Thursday, January 30, 2003

A large reason is that we simply do not understand North Korea very well. As Ambassador Donald Gregg has said, "North Korea is the longest running intelligence failure in U.S. history." We simply do not have a very good understanding of how decisions are made, who makes them and why.
Amen! Of course this doesn't give most of the pundits, politicians, and others in this town even the slightest bit of pause.
President Bush was correct in his judgment that the North Korean regime is part of an "axis of evil" and that Kim Jong-il eminently deserves to be loathed for his despicable treatment of his people. North Korea is a very sad place and we would all be much better off if the regime did not exist.

Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen tomorrow or anytime soon. Disliking North Korea is an attitude, not a policy. As William Perry stated in his report, "We need to treat North Korea as it is, not as we would like it to be." That means we need to put aside an ideological approach, determine our most pressing national security concerns, and then try to capture them by engaging with North Korea.
This is easier said than done, particularly when given the caveat noted above.

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