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The thing about the DPRK is that there are really no good options for dealing with them.

Jonah is right that carrots don't work. Sticks carry huge risks themselves. The DPRK is already isolated, so the most economic sanctions will do is deny Kim luxury items.

Our best strategy, I think, would be to pursue the long-term one of regime change through undermining it's government. Maybe we could secretly send in food aid by way of sub or something. I don't know if it's practical, but maybe air-drop food and propaganda leaflets.

At least with Iran the population has access to radios and cell phones. You don't even have much of that in the DPRK, so my guess is that attempts at electonic propaganda will likely be fruitless.

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"At least with Iran the population has access to radios and cell phones."

Absolutely. In fact, I think the following post has links to a story which states that the radios in NK are hard-wired to receive one frequency only.

http://foreignerinformosa.typepad.com/the_foreigner_in_formosa/2006/09/a_few_links.html

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Progress would be made if the Americans also acted in "good faith". As I understand it, the U.S. broke their agreement with North Korea by imposing more sanctions after NK promised not to continue their nuclear program.

Alas, this news never makes it to most westerners.
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Furthermore, the current U.S. administration has absolutely no credibility with the world anymore. I don't see how anything will be accomplished until the regime in Washington is removed.
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"As I understand it, the U.S. broke their agreement with North Korea by imposing more sanctions after NK promised not to continue their nuclear program."

Apparently, there are two different kinds of nukes, one being uranium and the other, plutonium. NK was to receive food, oil and nuclear reactors in exchange for ceasing production of uranium nukes (or it might have been plutonium instead - I can't quite remember).

The NorKors then took the oil and food and said, "That was easy!" Then they promptly proceeded to go to work on the OTHER kind of nuke.

I'm not sure what America was supposed to do at that point. Congratulate Kim Jong-il for his cleverness in exploiting the loophole in the 94 agreement? Offer him yet more oil and reactors as a reward?

You can argue that America broke the letter of the agreement, but it was certainly North Korea that broke its SPIRIT.

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Foreigner,

Not according to Professor Cummings at the University of Chicago. He is an author of 2 books entitled, "North Korea: Another Country” and “Inventing the Axis of Evil.”

Here's an excerpt of what he had to say on Democracy Now! (last Wednesday)

"We nearly had a war in 1994, which forced the United States to negotiate directly with North Korea. We had the Framework Agreement in 1994, which froze their plutonium reactor, kept it frozen for eight years. That was a great success, but the U.S. didn't hold up its side of the bargain to go ahead and normalize relations with North Korea, to provide light-water reactors as a substitute for the plutonium reactors, and eventually the North Koreans decided that we weren’t upholding the agreement, and they started their second enriched uranium program, thanks to A.Q. Khan from Pakistan. That was a failure."

Sorry. I thought the U.S. imposed sanctions, but it was the fact that they didn't provide light-water reactors (as agreed to) that caused the North Koreans to continue with their Uranium program.
There's always two sides of any story. Unfortunately, (and no offense) Americans usually only here their side.

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Furthermore, the fact that Pakistan (where A.Q. Khan lives) is considered an "ally" to the U.S. is extremely curious in my mind.
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Seems to me that the North Koreans were doing things in the late 90s to undermine trust, which was why the reactors weren't delivered. Here's at least one case where they refused to allow inspections of an underground facility:

http://cns.miis.edu/research/korea/uncover.htm

After exhaustive negotiations, they eventually allowed inspections, but only after demanding (and receiving) compensation. That shakedown was also a violation of the agreement, and heightened American suspicions of their good faith.

Finally, I don't think Pakistan is a terribly close American ally. Especially if the story is true that Musharraf had to threatened with "being bombed back to the stone age" in order to be brought on board after 9/11.

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Foreigner,

I did some more research and despite this speculation about the underground facility, the North Koreans were, indeed, complying with the 1994 agreement with the U.S.

"By October 1997, the spent fuel rods were safely encased in steel containers, under IAEA inspection. The reactor remained closed, construction on two other, larger reactors had stopped, and the reprocessing plant sat idle. After the spent fuel project was established, I went on to other work, leaving my memories locked away like a disturbingly vivid dream."

http://www.thebulletin.org/article.php?art_ofn=ja03alvarez

Interestingly, the Republican controlled congress were the ones that were holding things up with the funding to keep this 1994 agreement operational...

"However, the new, Republican-controlled Congress did not share our urgency, and congressional leaders made no secret of their desire to kill the Agreed Framework. Despite the unprecedented access we were given to the Yongbyon nuclear complex, Congress only grudgingly funded the spent fuel project, which cost about $20 million."

However, it seems it was the "cowboy diplomacy" of the disastarous Bush II administration -- once again -- that put things into "crisis mode" again. Remember the "axis of evil" speech? Heckuva job, George!!

