- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 16, 2006

Misreading North Korea

Michael O’Hanlon and his colleague Mike Mochizuki criticize the Bush administration’s policy on North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs for being more consumed with procedural questions than substance (“Preemption and North Korea,” Commentary, June 28). I respect both of them, but believe their assessment is wide of the mark.

In a study now being completed, GeoStrategic Analysis has examined North Korea’s negotiating strategy for the past few years. It conforms to an earlier assessment done by the president of the National Defense University, Lt. Gen. Michael Dunn, and presented at a 2005-2006 congressional seminar series.

The results are clear. Pyongyang first causes the appearance of “tensions” on the peninsula. They then blame the U.S. or the Republic of Korea or Japan for the tense situation. They then quickly argue that if the U.S. and its allies change their “aggressive” policy, all will be well. They claim a breakthrough is there for the taking. They next lay out an artificial deadline for the United States and its allies to meet and preconditions such as suspension of military exercises or removal of weapons from South Korea, (which they know in advance do not exist).

They move next to draw out the negotiations and front-load them with incessant demands of the United States and its allies. Then Pyongyang blames the protracted negotiations on the United States, Japan and South Korea. The following move is to demand major concessions for the United States’s supposed intransigence followed by further shrill demands for “compensation.” After all these steps are taken, they return to the beginning and start all over again.

There is an agreed framework in place. It was completed in June 2005. The North Koreans agreed to the outline of a deal but have resolutely refused to agree to implement steps to make the agreement a reality. The North has broken all of its pledges in the past, including the Agreed Framework, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the North-South Denuclearization Agreement, IAEA Safeguards Agreement and the Basic Agreement.

As for the much vaunted Agreed Framework, the North never agreed to methods of verification. The North complains about U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea, but there are none. It complains about United States nuclear modernization but it is the United States which has drastically reduced its nuclear weapons arsenal and moved to augment deterrence with missile defenses and greater conventional capability.

The North broke the Agreed Framework on its own through a covert uranium enrichment program, a program they initiated probably no later than 1997-1999, exactly the period in which the U.S. was making major financial and diplomatic concessions, including a visit by the secretary of state.

There are no “Bush administration hardliners” even though its critics have tried to manufacture them. The administration’s 2005 framework is perfectly sensible. Critics complain no nuclear reactors are part of the deal. But reactors make no sense because there is no proper electrical grid to which they could be connected. Withdrawing forces from the region — as some have pushed for — would be equally foolish, as it would weaken the deterrent against North Korean aggression.



GeoStrategic Analysis


Pakistan coddles Lashkar-e-Taiba

I fail to understand the purpose behind the call in the editorial “Terror in Bombay” (Wednesday) for Pakistan to help India identify and apprehend the perpetrators of the serial train bombings in Mumbai. For years, the tracks from virtually every terror attack in India have led back to jihadist groups based out of Pakistan. Yet these groups have continued to operate there with impunity. Why would Pakistan help India now?

Moreover, in this case, as the editorial notes, all initial signs point to the dreaded Pakistani jihadist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba. Despite being officially banned in Pakistan, this group is flourishing there under a new name, Jamat-ud-dawa. A few months back, the United States tagged the new Lashkar-e-Taiba fronts in its list of terrorist groups. Yet the government of Pakistan claimed that it was under no obligation to honor the American proscription of the Lashkar-e-Taiba fronts.

It must be noted that Lashkar-e-Taiba’s barbarism is not restricted to India. At least one of the London train bombers trained in a Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist camp. A whole slew of Lashkar-e-Taiba trainees have also been convicted of terrorism in Australia. Canadian media reports have linked the ringleader of the recently arrested Toronto jihadist cell to Lashkar-e-Taiba. Coalition forces in Iraq have also arrested several members who joined the jihadist forces to kill American troops.

In this context, it is puzzling that the United States is tolerating the continuing Pakistani inaction on Lashkar-e-Taiba. Just days ago, Pakistani media reported that Lashkar-e-Taiba’s chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed addressed a massive rally just outside Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, calling for violent jihad in India, Afghanistan and Iraq “until the infidels are defeated.” Pakistani condemnation of the train bombings has little meaning when we see these reports clearly indicating the substantial state tolerance the group still enjoys in Pakistan.

Clearly, Pakistan’s coddling of these terrorists shows that it is still walking on both sides of the street in the war on terror. It is time the United States, Britain and leading world nations join India in pressuring Pakistan to end its tolerance of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The continued operation of the group in Pakistan poses a grave threat to the world. A free terrorist anywhere is a threat to free people everywhere.


Philadelphia, Pa.

Rewarding illegality

The article, “Senate denies funds for new border fence,” (Page 1, Friday) illustrates why there will never be a compromise between the immigration legislation of the Senate and the House.

The Senate wants amnesty for illegal aliens and will promise anything to achieve its primary goal, while the House is speaking for most Americans by demanding concrete steps to secure the border and crack down on employers who hire the illegals — before they will commit to any steps necessary to give illegal aliens the means to legally remain here.

The public clearly does not trust President Bush or the Senate, who both espouse rewards of legalization, without a firm resolve to prevent more illegal immigration. Nearly every poll reflects the attitude that any comprehensive approach to solving illegal immigration must start with enforcement in the workplace and at the border.


San Diego

Correcting the Pickett record

Peter Cliffe speaks admiringly of Confederate Gen. George Pickett in his article “Pickett’s Charge a gallant failure” (The Civil War, Saturday). While I am sure that Pickett had many fine qualities, I would like to expand on the historical record of his performance during the Civil War.

Pickett’s reputation has survived through the years as a result of essentially “lost cause” literature that emphasizes his accomplishments while conveniently bypassing problem issues. In his article, Mr. Cliffe relates only one side of the discordant relationship between Pickett and his commander, Gen. Robert E. Lee. For example, Lee was often chagrined by Pickett’s failure to conduct himself responsibly and reliably while in command of troops. One of Lee’s guiding principles was, “I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.” This serves well as a description of the Lee-Pickett relationship.

In notable instances while in a command position, Pickett failed to accomplish the objectives set forth — including at New Berne in 1864 and Five Forks in 1865, not to mention at Gettysburg. Rather than face up to his shortcomings, Pickett characteristically sought to place blame on others. In exasperation, Lee finally dismissed the inept general from the army.

While Mr. Cliffe has every right to admire Pickett, a more complete biographical description injects a measure of objectivity into the story.


Bethany Beach, Del.

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