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October 10, 2006

Comments

It's been remarked already that the Bush administration is singularly bereft of lawyers. You can have too many, and get some lawyerly dithering when it's not really a good idea (see "Clinton administration, failures to assassinate bin Laden"), but there should always be a few around.

Real lawyers, that is, not Addingtons and Gonzaleses.

(Btw, "convict" is criminal law, whereas your example seems to contemplate civil law.)

Anderson: is there one word that mens 'defeat in a civil suit'?

I don't know. I think the Cheney et al view of diplomacy, expressed in legal terms, is a combination of two and three: refuse to negotiate (or even talk) AND hope that makes the problem go away.

But like a bad attorney (I know this from Perry Mason), they keep getting an answer they didn't expect.

Actually, I think it is worse than that. The legal metaphor fails here because law is accretive, a result of compromise, somewhat relative (according to jurisdiction, etc.) and, while rooted in absolutes, able to encompass the vagaries of real life.

This is not a problem explained by comparison to the law. The Law, as in a religious impulse, explains more about these people.

Bolton actually is a lawyer, but the kind who uses tantrums, threats and intimidation a lot.

I'm not sure the analogy is apt.

If Dick Cheney were a lawyer, he would be committed to the view that the second option, negotiation, was always wrong, at least when your opponents were not nice people. After all, negotiations can lead to settlements, settlements often give both parties something they want, and giving bad people something they want is just appeasement. And look where appeasement got Neville Chamberlain! Besides, they might cheat.

Take North Korea for instance. It isn't that they might cheat, it is that they have in fact cheated on the previous three agreements. It is that they have in fact taken huge amounts of our money while continuing on with the nuclear programs. It is that they do not in fact allow inspections sufficient to show that they aren't taking our money again and cheating again. It is that whenever real verifications are raised, they have a public freak-out attack.

So you can engage in 'talks' if you want, but they aren't 'negotiations'.

As far as the 'evil' issue, I think the legal analogy which the administration uses is more akin to prosecution. The idea is that you can settle with a plea bargain, but you don't throw away your case just because they won't plea. Now this may be in inappropriate attitude for the administration to take, but I think it is a better analogy for what happens than a civil suit.

But as a general concept, negotiating with North Korea when it refuses verification is pretty much useless. The reason the European negotiations with Iran failed is because they had nothing worth trading Iran's nuclear ambitions for. The carrots can't be big enough to trade the nuclear ambitions and the sticks don't exist. That allows the negotiations to be used as a time-gaining exercise by Iran--which is precisely what happened.

Talking isn't the same as negotiation. If you don't have something of enough value to make up for what you want them to stop doing, the negotiation is mere talk.

Sebastian: most of the Agreed Framework was verifiable. The fuel rods were under IAEA seal. Construction on the larger reactors could not be restarted without detection, nor could the Yongbyon reactor be fired up again. Moreover, these forms of verification in no way depended on the good will of North Korea.

They cheated, but they did so in the only way available to them, a way that, as it happens, was vastly less efficient than the ways they would have had available without the Agreed Framework, as witness the fact that after years of this cheating, they did not yet have enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon.

As I said in the last post, the question isn't "will they cheat?" It's "will this agreement make us better off, even if they do?" This is a possibility that Cheney et al just don't consider, as far as I can tell.

I don't agree that most of the Agreed Framework was verifiable. The commitment to destroy any previously made bombs was not verifiable. The commitment to cease nuclear weapons research was not verifiable and was in fact cheated on.

"As I said in the last post, the question isn't 'will they cheat?' It's 'will this agreement make us better off, even if they do?'"

Sure, but the answer in the case of North Korea is not at all obvious. If the choice is A: "prop up a regime so that it can torture its people for ten years, get uranium based nuclear bombs and then reopen Yongbyon with the threat of nuclear weapons backup" or B: "try to deal with them before they have nuclear weapons backup" it isn't clear to me that we should choose option A. Option C: "pay them off and hope that it doesn't turn into option A" is what Clinton tried and that was appropriate in 1994. By 1998 it was clear that it was becoming option A. The Bush administration's horrific error was in acknowledging that it was becoming option A before they bothered to figure out what they were doing in option B (i.e. before bringing China on-board). Negotiating with North Korea at that point was effectively useless, but negotiating with China was a different story.

