Dear Leader did it.
With a little help from his Chinese friends, North Korea's lunatic-in-chief, Kim Jong-il, has outsmarted and successfully blackmailed an embattled Bush administration.
The phased denuclearization deal is a cruel joke--on the United States. In return for shutting down and sealing its main nuclear reactor and related facilities at Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, within 60 days, the secretive Stalinist/Kimist regime will receive initial aid equal to 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil. For permanently disabling the reactor and declaring all nuclear programs dead, the North will eventually receive another 950,000 tons in aid. The total is worth $250 million.
Not too shabby. The US gets to claim a victory for the cause of nuclear disarmament, as opposed to mere nuclear arms control; and North Korea gets desperately needed aid in order to survive--Kim's paramount goal--and time to hedge its bets. The phony-fuel-for-nukes deal lends itself to cheating as North Korea boasts a multitude of tunnels and secret facilities for hiding weapons.
At the end of the day, the agreement again proves that notwithstanding its huffing and puffing, the US can be played and tricked and eventually worn down--and beaten--at the bargaining table.
Iran must be encouraged. Its nuclear tag-team partner has shown the way--with Chinese guidance and support. (And China's ally, Iran, also has Russian backing in its nuclear standoff!)
Experts agree that North Korea has refined enough plutonium to make from four to 13 nuclear bombs. There is still no reason to believe that the regime intends to relinquish all its nuclear weapons, especially in light of its success in using them as leverage to extract aid and respect.
On the contrary, we expect that Pyongyang will exploit the agreement in order to advance toward its main, long-term foreign policy aims: ending the US military presence on the Korean peninsula and reunifying with South Korea--on North Korean terms.
The agreement is a feather in the cap for the lead US negotiator, the appeasement oriented Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, who can be congratulated for never once deviating from his studied and annoying practice of always referring to the monstrous North Korean regime by its formal initials, DPRK. Not for nothing do critics call him "Kim Jong-Hill."
His nuclear deal with Pyongyang ignores its formidable biological, chemical, and missile programs, But those issues were never on the table.
They will instead be handed off to the next US administration.
And so it goes.