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March 05, 2004



Aww, come on, Tom. Thats a cheap shot.


A cheap shot? Hardly. A vile adversary -- North Korea -- understandably prefers the US adopt a foolish and already failed policy more to its liking than the current one. Kerry makes noises supportive of same. And if you don't think that NoKo and other rogue states fear Bush and would prefer Kerry (if only on the basis that he couldn't be any worse for them than Bush), you're simply ignoring reality and common sense. Iranian mullahs and North Korean despots understand that American tenacity and seriousness are big problems for them -- and if they expect Kerry would be less tenacious or serious, they may be wrong, but it's a rational calculation, and one that makes the challenger clearly preferrable to the incumbent. Personally I'm not aware of any evidence that casts doubt on their expectations, but I'm always looking to learn.

Meanwhile, the CSM item is astounding, and unsurprising. They say we just don't know whether an approach that's proven to be a failure (bilateral talks, sweet deal) is better than a more careful and more comprehensive strategy. While they're at it, why don't they lay out a strategy to return to the Oslo Accords ...... geez.


I'm going to have to ride with Tex on this one - it's definitely a cheap shot. We will have our fun!

Now, I also suspect that the North Koreans might well prefer Kerry (hard to believe they are totally indifferent), and I don't understand why Kerry supports multilateral action everywhere except N Korea, but so what - Kerry is advocating what he no doubt thinks is best for America, and he may be right (reasonable minds differ).

The question is not what is best (or worst) for the other guy - it's what is best for the US. We need to break out of stale, zero-sum strategies and look for a win-win.

Or something. Anyway, my Kerryesque view of my original post - saying "North Korea supports Kerry's view, that means Kerry is a loser" is a cheap shot; explaining why Kerry's view will not work as well as Bush's in advancing US interests would be meaningful, but who has time?

And what's cooler than cool?

Tom Bowler

"In the past few weeks, speeches by the Massachusetts senator have been broadcast on Radio Pyongyang and reported in glowing terms by the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), the official mouthpiece of Mr Kim's communist regime."

Tex, is this what you're saying is the cheap shot?

"Kerry is advocating what he no doubt thinks is best for America, and he may be right (reasonable minds differ)."

No doubt you're right about this, Tom. But how confident are you that you know what it is he advocates? There are some (reasonable people may disagree) who think Kerry is something of a moving target.

I don't think it's a cheap shot. Certainly not any cheaper than, say, stories about GWB being a deserter or AWOL from TANG. Won't this be a fun season!


Won't this be a fun season!

I have a feeling that on the subject of national security there may be a flip-flop from the "bring it on" crowd - I doubt they will like it when its brought. We're attacking his patriotism, Bush is exploiting 9/11, what next?


Actually, under campaign circumstances there's no reason whatever to think that what Kerry says on the matter is what he believes is in the best interests of the US -- his objective is not of course to harm our interests, but differentiation. If my opponent does X, then I support Y. Normal enough for all politicians, in most situations -- but engaging in the mindless version he does on national security matters, at this point in history, is inexcusable and very revealing.

What stale, zero-sum strategies? The NoKo challenge is a tough nut, but most likely susceptible more to diligence than brilliance. The multilateral approach is simply good tactics from our perspective. Not only was the bilateral approach tried, with catastrophic results, but it's become clear that any effective solution must involve China. Heck, the problem may end up BEING China .... with NoKo as conduit, proxy, and collaborator. The AQ Khan case may be just one spoke of the wheel, with the hub a bit further east.

Which brings to mind -- talking about stale -- the utterly mindless Kerry belch about Bush having an "ideological" foreign policy. If he believes this, he's as intellectually mediocre as he always seemed to be when I worked around him in the 80s. Right or wrong, savvy or misconceived (and these aren't tough calls, but let's leave that aside), Bush's foreign policy is anything but ideological. Utterly, unblinkingly, unapologetically pragmatic and results-oriented. Even democracy in the MidEast is a weapon chosen for pragmatic effect against adversarial forces -- even if it also dovetails with US values and messianic ideological impulses.

If you haven't checked out the SF Chronicle item on Kerry's ed-board interview, do so. It's hard to believe his unwitting self-parody will get any worse than that.


...his objective is not of course to harm our interests, but differentiation.

Reflexive oppositionalism. Just as a thought experiment, would Kerry be supporting the Bush approach to NoKo if Bush was working this with bilateral talks? Or would he be screaming that Bush is ignoring our allies (SoKo, Japan), and overlooking the useful role that could be played by China and Russia?




I guess Bush's support is growing as well.




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