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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 10:22 AM
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So Many Policy Failures, So Little Time
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/015420.php

So Many Policy Failures, So Little Time
07.16.07 -- 9:59AM
By Josh Marshall

The first thing to say on North Korea is that it's very good news that the North Koreans have again shut down the Yongbyon nuclear reactor. This is the facility that has been the center of nearly all the trouble over more than a decade now. And the IAEA has now confirmed that the plant has been taken off line, though negotiations will now begin on securing a more permanent shuttering of the facility. The Times calls the deal a "hard-won, yet fragile diplomatic victory for the Bush administration."

And so it is, sort of.

But here's the thing no one should forget: it's taken the Bush administration six-plus years to get things to where the Clinton administration had them when Bush took office.

Let's review: the Clinton administration had a deal with the North Koreans in which the US -- actually a consortium of the US and its allies -- gave fuel oil and a promise of diplomatic normalization for the North Koreans to shutter their plutonium-producing nuclear facility. The Bush team called this appeasement and set-up deliberately scuttling that deal, which indeed happened. The North Koreans proceeded to get back into plutonium production big time. And it's now assumed that they made a few actual weapons with the stuff. Realizing that they'd shot their mouth off with no idea what an alternative policy might be for the Korean Peninsula, they eventually started creeping their way back to the Clinton policy, to which point they have now arrived.

So, back to where we started, only now the North Koreans probably have several nuclear warheads instead of what was probably none in early 2001.

Yes, there are some jots and tittles and an endless amount of trying to find meaningless differences to distinguish their approach from the Clinton approach. But there's no getting around it: this is the Clinton policy. Indeed, it was also the Powell policy. And it was the policy of most people who had any sense. But it wasn't the Cheney/Kristol/AEI/PNAC policy. And now the whole exercise of six wasted years has to be chalked up as another of those mind-numbingly stupid Bush policy failures that would be funny if so much hadn't been (and continues to be) on the line.

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