TITLE

Look Away

AUTHOR(S)
Kurlantzick, Joshua
PUB. DATE
December 2003
SOURCE
New Republic;12/15/2003, Vol. 229 Issue 24, p14
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The Bush administration's internecine squabbles over Iraq policy have gotten a lot of press, but no issue has divided its foreign policy team more than North Korea. For two years, engagers (who generally favor using diplomacy to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program) and hawks (who are suspicious of negotiations and believe rewarding North Korean leader Kim Jong Il could encourage other proliferators) were unable to resolve their differences. Now, administration spokespeople say, hawks and moderates have come together, throwing their weight behind multilateral negotiations with Pyongyang, which involve the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, and Russia. In truth, if there's any consensus within the administration, it's not about how to make progress but how to avoid it. Meanwhile, North Korea continues to work on its weapons program. In October, Bush for the first time announced that the United States, in conjunction with allies, would be willing to provide North Korea with a written security guarantee in exchange for verifiable nuclear disarmament--a significant shift from his previous insistence that the North had to fully dismantle its nuclear program before any kind of security deal could be reached. But, in reality, the base of support inside the U.S. government for the talks is narrow. All sides are working to ensure that the multilateral discussions go nowhere. And, in recent weeks, North Korean officials have more explicitly threatened to detonate one of their nuclear devices. A test could cause chaos in Northeast Asia, but even that might not snap the Bush administration out of its do-little approach.
ACCESSION #
11629671

 

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