Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Teeth of Diplomacy

Condoleezza Rice’s response to several Republican Representatives concerned about American negotiations with North Korea was that she was “using the teeth of diplomacy, not just the carrots.” (article)

After commercial satellite photos showing the beginnings of a possible nuclear reactor in Syria were released and circulated, some of the more hawkish and conservative members of congress accused Rice of valuing diplomatic negotiations with North Korea over our national security. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida wrote an opinion article, criticizing the administration for continuing negotiations and accusing the administration of creating a “veil of secrecy” around the Israeli airstrike issue.

A nascent Syrian nuclear program does not pose an immediate threat, and there is no need to call of negotiations because of it. It is quite obvious that Israel will not let the program grow enough to become a threat.

Both Rice (finally) and Christopher Hill understand that negotiating with North Korea is not going to be a zero-sum-game. If North Korea is responsible for Syria’s nascent nuclear reactor then that means that negotiations will be more difficult, not that negotiations should be called off. The most important time to talk and negotiate with North Korea is when it is behaving in a way in which we do not approve. Condemning North Korea for its actions and calling off negotiations is a juvenile and ineffective policy. What will it lead to? Diplomatically condemning North Korea’s actions in negotiations (with our big teeth) and having our top diplomats consistently and strongly offering it carrot after carrot is a proactive policy that could possibly to lead to a nuclear free North Korea.

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