In his press briefing yesterday, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow
job (R-Fox News) demonstrated the Bush Administration's doctrine of making things up when it has no reasonable answer for a problem.
When asked about diplomatic efforts with North Korea, Snow
job recited the Bush Administration's version of past history for the press.
MR. SNOW: Well, this is not the Clinton administration policy. I understand what the Clinton administration wanted to do. They wanted to talk reason to the government of Pyongyang, and they engaged in bilateral conversations. And Bill Richardson went with flowers and chocolates, and he went with light-water nuclear reactors, and he went with promises of heavy oil, and a basketball signed by Michael Jordan, and many other inducements for the "Dear Leader" to try to agree not to develop nuclear weapons, and it failed. But there was, at least, a good-faith effort on the part of some very smart people to use that as an approach.
The only problem is that Tony Snow failed history. Today, Governor Bill Richardson issued this smackdown of Snow
’s revisionist history:
"Tony Snow doesn't let facts get in the way of a snappy quote. Unfortunately, he's trying to rewrite history. Even trying to be funny he got it wrong- Secretary of State Madeleine Albright brought the basketball and Ambassador Robert Gallucci worked on the light-water reactor issue. I negotiated the release of a downed pilot and a political prisoner and handled a number of diplomatic chores for the administration. And let's not forget that the President provided a plane for me last October so I could travel to Pyongyang to meet with the North Koreans, conversations that resulted in the North Korean delegation returning to the negotiating table."
"Under President Clinton, direct talks resulted in an agreement that kept North Korea from increasing its supply of enriched uranium and nuclear weapons."
"Now, because of the policies of this administration, the North Koreans are more dangerous than ever, and the region is more unstable. They've apparently quadrupled their supply of enriched plutonium and now reportedly have as many as 8 nuclear weapons."
"After nearly 6 years of neglect, the President suddenly seems to have discovered the value of true diplomacy. However he's missing the most important piece- direct engagement. He says talking with the North Koreans would send the wrong message and reward bad behavior."
"If direct talks will get the North Koreans back to the table and move the process forward, we should do it. Contrary to those who think it gives Kim Jong Il what he wants, direct talks would give the US what it wants- getting the process moving to shut down the North Koreans nuclear weapons program. It's time for the administration to reverse its failed policy and take action that will make progress toward a real solution."
First off, to make light of a serious situation by making the Governor of New Mexico look like he was trying to woo the North Korean leader is ridiculous. Second of all, as Ian at the Bill Richardson blog points out, if Richardson is such a bad envoy, why did President Bush send him to Pyongyang?There has been only one man that I know of, who has negotiated successfully with North Korea, and that man is Bill Richardson. Lord Bush and his cronies should show some respect to a man he could learn something from. After all, if I have my way, it's going to be Richardson who will be left cleaning up Bush's mess in January of 2009.Update [7/12/06]:
Yesterday, I wrote that I could think of only one man (Bill Richardson) who had negotiated successfully with North Korea in recent memory. Well, there are two. President Carter is the other.