Thursday, March 18, 2004

The Carrot And The Stick

Today's Times editorializes that the Bush Administration must do more than participate in regional conferences with North Korea, where nothing seems to be achieved, and must outline what it will offer to North Korea if that nation abandons its nuclear weapons program. A similar approach seems to have worked with Libya, although Libya's weapons program was nowhere near as advanced as North Korea's, and Libya seemed far more eager to reintegrate into the world economy.

There is some truth to what the editorial suggests - catching more flies with sugar, and all that. But isn't that more or less what Clinton attempted - securing promises from North Korea that it would freeze its nuclear weapons program in exchange for international aid? And what was the result again? Oh yes - North Korea accepted the aid, told its people that it was tribute paid by a cowardly and decadent West, and continued its weapons programs.

A diplomatic solution would be wonderful - but such solutions require some level of integrity on both sides. And there is little evidence of the necessary integrity on the part of North Korea.


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