[Asst. Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific and chief envoy on North Korea negotiations Christopher] "Hill has been close to some serious breakthrough deals with North Korea over the last 18 months, but each time Cheney and his team have unceremoniously and quietly strangled Hill's initiatives. Cheney's fervent opposition to negotiated outcomes with North Korea was more flamboyantly on display when his then State Department puppet John Bolton attacked and blew up the North Korea related initiatives of then Secretary of State Colin Powell and then chief North Korea negotiations envoy Jack Pritchard in 2001.So the Bush administration has been sending Christopher Hill to the 6 power talks and he has been devising a strategy for getting what we need from North Korea, while behind his back Cheney and his minions have been sabotaguing the efforts.
But Cheney has been at war with the Six Party Negotiations process throughout the entire Bush tenure.
The tug-of-war over North Korea INSIDE the Bush administration has created a climate of uncertainty and inconsistency in the Six Party Talks. The absence of coherent U.S. strategy combined with astute North Korean exploitation of tensions and divisions among the U.S., Japan, South Korea, China, and to some degree Russia has produced a dangerous climate where rather than deploying a sensible and compelling strategic framework and judging progress or setbacks against that -- we have moved into a far more fragile situation where micro-moments of Bush or Kim's twist this way or that have been substituted for considerations of strategy.
In other words, Bush rather than shrugging off the North Korean missile tests might just as well have announced a limited military strike against North Korean launch sites or other military assets, or might have announced a naval buildup of U.S. and allied ships off of the Korean peninsula, or could have initiated with Japan and South Korea strident and threatening joint military exercises.
But the problem with any of Bush's actions is that they are not measured against a coherent strategic game plan."[From The Washington Note]
That's a recipe for guaranteed failure. The U.S. has to be the key party in the talks and has to provide a strategy for the other four parties to use to get North Korea to cooperate. With Cheney savaging every effort, then there is no strategy and there is no hope that the talks will produce any decent result.
Since Japan is the most in danger from North Korea, we can expect their frustration with American incompetence to cause them to go it alone without us. That will almost certainly mean that Japan will also develop nuclear weapons to counter those of North Korea and build an aggressive military.
When you are working to reduce the likelihood of war, why would you cause your allies and enemies to arm and prepare for it if they don't have to with your cooperation? Is this another example of the Bushies responding to the Xtian evangelists desire for Armegeddon to come sooner? Lord, I hope not, but with this set of nuts in the Presidency and supported by the Republican Party in Congress, it is all together too likely.