The world was a buzz yesterday with news that talks between the US and North Korea, which were brokered by China, resulted in what is being touted as a significant diplomatic breakthrough. From Yahoo News we learn:
The United States announced a diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea Wednesday.
Under an agreement reached in direct talks in Beijing last week, North Korea has agreed to allow the return of nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, and has agreed to implement a moratorium on long-range missile tests, nuclear tests, and nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment activities, the State Department said. In return, the United States will provide North Korea with a large food aid package.
That certainly qualifies as a major diplomatic breakthrough in the cause of world peace. The US has been trying to curb nuclear proliferation in North Korea for years. Now, in our first sit down with the new North Korean regime, we have this incredible agreement. This is also a big win for China. Not only because they brokered the talks but because if the US provides food aid to North Korea, China won’t have to carry that burden alone. Here is some more from the Yahoo News story:
“To improve the atmosphere for dialogue and demonstrate its commitment to de-nuclearization, the DPRK has agreed to implement a moratorium on long-range missile launches, nuclear tests and nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment activities,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a press statement Wednesday. “The DPRK has also agreed to the return of IAEA inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment activities at Yongbyon and confirm the disablement of the 5-MW reactor and associated facilities.”
In return, the United States will “move forward with our proposed package of 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance along with the intensive monitoring required for the delivery of such assistance,” she said.
So, what’s not to like about this deal? In exchange for some “nutritional aid”, the DPRK will put an end to their development of nuclear arms. The world will be a safer place, right? Well, it may be a tad too early to start celebrating.
Throughout the day, yesterday, I listened to various “experts” on Fox News.Com Live give their opinions on what this agreement means. Without exception, they all said that the agreement was probably meaningless because our experience with North Korea is that they never keep their word. Even Hillary Clinton described this “diplomatic breakthrough” as a “modest step in the right direction”. And that is pretty much where all the news stories ended: we have a “maybe breakthrough”. I didn’t here a single discussion about what the United States was giving in exchange for this modest step in the right direction.
Go back and read again the last quote above. The US is to provide 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance along with the intensive monitoring required for the delivery of such assistance. We are told nothing about what this will cost the American taxpayer. Do you think that $1.00 a pound to purchase, collect, package, ship, and monitor intensively the delivery would be out of line? At $1.00 per pound, the price tag comes to $528 billion. The last I heard, we don’t have that kind of loose change lying around. Whatever it will end-up costing, the money will have to be borrowed. Oh, this expense is not in any of our budget forecasts either.
Less you think otherwise, let me be clear that I think exchanging food for the outside chance that the DPRK will keep its promises is worth the gamble. We are talking about augmenting World Peace, after all. But, here is my question. Where in the hell is the rest of the world in this deal? Shouldn’t the rest of the world be willing to share in this cost? Is the US the only country that would benefit from this deal?
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?