Wednesday, October 18, 2006
As the World Turns: Carter, Nunn, and North Korea
Look on your desk and find your globe. Go ahead, give it a spin or two. Thanks to either lousy diplomacy or no diplomacy by the Bush administration, chances are no matter where your globe stops, it will land on a trouble spot for the United States.
The Middle East is self-explanatory. Iraq, Iran.......we're already in the middle of a hornets nest there. In Venezuela, we have a Castro-styled dictator in Hugo Chavez that revels in poking his thumb in the eye of Uncle Sam. And don't look now, but the Taliban is making a comeback in Afghanistan.
Then, there's North Korea.
All of my life, I've heard differing opinions on what part of the world represented the biggest threat to world peace. And I think 80% of them pointed towards, not the Middle East, but to the Korean peninsula. Opinions don't matter very much right now. Because not only has North Korea improved its missile technology, it's also now detonating nuclear devices.
Given the Bush team's failures in other parts of the world, perhaps they would do well to listen to two men proven to be successful diplomats and globally respected for their knowledge and devotion to world peace. Yesterday, two sons of Georgia, former President Jimmy Carter and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn called for "direct dialogue" with the North Koreans.
In the past, the Bush administration has steadfastly refused to have direct talks with Pyongyang. They preferred multilateral discussions (notice any inconsistencies here?) with China more or less leading the way. Meanwhile, North Korea continues to follow through on more missile testing and more nuclear testing.
Well, how's that working for you?
At the Carter Center last night, President Carter said that he believed that we are not close to war because we're less likely to attack a nuclear North Korea (maybe Secretary Albright was right about who we choose to threaten and who we choose to invade, and how we come to that decision). During Bush's time in office, we've brandished threats and sanctions from across the ocean at the PRK. If they knew what they were doing, they would have known that the North Koreans don't respond to those kinds of tactics. Now that they are testing nuclear weapons, Carter believes we have no choice but to enter bilateral discussions with them, which worked 12 years ago when Jimmy and Rosalynn held hands and walked across the DMZ.
Senator Nunn, speaking at a University of Georgia symposium on nuclear energy and safety said that we've been "too rigid" on North Korea. He agrees with Carter that we now must have direct talks with Pyongyang.
Nunn went on to point out that even during the Cold War, we talked to our enemy. Who knows what kinds of events that kind of diplomacy headed off? Perhaps if we hadn't been willing to negotiate with the Soviets, we wouldn't be here today.
Will the Bush administration heed Carter and Nunn? I really don't know. It seems that when given a choice, they make the wrong decision every time.