Thursday, April 12, 2012

Obama’s deal with North Korea a disaster … His reaction, please don’t report on it

The Obama administration has just proven its utter failure in foreign policy.  It had negotiated an agreement with the North Korea that in exchange for food it would give up its uranium enrichment program, allow IAEA inspectors into the Yongbyong facilities, halt missile tests and cease nuclear weapons tests.  It is now 43 days since the agreement was inked and in that short period of time North Korea has announced plans to launch a satellite with missile based technology (a lightly veiled test of its long range Taepodong-2) and begun preparations for an underground nuclear detonation.  This sets the record for the shortest lived agreement yet.

The reaction from the White House?  Nothing.  Well, almost nothing.  It seems more concerned with negative press coverage than a rogue nation perfecting its long range ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads and threatening its neighbors.  This from the New York Times, datelined today.

The White House has urged media organizations not to overdo their coverage, saying it would give Pyongyang a propaganda victory. The satellite, one official said, was a “dishwasher wrapped in tinfoil.” But that has not stopped news organizations from sending correspondents to Pyongyang, where they have filed frequent reports on preparations.

The agreement was doomed to failure from the beginning and the administration knew it. Obama’s Defense Secretary Gates said in 2009, when asked about buying off North Korea with food, “We are tired of buying the same horse twice.”  But all Obama wanted was good behavior from Kim for 8 months until the election was over.  He reportedly attempted same thing with Netanyahu, when he pressured (unsuccessfully) the prime minister to make a commitment not to attack Iran before the election.  Short term palliatives don’t work. Kim knows that and he knows Obama won’t make tough decisive moves before the election. 

It is now open season for the rogue states of the world to misbehave.  And they are.  Aside from Kim thumbing his nose at Obama, Iran is playing a stalling game of go nowhere talks.  This does give the administration the opportunity to talk tough, really really, really tough.  But no one trusts the administration to back up its words with action, least of all the Israelis. 

Other notable foreign policy initiatives gone bad include Egypt where the administration is playing footsy with the military to keep a lid on, or at least delay until after our elections, a full Muslim Brotherhood takeover of all aspects of Egypt’s government. But instead, Khairat el-Shater’s has entered the presidential race, despite the Brotherhood’s insistence it wouldn’t field a candidate. Obama’s insistence on Mubarak’s ouster and the rise of a fundamentalist Islamic regime in Egypt has eerie parallels to Jimmy Carter’s treatment of the Shah in Iran.  And it will probably result in a theocratic regime, just as it did in Iran.  That’s not a pleasant prospect. And of course there is Afghanistan where Obama’s insistence on a “date certain” for withdrawal is the poison pill that guarantees failure.

Weakness does not win wars, nor does it lead to diplomatic victories.

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