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Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Win some, lose some?

Yesterday, I blogged about the latest foreign policy initiatives towards remaining "axis of evil" states Iran and North Korea. Already, today, these policies have prompted some early feedback.

The NY Times (registration required) has a story about the successful trip to Iran by the Foreign Ministers Jack Straw (UK), Joschka Fischer (Germany) and Dominique de Villepin (France). The Europeans concluded a deal that includes these terms:
The Iranian government has decided to engage in full cooperation with the I.A.E.A. to address and resolve through full transparency all requirements and outstanding issues of the agency and clarify and correct any possible failures and deficiencies within the I.A.E.A.

Having received the necessary clarifications, the Iranian government has decided to sign the I.A.E.A. Additional Protocol and commence ratification procedures.

Iran has a right within the nuclear nonproliferation regime to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes it has decided voluntarily to suspend all uranium enrichment and processing activities as defined by the I.A.E.A.
This is a lot of good news, though the Times story includes a couple of skeptical quotes from Bush administration officials wondering if Iran will comply -- and taking credit for the deal as an extension of US foreign policy.

That last claim is odd given that the EU arguably has greater leverage than the US towards Iran because of its more moderate stance. The EU states actually have something to threaten short of war.

Meanwhile, North Korea has called the US security offer, "laughable" and claims it "doesn't deserve even any consideration," according to the latest Reuters report.

While the story points out that North Korea often uses charged public rhetoric during its negotiations, it does seem as if it is trying to get a specific "non-aggression" pact rather than merely a less certain "security guarantee." Representatives from the US, China, Japan and Russia are expected to meet with North Korea for a second time before the end of 2003.

Finally, a word about the personnel in the Bush administration. Dan Drezner has posted recently about bureaucratic politics within the administration. He points readers to a recent disturbing (and oddly humorous) story from the Philadelphia Inquirer :
The infighting, backstabbing and maneuvering on such major foreign-policy issues as North Korea, Syria, Iran and postwar Iraq have escalated to a level that veterans of government say they have not seen in years. At one point, the senior official said, Bush himself asked how bad it was.

"This isn't as bad as [George] Shultz vs. [Caspar] Weinberger, is it?" he asked, referring to a legendary Reagan administration rivalry between secretaries of state and defense. One top official reportedly nodded and said it was "way worse."
Isn't this the administration that promised to put the adults in charge again?

On that note, I really enjoyed this post by Brad DeLong:
It is long past time for a complete change of personnel at all levels of the Bush administration. The world cannot afford to have neoconservatives at high levels of the U.S. government who do not work for global prosperity and peace, but instead for maximum U.S. relative power. Now we do know that there are grownups in the Republican Party--statesmen who work for more rapid economic development, for multilateral cooperation, and for a world in which the United States leads because of its fortunate position rather than dominates because of its military power. They staffed the first Bush administration. Where are they?

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