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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Revolting against U.S. North Korea policy?

Reported as U.S. Diplomats Revolt Over Policy Toward North Korea.
Dr. C. Kenneth Quinones, who played a leading role as a State Department official in the successful negotiations which resulted in the "Agreed Framework" with North Korea in 1994, held an extraordinary forum on Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the newly created U.S.-Korea Institute at the School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. Quinones said that it was necessary for him to "go public" at this time, following the North Korean test of a nuclear device, with his role as a civilian "back channel" between the North Korean government and leading officials at the State Department from 2004 until very recently. He reported that during these past two years, he had succeeded, not just once, but three times, in finding a basis for agreement between the governments of these two nations to re-launch negotiations toward a peaceful solution to the crisis over the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

In each of these cases, Quinones said, actions by the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld leadership sabotaged the efforts by others within the Administration: The first time, Bush publicly said he "loathed" North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il, calling him a "tyrant," leading to a cancellation of the talks; the second time, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld pulled U.S. troops out of North Korea, where they had been working cooperatively with the North Korean Army for years, searching for the remains of U.S. soldiers from the Korean War, and deployed F-117 Stealth fighters into the region, again scuttling the planned talks; a third effort succeeded in bringing about talks which led to the highly promising Sept. 19, 2005 agreement to dismantle the North's nuclear weapons program in exchange for development aid and diplomatic respect, only to see the Administration order a reversal on the promise to help with peaceful nuclear power development the very next day after the agreement had been reached.
I don't know, but there seems to be something wrong when a lower level diplomat feels undercut by decisions made at the top of the food chain by the people responsible for the foreign policy. Even if he disagrees with those decisions, he is not in a position to make them for the elected leaders. If he felt that strongly, he should have resigned on the spot.

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