9/19/2005

The Korea Deal

For years I've been reading the critics of President Bush slam him for refusing to engage in direct talks with the North Korean government. They've derided his decision to decline following the Clinton administration in drafting unenforceable agreements that the Kim regime ignored without consequence.

Today comes news that, in the six nation talks held in China, the North Koreans have agreed to give up their nuclear weapons program. While any agreement they make is subject to doubt pending verification, this is certainly good news. For one of the most unstable world leaders in history to have his hands on nuclear bombs is frightening indeed. It seems like the combination of carrots and sticks, while perhaps not an appetizing salad, has made for a diplomatic breakthrough.

I think the real genius of the Bush approach was to strong-arm China into helping make his argument. China is probably the only nation on earth with any real pull with North Korea, and their involvement was crucial in reaching this accord--and will be crucial in making it stick. Somehow I get the feeling that while nothing is being said about it publicly, the meeting between President Bush and President Zemin of China at the UN last week put the final touches on what we saw announced this morning.

There is still work to be done, but as with Libya's decision to give up their WMD program, the world is a safer place because of it. Bush will probably never get full credit for his successes around the world, but there have been many...and this could be the biggest one yet.

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