Saturday, October 06, 2007

Don't Trust Lame Duck Crooks To Protect This Country

The value of a phrase that fits exactly is displayed by op-ed writer Jim Hoagland this morning, and I want to point it out.

Why has a secretive government addicted to power politics and flexing its military muscles abruptly turned to negotiations and peaceful compromise? And why is North Korea doing the same?

Give credit where it's due. Hoagland capsulizes here the confrontation between two irrational, sabre-rattling, comic-book character regimes, in Washington and in Pyongyang.

North Korea has made another round of promises, including the intention of totally giving up its nuclear weapon arsenal. In fact, it has given up the ground it took after the existing treaty Clinton had made with them was vacated by this cabal now occupying our White House. The acceptance of diplomacy as the ends to achieve its means is somewhat surprising to those who've watched them throw out strategy and replace it with belligerence, throw out character and replace it with menace.

This deepens the Washington end of this great strategic mystery: Why is President Bush accepting the promises of a regime he has regularly excoriated -- at a time when officials in his administration make a credible case that North Korea has just been caught helping Syria with nuclear technology?

North Korea's desperation as its economy implodes and its people starve is clearly part of the answer. Pyongyang's plight has helped U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill get an agreement that he believes can be verified and enforced. Timing is also everything for Bush, who is reaching for diplomatic successes before his presidency ends.

While all the words are the right ones, the background to this agreement, however, is one of really dubious acceptance. From BBC the other day, the report I heard placed practically no importance on the present situation. And through all of the reports runs the thread that each previous milestone has given way to yet another desertion of the plateau reached. With Pyongyang as with Washington, the character of the occupant of high office has been proved to be lacking. Their words are not believable.

The fact that North Korea has indicated it wants the U.S. instead of the U.N. to conduct the inspection of its nuclear facilities when it has announced conditions have been met brings a real element of doubt. The evasions of N.Korea seem now to be moving to incorporate a reliance on Cretin-1's need to keep up pretense as part of its own plans.

A U.S.-led inspection would have much more credibility in Washington, the North Koreans indicated. They also want to move quickly -- that is, while Bush is still in office and can presumably beat back Republican opposition to the agreement.

So says Hoagland. That is one factor. Another, however, has to be that N. Korea sees the desperation of this cabal to produce something it can call a 'victory' - and relies on them to gloss over any little nasty details that don't fit what it wants to project.

The White House has really so completely given up any moral or ethical ground to stand on, its nature is pretty generally acknowledged even by those favorite objects of ridicule, the pundits. One op-ed writer who really doesn't deserve to be demeaned by the title of 'pundit', Eugene Robinson, called the cretin in chief's babblings over vetoing SCHIP "Bush's Veto Lies".

Basing its hopes on the executive branch's needs, N. Korea can depend on them once again to betray the U.S. for any factor that gives them a chance at the Legacy they are trying to create.

North Korea can trust this cabal much more than U.S. citizens can.

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