The Agreed Framework was appropriate to kick the can a few years, see what happened with the new dictator and see what happened next. It was a stop-gap measure which made sense so long as the uranium program had a long horizon and for as long as North Korea didn't have nukes. Negotiating for something similar is not a return to the status quo 1994.

Seb: One possible point of agreement between us might be: the Agreed Framework was better than nothing, since at least it mothballed the reactors and kept the spent fuel rods under seal.

Then we'd have to discuss he question whether it would be possible to bring China and South Korea on board for regime change. I think that if one wanted to go the regime change route, it was absolutely essential to check this out completely: if China and SK were willing to prop up NK indefinitely, then regime change by any non-military means is a non-starter. And if we didn't want to go to war, that would mean that we'd have to move to some plan B.

Personally, I have never understood why we haven't so much as tried giving NK two things it says it wants: first, face to face negotiations (which cost us nothing), and second, a guarantee that if they give up their weapons programs and allow full inspections, we will not invade or attack. Since military action against NK is a dreadful option in any case, and since, imho, the only possible reason for it would be to prevent NK from getting nuclear weapons, I would have been willing to give such a guarantee.

But then, I think that it's always better to have a variety of approaches available. Cheney et al disagree.

It's far, far from clear that North Korea "cheated" on the Agreed Framework before the United States did. See Brad Plumer's blog post here and articles here and here.

The light water reactor was agreed to because it couldn't be easily used for nuclear weapons. North Korea insisted on changes to the design which would have made it easier to convert to usefulness for weapons. The US balked, and the installation of the light water reactor didn't progress. That was North Korea trying to use the Agreed Framework to further their nuclear ambitions--which is what they used it for all along anyway.

It seems to me, Sebastian, that even if everything you say is true, there are still a number of paths to take from 2001 through 2006 that don't lead where we are now. I absolutely think this was difficult but resolveable, but for the faction on our side who does not want resolution on any terms.

Do you deny the existence of such a faction? Or only proximate causation?

Seb: "That was North Korea trying to use the Agreed Framework to further their nuclear ambitions--which is what they used it for all along anyway."

Except that by placing plutonium production out of the realm of possibility, the AF in fact slowed their nuclear ambitions down a whole lot. Not a very effective tool -- sort of like "using" a deal in which your car is mothballed, but you can still walk when no one is looking, to get from San Diego to Vermont.

is there one word that mens 'defeat in a civil suit'?

No.

SH: what alternative course of action should the US have pursued in the '90s?

is there one word that mens 'defeat in a civil suit'?

OJ

"but you can still walk when no one is looking, to get from San Diego to Vermont."

The problem with this analogy is what happens when you get to Vermont? Nothing. What happens when you get nuclear weapons? A lot.

The general problem with the international non-proliferation efforts is that very few non-US countries want to do anything serious (sanctions, threat of sanctions, not to even mention armed force) until a country is right on the threshold of gaining them. But once they have them, everything is done. There is a ridiculously small window of action (maybe six months) which is based on a ridiculously inflated idea of the abilities of intelligence services to identify when we are in that window. Everyone agrees that you have to act before the nuclear threshold is crossed, but very few countries want to act much before.

The Agreed Framework was spurred by sudden alarm that we had entered the window of international action (though in reality it consisted of essentially US threats). As a solution it was flawed because it 'fixed' the immediate problem (removing us from the immediate window of danger) and simultaneously made it almost inevitable that the next moment of reckoning would not be triggered until AFTER North Korea became a nuclear power.

