MAKE KOREA A BIG DEAL
This is the advice offered by Michael O’Hanlon and Mike Mochizuki. They contend our current negotiating strategy is flawed because it is mired in gamesmanship over who participates and what the rules of the negotiation will be while simultaneously far too unambitious in its goals.
But the broad plan would go much further than the nuclear question. Consistent with Mr. Bush’s instincts that any deal with North Korea’s current government is unappealing and unpromising, it would seek to begin to change the basic nature of that regime.
One aspect of the broader plan would emphasize human rights issues such as the return of Japanese kidnapped by North Korea decades ago and even the internal practices of the North Korean regime toward its people. And of course Washington would offer a nonaggression pledge, peace treaty and diplomatic relations as well, provided North Korea agrees to the rest of the package.
But the plan’s centerpiece would be a combination of deep conventional arms reductions on the peninsula and assistance to North Korea to help it reform its economy. China, which has navigated the road from a communist command system to an entrepreneurial economy, would provide guidance and advice. China, Japan, South Korea and the United States would provide aid. Mr. Bush talked about such ideas early in his presidency but never fleshed them out. It is time we do so.
I’d like to see this plan fleshed out a bit, but it appears sensible. Bold visions almost always yield better results than trying to tackle issues in a vacuum.