended the Bush administration’s refusal to hold bilateral talks with North Korea in the face of Pyongyang’s claim of a successful nuclear test. She told CNN the Clinton administration tried that approach in the 1990s and it had failed.

Bill Perry has a good rejoinder to this nonsense on the Post oped page.

But let’s review the salient facts one more time.

“Failure” =1994-2002 — Era of Clinton ‘Agreed Framework’: No plutonium production. All existing plutonium under international inspection. No bomb.

“Success” = 2002-2006 — Bush Policy Era: Active plutonium production. No international inspections of plutonium stocks. Nuclear warhead detonated.

Face it. They ditched an imperfect but working policy. They replaced it with nothing. Now North Korea is a nuclear state.

Facts hurt. So do nukes.

That’s it from me. What an easy post to write.

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October 11th, 2006 at 2:32 pm

N. Korea Has the Bomb!! We’re Dooooooooomed!!!!!!!!

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Holy bloody rat poo! North Korea says it has tested its nuclear weapon. The cable news guys and gals are all over it if only because it is a weekend and therefore no schools are open and available to be put under siege by men with guns.

The nice news reader anchor lady on CNN has been asking correspondents in Asian capitols what can be done. The mush mouthed answer seems to be – nothing. That is, nothing can be done directly to prevent North Korea from developing its nuclear technology and arsenal. I am sure that if China, for example, wanted to punish the PRK it could find ways to retaliate economically.

But as the poet sings, “When you ain’t got nothin you got nothin to lose.” So North Koreans will have to live on 475 calories a day instead of 500. Big whoop. That won’t deter the rulers of the PRK. If they want the bomb, they have shown they are willing and able to do what is required to get it. The world can’t stop them, any more than it can stop stuff like this from going down.

By the way, last I saw on tv about 20 minutes ago, there was no seismic evidence to confirm that a test had occurred. South Korea is still convinced, however.

So what does happen now? I anticipate a lot of posturing and an eventual return to the six nations talks.

The righties who were so orgasmic about our invasion of Iraq – like this one – think the U.S. should deal more firmly with North Korea. I think if they ever got their wish they would regret it, because what would they have to bellyache about?

Me, I think it would be nice if the United States lead the world in an effort to dismantle all nuclear weapons. And I would also like the Hope Diamond for an xmas present.

Written by slothropia

October 8th, 2006 at 11:16 pm