Friday, October 5, 2007

Victory for Non-Proliferation and Diplomacy

*Guest post from Katie Mounts

President Bush's "Axis of Evil" may soon be one less. In no small victory for diplomacy and non-proliferation, recent six party talks yielded a nuclear deal with North Korea.

Under the deal, North Korea agrees to disable all activities at its main nuclear complex in Pyongyang and to report on all of its current nuclear programs by the end of this year. NSC spokesperson Gordon Johndroe stated, "These second-phase actions effectively end the DPRK's production of plutonium – a major step towards the goal of achieving the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," reported the New York Times.

Beyond the more immediate success in North Korea, this agreement is a victory for advocates of diplomacy in the face of nuclear disagreements, most notably the case of Iran. Bush's newfound commitment to diplomacy through Christopher Hill has resulted in what provocative language and threats of military action have not in Iran: the first major steps toward transparency and denuclearization.

The New York Times printed an excellent editorial yesterday, entitled "Score One for Diplomacy." Some of the high points are included below.

If North Korea lives up to its promise to begin disabling key parts of its nuclear program within weeks, and to finish the job by year’s end, the world will be a safer place. To get this deal, the Bush administration, after dragging its feet for four years, displayed an admirable and all too rare mixture of diplomatic creativity, flexibility, patience and follow-through. To keep it moving forward, it will need even more.

Like all diplomatic deals worth their salt, both sides had to give up a lot. North Korea’s paranoid leadership has agreed to a degree of transparency few would have predicted. A team of American experts is expected to travel to North Korea next week to begin the disabling, at America’s expense, of its nuclear reactor, plutonium separation plant and other parts of its Yongbyon nuclear complex.


With both sides playing against type, there is bound to be very tough moments ahead. This week’s agreement is already months behind schedule, and Pyongyang will likely delay, obfuscate and demand a lot more.


The next phase — getting rid of North Korea’s fissile material and any weapons — will be even tougher to negotiate. Pyongyang will inevitably make more expensive and difficult demands… It’s worth the effort.

We also hope that with a solid foreign policy success now in reach, Mr. Bush will learn the lesson of the North Korea deal and tell his diplomats to turn the same creativity, flexibility and follow-through toward trying to end Iran’s nuclear program.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well-stated, KM...and an appropriate acknowledgment of a genuine milestone. Congrats to your Center's and CLW's efforts in supporting nonproliferation and diplomacy!