It would be like a treaty stopping genocide and preventing future genocide that said "this agreement null and void if you kill 5 million people". Yes you stopped the immediate genocide. Yes that is good. But you negotiated a situation where you aren't preventing the future genocide. You won't be acting until 5 million are killed.

This is ok if you think the chance of day of reckoning ever arriving is slim. If the second genocide isn't likely to come you can celebrate and go home. If it very likely to come, you may have made things worse.

In 1994, the Agreed Framework made some sort of sense because it was a gamble that the nuclear ambition would eventually subside and that there would be no later day of reckoning. By 1998, (and maybe earlier) it should have been clear that North Korea was still trying for nuclear weapons. At that point you have to work to make sure that you set up the day of reckoning BEFORE North Korea crosses the nuclear threshold. Neither Clinton nor Bush did that. And for that, both of them are very culpable. And the rest of the international community did nothing but cross their fingers and hope--which is ok with me, I just wish they wouldn't pretend.

Seb: "and simultaneously made it almost inevitable that the next moment of reckoning would not be triggered until AFTER North Korea became a nuclear power."

-- I don't get this part. As I see it, without the Agreed Framework, NK could do everything it could do with the Agreed Framework. It could also do some other, vastly more dangerous things that the Agreed Framework banned. I still don't see why this was somehow bad.

Also, don't forget that Clinton was negotiating a missile treaty with NK when his term ended. This would of course not have stopped the uranium program, but it would have stopped NK's long range missile development, which would have prevented a whole bunch of possible uses for nuclear and other weapons. Bush scrapped that.

When our evidence of NK's cheating became conclusive enough to act on, NK would probably not have had enough uranium to make nuclear weapons. (In fact, when we got that evidence, it didn't have enough uranium.) That would have been the window for acting, thogh it would also have been good, I think, to negotiate a clear agreement on uranium enrichment in the late 90s.

In this context, however, I think it's important to remember that Clinton was facing huge opposition, from Republicans, to the idea of any agreement at all with dictators. It's quite unclear to me that he would have been able to get approval for any such agreement.

The problem with this analogy is what happens when you get to Vermont? Nothing. What happens when you get nuclear weapons? A lot.

Question: why is this a binary question? Are there no scenarios where the attainment of nuclear capability later by North Korea is not the same as the attainment sooner?

And the equation of this with geneocide scenarios seem to be a false one.

"As I see it, without the Agreed Framework, NK could do everything it could do with the Agreed Framework. It could also do some other, vastly more dangerous things that the Agreed Framework banned."

The bad part is not that it postponed the day of reckoning, it was that, for international diplomacy purposes, it pushed the day of reckoning past the day when North Korea had nuclear weapons.

The analogy would work with "we don't negotiate with evil, we sue it" -- as opposed to attempting to negotiate without litigation.

Of course, one could win the suit. But cf. Voltaire: "I was ruined only twice in my life, once when I lost a lawsuit, and the other when I won one."

"Are there no scenarios where the attainment of nuclear capability later by North Korea is not the same as the attainment sooner?"

Sure there are fantasy scenarios where later isn't the same as sooner--such as if the dictatorship fell before getting nuclear weapons. But since the South Korean Sunshine Policy (and not incidentally Chinese policy) was specifically designed to avoid such any outcome where the regime fell, it has nothing to do with the diplomatic reality.

Less trivially, the indefensible aspect of the G.W. Bush administration on NK, which not even Sebastian can defend, is the refusal to negotiate unless NK scrapped its nuke program.

That would require NK to be crazy, b/c what else did they have to bargain with?

Anderson: so what you're saying is, predicated on their beliefs of NK's craziness, the Bush Administration acted rationally? (:

Hilzoy: "...second, a guarantee that if they give up their weapons programs and allow full inspections, we will not invade or attack. Since military action against NK is a dreadful option in any case, and since, imho, the only possible reason for it would be to prevent NK from getting nuclear weapons, I would have been willing to give such a guarantee."

How could you ever guarantee this? Leave the DMZ?

Seb: "it pushed the day of reckoning past the day when North Korea had nuclear weapons."

