Three years after Stalinist North Korea boasted of their uranium nuclear weapons program, the Stalinists won practically everything they wanted in the latest agreement at the six-party talks on said nuclear weapons program. I use the word “latest” because the agreement itself was so vague and broad they’ll need another round of talks in two months to iron out the particulars. To give an idea of how thin this “agreement” is, the Washington Post reported that the Stalinist demand for a civilian nuclear reactor before they completely dismantled their nuclear arsenal is not a violation of the deal, contrary to numerous reports. In actuality, each participant “could offer its own interpretation of the sequencing” of events (i.e., what comes first, the benefits to the Stalinist regime or the end of the regime’s nuclear weapons).
Obviously, this “agreement” isn’t really much of one, but it does represent something much more important: the complete diplomatic surrender of the Bush Administration to the Stalinist position. As Jim Robbins of National Review Online put it, “our negotiators seem to have beaten the North Koreans down to accepting what they originally proposed.”
The Stalinists came to the table demanding the U.S. normalize relations, provide energy assistance and/or economic aid, and promise not to use military force against them. They got an electricity offer from South Korea large enough to light up the entire North, and a promise from the U.S. to take normalization steps (CNN). Meanwhile, the Administration effectively ruled out liberation as an option for the long-suffering people of northern Korea. As for the civilian nuclear reactor, the agreement says the issue would be discussed “at an appropriate time.” For the Stalinists, that’s today. For the Administration, that’s November. For the rest of us, that’s a distinction without a difference.
In the meantime, Stalinist-in-chief Kim Jong-il has had three years to establish and build his nuclear arsenal. More importantly, he has also had time to hide both the arsenal and the program that created them from future prying eyes. In fact, this “agreement” may be a sign that the Stalinists are now fully confident in their ability to hide their nuclear weapons from international inspectors.
The American progression from tough talk to weak words has been painful to watch. In 2002, the U.S. called for the Stalinists to completely dismantle their nuclear program before any aid would be sent. Now, the Stalinists only have to promise the dismantling. Then, the U.S. ruled out any pledge forswearing liberation. Now, they have effectively ruled out liberation. Then, the idea of the Stalinists getting the light-water nuclear reactors from the 1994 Agreed Framework fiasco was laughable. Now, it’s just a matter of “appropriate time.”
So, in exchange for two million kilowatts of electricity and heaven knows how much economic aid, a de facto promise that no one will try to knock over their regime, and a future civilian nuclear reactor, all the Stalinists had to do was promise to live up to their 1994 promise to live up to their 1985 promise to be a nuclear-free state – to be verified by an organization (the International Atomic Energy Agency) that couldn’t find Tehran’s nuclear weapons program for years (Washington Post: link archived). Whatever this is, it certainly isn’t a diplomatic triumph for the Bush Administration.
Critics on the President’s “left” will claim he could have made this agreement years ago and that it’s not very much different from Clinton’s 1994 disaster, and they’ll be right: this deal is largely Agreed Framework redux. Defenders of the President will insist that bringing Communist China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea to the table will make all the difference, and they, too, will be right, but not for the reason they think. The presence of the other parties does make this situation different – only it is now infinitely worse. It has added Communist China – a regime that has no interest in helping us, and every interest in protecting its Stalinist ally – as a participant, and given them a vested interest in preserving the deal – in particular the American obligations within it – no matter what Kim Jong-il does.
This brings us to the underlying flaw in this entire episode: the assumption that Communist China is helping the U.S. solve this problem. Lest we forget, Stalinist North Korea would not exist today but for Communist China – the oldest and most consistent ally the Stalinists have. In fact, Communist China sold its Stalinist ally tributyl phosphate – a chemical essential both to making plutonium and weaponizing uranium – mere months after Kim’s lackeys admitted to the uranium-based weapons program in 2002. Less than a month ago, the Communist-owned Bank of China was exposed having links to rackets in drugs and counterfeiting which were “helping to finance Pyongyang's nuclear program” (BBC).
To expect Communist China to help us make North Korea behave is a mistake that stems from a deeper and even more dangerous error: the belief that “engaging” Communist China will lead to peace, freedom, and stability. Communist China’s long history of ties to terrorism should be enough to disabuse Americans of that notion; sadly, many in this country are still unaware. As a result, there has been little or no pressure on the Bush Administration to take and hold a hard line on Communist China and its Stalinist allies, and that political vacuum was a major reason for this week’s “agreement” debacle.
The consequences of this “agreement” will be far, wide, and very damaging. Certainly, the Khomeinist regime in Iran (another beneficiary of Communist China’s military and nuclear aid) will take note of the Stalinists’ ability to win concession after concession from the U.S. So will Syria, Zimbabwe, the Sudan, and every other regime that is oppressing its own people. A quest for nuclear weapons and support from Communist China won Stalinist North Korea a complete diplomatic surrender from the United States. The forces of dictatorship, terror, and repression were watching, and learning. The lessons from this could be catastrophic for the United States and the free world.
I have said it before, and I will say it again: America will never be secure until China is free. There is no better example of this than the past week’s events. Without the Chinese Communist Party, there is no North Korea, no Stalinist famine, no nuclear weapons program, no blackmail, and no surrender. Until this is recognized, Communist China and Stalinist North Korea will continue to make false deal like this on with the United States while they plot against it. The Bush Administration, which has been so determined to end tyranny in Central and Western Asia, has become far too tolerant of it in Eastern Asia. With that tolerance comes great peril.