His Glass is Always Half Empty

Seeing Burma’s new capital city Naypyitaw, he wrote “its geometry so incredibly vast that even a crowd of half a million is unlikely to pose a political threat”. He was thrilled to see Mr. Ahmadinejad, the leader of a nation which supports the Lebanese Shiite militants of Hezbollah  and such terrorist groups as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. His blog looks like a journey through the axis of evil, with an occasional diversion via an interview with a Maoist. It does not take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out that Siddharth Varadarajan works for The Hindu.

In his latest post on the events in the Korean Peninsula, he is happy that a dramatic breakthrough has happened, but he puts the blame entirely on United States for the North Korean nuclear test while making North Koreans look like saints. He says that President George Bush’s remark classifying North Korea among the “axis of evil” undermined the 1994 Agreed Framework. North Koreans have not said so, but Mr. Varadarajan alone comes up with this theory. 

North Korea has a long history of terrorism and provocations against Japan and South Korea. Even though  South Korea was willing to ignore all activities of terrorism against it, but the Japanese were not. North Korea kidnapped Japanese citizens and used them for training North Korean agents for terrorism and in the six party talks, the Americans told several times to the North Koreans to settle the kidnapping issue and they did not.

More than United States, it is North Korea’s threatened neighbors who affect policy. The Agreed Framework collapsed because the Americans did not provide the light-water reactors that were promised as the Congress never authorized the money. The deal was also scuttled by various provocations, like the washing up of a North Korean submarine on South Korea shores. Besides this a few months into Bush’s term it was evident that North Koreans were enriching uranium for getting a bomb (This was admitted by the North Koreans themselves)

Then Mr. Varadarajan states that the February 13th deal requires less initially of North Korea than earlier agreements did while requiring U.S. to do more. Isn’t it a good thing that the U.S is not going bellicose over North Korea and still giving diplomacy a chance? Also there is the question of trust. Even before these baby steps are made what is the guarantee that North Korea will not fire a missile over Japan or provoke the South Koreans?

According to the 1994 Agreed Framework, the United States had agreed to hand over two light-water reactors and 500, 000 tons of fuel. This time there are no offers of nuclear reactors. Also North Korea will get only 5% of the promised one million tons of fuel oil.

Varadarajan mentions that “Nowhere does the agreement oblige North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and return to the NPT”. The Wall Street Journal adds something which Varadarajan may not be aware of

The remaining 95% is contingent upon North Korea providing a full accounting of all of its nuclear programs within 60 days, and ultimately agreeing to dismantle the works. That includes nuclear bombs, spent fuel and the clandestine uranium program — which it now denies having but that the Bush Administration insists does exist.[Faith-Based Nonproliferation]

In 1990 South Africa became the first and only country with nuclear capability to dismantle its nuclear program and now if all goes well North Korea could be the next. If that happens then Mr. Varadarajan will have look for idli-sambar in Venezuela which seems to be the next most happening place.

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