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Bolton drops A-bomb on Bush’s North Korea deal

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By See-Dubya  •  June 30, 2008 12:10 AM

North Korea blew up the cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear plant the other day. This was in response to a Bush administration diplomatic initiative which offered to remove the DPRK from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Like Bryan Preston, I’ve been waiting for John Bolton’s reaction to the deal. It came out tonight in the Wall Street Journal.

Short version: he’s not happy.

In the waning days of American presidencies, this theater is the stuff of legacy.

North Korea has consecutively broken every major agreement with the U.S. since the North’s creation. The Bush administration provides no reason why this one will not be added to that long list except the audacity of hope. Where have we heard that recently? Barack Obama and John Kerry both announced support for the deal, and Mr. Obama said he intended to apply Bush’s policy to other rogue states, thus confirming the early start of the Obama administration.

The Feb. 13, 2007, agreement states explicitly that North Korea was to provide “a complete declaration of all nuclear programs” within 60 days. This it manifestly did not do, either in timing or substance.

And thus the faith-based non-proliferation policy becomes law. For good or for ill, this will be an important part of the Bush administration’s legacy.

I predict it will rank right up there with Clinton’s decision to pardon Marc Rich.

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One quibble with all this: does North Korea sponsor terrorism? I’m not sure that they do. One of our nightmares was that they would sell the fruits of Yongbyon to Syria…which they did…or to Al Qaeda, which I hope they haven’t (but they’re supposed to tell us if they did.)

But I’m not sure that they actually sponsored terrorists, in the way that–say the Taliban sponsored Al Qaeda or Iran sponsors Hezbollah. (They did provide weapons to Syria and Iran–which are state sponsors of terrorism, as opposed to terrorists. )

Should that matter? It was clearly the closest diplomatic club at hand to hit North Korea with, and if it provided a legal means of pressure on them, it was probably a defensible choice. So does anybody care whether they actually sponsored terrorists or not?

UPDATE: In the comments, Tantor has an answer for me:

Yeah, North Korea sponsored terrorists and used terrorism as part of its foreign policy. For example, Kim Jong Il sent North Korean suicide bombers to blow up Korean Air Lines Flight 858 on November 29, 1987. That terror attack is what placed North Korea on the list of terror sponsors. The surviving bomber, a twentysomething woman named Kim Hyun Hui, wrote a book about her experience, “The Tears Of My Soul.”

That followed a 1970 skyjacking of a JAL airliner to Pyongyang by Japanese Red Army terrorists, where North Korea granted them asylum.

North Korean commandoes attacked the South Korean president’s palace in 1968. In 1972, North Korea tried to kill the South Korean president again with a bomb which detonated prematurely in a cemetery the President was scheduled to visit.

In 1974, the South Korean First Lady, Yook Young-soo, was shot dead by a North Korean assassin who was gunning for her husband, President Park Chung-hee, at an independence day celebration held at the National Theater in Seoul.

North Korea attempted to assassinate the South Korean President again in Rangoon in 1983, missing him again but killing his staff. A camera caught the carnage, which you can watch here.

All these terror attacks come on top of the constant commando infiltrations and attacks constantly mounted by North Korea on the South.

So, yeah, North Korea not just sponsored terror, but terror was a way of life for North Korea.

Okey dokey, then.

Tantor’s blog is here. He seems to know a thing or two about a thing or two.

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{Post by See-Dubya}

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