By JOHN R. BOLTON
President George W. Bush is fond of comparing himself to Ronald Reagan. But as he meets with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Washington this week, his policy regarding North Korea's nuclear weapons program looks more like something out of Bill Clinton's or Jimmy Carter's playbook.
Last week in Singapore, U.S. chief negotiator Christopher Hill and his North Korean counterpart Kim Kye Gwan reached a deal that rests on trust and not verification. According to numerous press reports and Mr. Hill's April 10 congressional briefing, the U.S. will be expected to accept on faith, literally, North Korean assertions that it has not engaged in significant uranium enrichment, and that it has not proliferated nuclear technology or materials to countries like Syria and Iran.
Indeed, the North will not even make the declaration it earlier agreed to, but merely "acknowledge" that we are concerned about reports of such activities – which the United States itself will actually list. By some accounts, the North Korean statement will not even be public. In exchange for this utter nonperformance, the North will be rewarded with political "compensation" (its word): Concurrent with its "declaration," it will be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism and freed from the Trading With the Enemy Act.
President Bush has repeatedly told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley not to make him look weak on North Korea. If the president accepts the deal now on the table, things will be far worse than that.
Pyongyang's escape from accountability could break down international counter-proliferation efforts. What possible reason will Iran now have to be transparent about its nuclear activities? If North Korea can get away with deception and be rewarded, why should Iran not do the same? In Libya, Moammar Gadhafi will kick himself for giving up his nuclear weapons program in 2003. This deal with North Korea is troubling enough, but the worst news is still to come.
Last fall, President Bush rejected the idea of giving North Korea a pass on uranium enrichment and proliferation. Now, in the waning days of his term, he seems poised to accept it. If he does, and if this deal proceeds, we can well and truly say: "President Bush, you are no Ronald Reagan."
Ohhh just go & read the whole thing for yourself it's depressing enough to have to post it...
1) Bush's North Korea Capitulation