Several sources from the State Department, CIA, DoD and the White House confirmed that the administration was moving forward on formally asking Congress to remove North Korea from the controversial watch list.Let me get this straight.
This is seen as a key confidence building step by North Korea and China in moving towards North Korea's eventual return to the nuclear non-proliferation club.
When Bush took office, one of the first things he did was to cancel the North Korean fuel deal that Clinton had instigated. Clinton's deal was to assist North Korea with fuel shipments as they moved off their nuclear program.
Of course to no one's surprise except maybe the Bush Administration, Kim Jong-il immediately let the world know that he had restarted his nuclear program and even boasted that he would develop long range missiles capable of reaching North America.
Then six months after 911, Bush got to read Frum's infamous Axis of Evil speech, explaining to Americans that the world was full of threatening evil doers, like North Korea. Of course failing to mention that it was his move back in 2000 that recreated this particular threat.
And I know that he forgot to mention a lot of other stuff too, but this post is about how North Korea defeated the Bush administration.
Meanwhile Kim set off his first nuclear weapon and even tested some long range missiles. At the time if you recall, Fox and CNN were both calling for the administration to respond. There were even calls to invade the North Koreans.
"Why are we invading a country that might have weapons of mass destruction and ignoring one that does. A country that claims they can actually reach the US with a strike" was the rhetoric at the time.
I have no doubt that Kim Jong-il is despicable tyrant. But when it comes to foreign policy, and strategic public relations, he is miles ahead of the Bush administration.
And as much as I have somewhat guiltily enjoyed watching him rub it in Bush's face over the past 8 years, his moves opened the door for other nations like Iran, to push their own nuclear objectives.
Uranium enrichment becomes a much easier option to sell to a fearful population if you can demonstrate that it is best line of defense against an unprovoked attack by the US.
Meanwhile instead of accepting a quiet, American face saving resolution that was being brokered by China, it sounds like Kim is holding out for the official removal from the Axis of Evil list. One last insult to the insolent American president.
Game, set, match.As stated by the Washington Note, there could still be a last minute intervention by Cheney to block the request. But either way it appears that Kim gets to claim victory.
The only good thing about this for Americans is that they only have six more months to suffer their despicable leader. Tragically, the North Koreans are not so fortunate.