June 8, 2009

Kissinger commentary on North Korea

Posted: 09:14 AM ET

By Henry Kissinger, Former U.S. Secretary of State

The Obama administration entered office determined to give negotiations with North Korea every opportunity. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted that she was seriously considering a visit to Pyongyang. Stephen Bosworth, a distinguished scholar and moderate diplomat, was appointed principal negotiator.

These overtures were vituperatively rejected. Pyongyang refuses to return to the negotiating table and has revoked all its previous concessions. It has restarted the nuclear reprocessing plant it had mothballed and has conducted nuclear weapons and missile tests. It has said the Korean Armistice Agreement of 1953 no longer applies.

he explanation for this may lie in a domestic struggle for succession to the clearly ailing "Dear Leader," Kim Jong Il. North Korea's leaders also seem to have recognized that no matter how conciliatory U.S. diplomacy, its goal of the abandonment of North Korea's nuclear weapons capability cannot be accepted. They apparently have concluded that no degree of political recognition could compensate them for abandoning the signal (and probably sole) achievement of their rule, for which they have obliged their population to accept unprecedented oppression. They may well calculate that weathering a period of international protest is their ticket to emerging as a de facto nuclear power.

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Filed under: International

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Michael C. McHugh   June 8th, 2009 9:27 am ET

I think it's time for the US to go on record as favoring reunification of Korea, and try to get as many neighbors as possible on board with that idea. This division has gone on for over 60 years and that's far too long. I think these should be talks on reunification, which should take place within a regional framework for economic development and security. Let's see how the North reacts to that idea.

Terry, TX   June 8th, 2009 9:45 am ET

This is Obama's baby....they go's on his watch....these things should be taken out. Diplomacy, negotiations....and the fact they didn't get the hope and change memo...will not work.

N Korea smells blood in the water...weak and indecisiveness has led to this......they are like hyenas on a piece of dead meat....and they are feeding off the carcass of this administration.

Ted   June 8th, 2009 1:57 pm ET

Terry, Tx,
I read your brainless comments, so you want us to wipe them out! Really? NK has over a million soldiers under arms, well trained who can survive on a handful of rice a day. So we hit them and destroy their facilities, in return they march across the border and take the south in a week or two. We bombed Iraq, yet could never conquer it and they had only a fraction of weapons facing us. Just remember, we couldn´t beat them 55 years ago, the war was a draw, why do you think we can do it now? We can´t even take Afghanistan where we do not face an Army, only a bunch of unhappy tribesmen.
People like you will be the end of our country, we have war after war, and I must say, unjust wars. How long can we keep it up until foreign armies crush us. The roman empire was the mightiest in the history of mankind and at the end they were conquered by primitive riding hordes. A victory or defeat is decided by the infantry, not missiles and warplanes, and we lost every war in Asia. Remember Viet-Nam?

Rose   June 8th, 2009 2:16 pm ET

North Korea performed nuclear testing since 2006 – on Bush's watch. Bush basically did nothing. Instead he turned his attention to Iran. As of November 2007 the NIE – United States National Intelligence Estimate judged that Iran halted an active nuclear weapons program in 2003. Their status now is unclear – as they have nuclear technology for energy usage but not necessarily weapons of mass destruction. Bush kept discussing the "Iranian threat" – when Iran was not the country testing weapons – North Korea was – they were the "immediate" threat.

Obama now must address an issue that was neglected by the Bush Administration for 3 years. As Kissinger noted, China and Russia are key to this issue as well.

Rose   June 8th, 2009 2:36 pm ET

Ted: I completely agree with you. Brute force by the US has led to disasters everywhere. There has been no success. Terry in Texas' comments are a barometer of the uninformed voice in America. No in-depth understanding of what is occurring – no perspective, no knowledge of history or US foreign policy in the least (cause and effect). Misplaced patriotism based on prejudiced gut reactions rather than fact. A true redneck approach that supported Bush and his uber-destructive, failed policies (and lies) – and worse – still promoting a continuation of them.

Dodie - California   June 8th, 2009 8:23 pm ET

@ Rose

You are absoutely correct. The first North Korean nuclear test on 9 October 2006 was detected immediately by the CTBTO’s seismic stations. The second test was in 2007. And the third test is 2009. So the first two Nuclear tests were on Bush's watch! Personally, I am glad we are not getting involved. China will assert its power if the DPRK gets out of hand. I live in California and I am not worried. If they send nukes up in the air, Both China and the USA not to mention Japan will blow it up long before it re-enters into our atmosphere. I am much more concerned about over population, water shortage in southern California, etc.

Dave of Detroit   June 8th, 2009 10:02 pm ET

Whether anyone is aware of it or not, all of the missile firings and underground tests were a result of the satelite shot protests and U.S. and South Korean "Naval" exercises that looked like a Naval blockade to the North Koreans. They even moved their missile launchers to the east bank so they could be used to target the ships in the "Naval" exercise. Not one news agency actually made mention of the Exercises-it just kind of got mentioned in passing a few times. Basically, all of the past Missile firings that landed near Japan got a few people in high places a bit ticked and we did respond and North Korea did not like our response. The real intriguing question is the complete silence of China on the matter, Russia has also been silent. The US has been silent on public broadcasts-the only ones making any noise are the North Koreans!

Rose   June 9th, 2009 11:23 am ET

It was reported recently that North Korea is claiming it is conducting nuclear tests in self-defence, accusing the US of planning a "pre-emptive strike" to oust the regime of its leader, Kim Jong Il. The US denies this.

Of course, it is expected that NK will says what it will, but the excuse of self-defense per a pre-emptive strike is another ghost of the so-called "Bush Doctrine" – now being used by North Korea – as the Bush Administration set a very bad example by exerting a pre-emptive strike against Iraq – claiming self-defense for America, from Iraq (proven false as there was no link between Iraq and 9/11).

This circular nightmare is an example of the abuse of bad Bush policies. What goes around, comes around. Abuse returns more abuse.

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