"The Clinton policy of engagement was rejected by the new administration (which also sucker-punched South Korean President Kim Dae Jung and his "sunshine policy" at the same time). The administration insisted that bilateral talks with North Korea were out of the question because the United States would not give in to "nuclear blackmail." And until it agreed to meet with China and North Korea in late April, the administration was sticking to its guns, insisting that it was up to North Korea's neighbors to exert pressure on North Korea to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons."
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As for the Pakistan threat -- without threats and vetos, do you think the United States of America would have ANY allies these days?

LOL!!

Sorry, I'm not being ascerbic against you, Foreigner -- but C'mon!

Threats are the only thing the U.S. aeems to have in the way of diplomacy these days.
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Oh I see, STOP Ma, you're part of the "blame America first" crowd. Jeane Kirkpatrick gave a speech about you at the 1984 GOP convention. You really ought to go back and read it, because she was talking about people like you.

You're the sort who always defends the worst sort of dictators the world has to offer, and blames everything on the US of A. I'd compare you to Neville Chamberlain, but you actually sound more like Ramsey Clark.

BTW, I looked up your pal Prof Bruce Cumings (you spelled it wrong) The guy's a Fifth Columnist if there ever was one. As, it seems, are you.

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Tom the Redhunter,

Oh, there's plenty of blame to go around. However, when the media completely and conveniently "forgets" about the accountability of one party -- I feel the need to put some perspective on the whole thing.

You seem to be one in the "You're with us or you're against us" crowd. Well, with hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq due to this type of allegiance to recent U.S. propaganda, it's people like you who have been proven to be following the lies.
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Stop Ma,

Saw your comments last night, but couldn't reply because I was pretty tired.

I think it's pretty safe to say that conservatives were never enthusiastic about the 94 agreement. They didn't think that Kim would live up to his part of the bargain, and Kim's underground facility did nothing to dispell those suspicions. They DID regard the agreement as being nuclear blackmail, and I'm sure that many of them were reminded of the old American slogan, "Millions for defense; not one penny for tribute."

Also, I think, there were worries about the precedent being created. There are plenty of impoverished countries in this world, and it probably didn't seem like a good idea to give them all the notion they could get ransom money the same way from Uncle Sam.

Just a final word on the "sunshine policy". There may have been legitimate arguments in its favor, but the worst aspect of it was that the South Koreans sought to triangulate between North Korea and America.

It seems they forgot that America was their ally, and that allies don't enjoy being triangulated against. South Korea thereby damaged the strategic relationship they enjoyed with America, to the point that America announced complete withdrawl of its troops by 2009.

(I could be wrong on that last point, but I think I remember reading it in the Taipei Times a few weeks back in a piece by Richard Hallorann (sp?) from Hawaii.)

Interestingly enough, the China Post has proposed that a future Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou should create a "sunshine policy" of his own, and follow the South Korean strategy of triangulation.

http://foreignerinformosa.typepad.com/the_foreigner_in_formosa/2006/03/the_great_trian.html

I've blogged on this before, and I'll say it again: this would be an absolute disaster for Taiwan. It's one of the reasons that I, too, think Ma should be stopped. Because America will never be willing to stick its neck out for Taiwan if a Taiwanese president publically announces that America and China are morally equivalent, and a course ought to be charted between the two of them.

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Foreigner,

I appreciate your very thoughtful points!

I believe the whole PNAC zeitgeist of the Bush II era has been the biggest contributor for this situation getting out of control. It really is incredible how much George W. Bush and his crew have helped royally fuck up the world.

As for a Taiwanese "sunshine policy" -- I completely agree. Although, I think a more fitting description would be the "red-rain policy" -- considering PandaMa's competence and established loyalties.
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We're going to have to agree to disagree, because I actually put the blame on Kim Jong-il. Kim's responsible for his own behavior, including firing missiles near Japan, running gulags and smuggling heroin. North Korea makes China look like Switzerland in comparison.

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Foreigner,

I don't think we're "disagreeing" as much as you think. Of course the North Korean government is despicable in every sense of the word. That's not the point.

However, the actions of the Bush foreign policy has completely exasperated the situation. It was not "out of control" before the neocons took over.

You want to talk about "bad behaviour" -- I would put more emphasis on what has happened in recent world history. The Bush regime is responsible for 400,000 - 800,000 deaths in Iraq (and yes, the action of going to war illegally puts full responsibility on the U.S.). I would say that it is the U.S. government that makes North Korea look like Switzerland.

Of course, the "potential" for catastrophic destruction by North Korea is entirely possible with Kim at the helm. I just have to laugh in disblelief that when the only superpower in the world has already recently broken international law in perhaps multiple instances and is leaving the options open with respect to a nuclear attack on Iran -- the world STILL allows these crazies in Washington to have any moral authority at all with respect to geo-political issues.

Of course, it's not a question of "allowing" when your dealing with a superpower. I just wish people (including Americans that have not been fully indoctrinated) would remember this.
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