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Bush's new faith-based North Korean nuclear proliferation policy

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By See-Dubya  •  April 17, 2008 08:30 PM

I’m all for faith-based initiatives. But…not for nuclear proliferation:

The White House this morning said their requirements for a full declaration from North Korea on nuclear weapon activities no longer includes proliferation activities, one day before President Bush meets with the South Korean president at Camp David.

North Korea is suspected of helping Syria build a nuclear facility for the purpose of building a weapon, and Israel’s top-secret aerial bombing raid into Syria last year is thought to have been aimed at this facility.

But this morning, Mr. Wilder said that proliferation is “being handled in a different manner” than the main declaration, which led him to pronounce himself optimistic about a full declaration.

“We have every indication that the North will comply with its obligations,” Mr. Wilder said.

John Bolton is quoted there as well, justifiably outraged at what he says is an administration in “full retreat”. He saw this coming a few days ago, and called out his former boss in a must-read op-ed in the WSJ:

In dealing with the Soviet Union on arms control, Reagan was famous for repeating the Russian phrase, “Doveryai, no proveryai” (trust, but verify). Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev reportedly once complained to Reagan, “You use that phrase every time we meet.” To which Reagan smilingly replied, “That’s because I like it so much.”

This administration appears to have forgotten that concept altogether.

…the U.S. will be expected to accept on faith, literally, North Korean assertions that it has not engaged in significant uranium enrichment, and that it has not proliferated nuclear technology or materials to countries like Syria and Iran.

J-Bo lays out the international security consequences of this quite starkly. It’s terrifically damaging to the U.S. credibility to enter a pact like this based on a transparent and obvious lie. The story about the Israeli strike was that North Korea had given Syria nuclear technology. If they didn’t, who did?

And to be petty and political for a second–what a stinky little political football to punt in an election year. If I were a Democratic strategist I’d be raising hell about this (while not mentioning the Agreed Framework and trying to ignore the fact that this is exactly what their candidates would do.) This undoes any goodwill and confidence the new WMD retaliation policy might have established.

Well, I guess we can say this about Bush: he’s certainly not obsessing over his legacy during his final year, that’s for sure.

Allah-style exit question: Did anyone happen to find that missing North Korean freighter yet? If you see it, you might tell somebody. I trust it had nothing to do with proliferation, of course…but we might want to verify.

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ADDENDUM: As I wrote this, look what hit the wires: Condi doing damage control.

Rice is promising that any admission Pyongyang makes will be rigorously verified, and that there would be consequences later if North Korean cheating is discovered.