The pattern of decision making that led to this debacle–as described to me in recent interviews with key former administration officials who participated in the events–will sound familiar to anyone who has watched Bush and his cabinet in action. It is a pattern of wishful thinking, blinding moral outrage, willful ignorance of foreign cultures, a naïve faith in American triumphalism, a contempt for the messy compromises of diplomacy, and a knee-jerk refusal to do anything the way the Clinton administration did it.
Of particular note is that we totally reneged on our parts of the 1994 agreements shortly after they were signed. Oh, and Bush completely humiliated SK’s president. And Bush just fucking watched as they pulled the fuel rods out of storage to go reprocess them. Fucking goddamn moron.
As recently as last month, Dick Cheney traveled to Asia to talk with U.S. allies about how to deal with North Korea’s nukes. His campaign amounted to a one-note sonata–a renewal of Bush’s earlier pleas for a unified campaign to isolate North Korea in order to topple Kim Jong-il. The allies–South Korea, Japan, and China–have no interest in such a policy. They fear the possible consequences: an onslaught of refugees, a vacuum of power, or–the worst case–a ferocious lashing-out by Kim Jong-il in his final spasms of decline. China has become so agitated about the dangers–and America’s refusal to deal with them–that it has opened up an independent avenue of diplomacy, urging Kim Jong-il personally to break all precedents and take the first step in backing down.
Great, I’m going to wake up in a cold sweat some night.