What I don't get is how it did this. The day of reckoning ought to have been the day we discovered the uranium enrichment program. As it happens, this occurred before they had nuclear weapons.

Neither the Chinese nor the South Koreans want the NoKo government to collapse; the Bush admin does. (In an exercise of comity, I will agree that both sides have good arguments -- NoKo's neighbors don't want to bear the cost of a multi-billion dollar reconstruction and an enormous refugee problem; we want to end the rule of a vile despot.)

Therefore, it has been and continues to be in the interest of the Bush admin to radicalize the NoKo regime to the point that it so alienates the South Koreans and Chinese that those countries change position.

Arguably, Bush's conduct has been brilliant -- doing nothing is working in his favor.

"What I don't get is how it did this. The day of reckoning ought to have been the day we discovered the uranium enrichment program. As it happens, this occurred before they had nuclear weapons."

That is a logical understanding but not a diplomatic understanding. The only reason there was any international support for acting against North Korea at the time of the Agreed Framework was because of the immediate threat that the Yongbyon reactor represented. Absent that level of immediate threat, there would not have been international support for pressure.

The Agreed Framework purported to deal with both the immediate threat and the longer-term slower threat of nuclear weapons research and development. If it had actually done so, I would say that it was a great thing. Trying it in 1994 was a non-awful idea.

In fact the Agreed Framework led to a temporary shut-down of the immediate threat, attempts to change the nature of the replacement reactor so that it could still be used for weaponization, and uranium enrichment to get nuclear fuel without the Yongbyon reactor. Rumors of this were going around by 1996, but we public citizens can really only point to 1998 as the time when the President and CIA definitely knew about the cheating.

You are correct that the US should have acted at that point.

The problem I point to about the Agreed Framework is how it changed the urgency of the debate. When Yongbyon was the issue, the urgency was obvious and international support was theoretically available to deal with the urgent need. The Agreed Framework removed the urgent threat but let the not-urgent threat persist. Uranium enrichment is slow. It isn't an urgent problem until just before the bomb is created. But since intelligence services are imperfect in good examples and really unreliable in places like North Korea, we can't ever tell when we are nearing the danger zone. So you either don't deal with it (Clinton or early Bush) or you hype it without real knowledge (later Bush). I suppose my criticism isn't with the Agreement (as a piece of paper) but rather how it deflated international interest in dealing with the long term problem--and it did so in such a way as to virtually guarantee that the next moment of urgency would not become apparent until after North Korea got nuclear weapons.

Now, I will fully admit that if the international community used the Agreed Framework as a mere stop-gap to then quickly deal with the rest of the problem, it could have been good. It was worth a try in 1994. But that isn't what happened. As much as we might want to say that the US doesn't take a consistently long view about nuclear proliferation, the international community does even worse.

A similar dynamic takes place with genocide. You have pre-genocide which is really bad killing but not enough to force action under the Protocol. At some point the killing crosses a threshold and could theoretically be called genocide (though in Darfur's case the UN never formally did so). By the time the international community has bothered to start paying attention, enough people have already been killed that the immediate rate of killing can decline and isn't as alarming to the international community. So the genocide has 'ceased' and no serious action needs be taken. The agreements are structured to allow a lack of serious action to look like action and to allow a sense of complacency about long term destructive potential.

Seb: I think that we only knew about the uranium enrichment with enough certainty to act as of 2002. However, on your broader point:

2002 or 1998, at either point we had years to act before NK had any nuclear weapons at all. This was true with or without the changed reactor. NK only resumed its plutonium program -- the really dangerous one -- after withdrawing from the Agreed Framework not before.

If the Agreed Framework had not been signed, he would have around 100 nukes by now. Had we abrogated it in 1998, he'd have scores. I just don't see how this isn't more than enough benefit to outweigh a slight diminution of urgency that is, in any case, hypothetical. (Again, it's hard to say what we might or might not have been able to get people on board for in 2002, since we basically didn't try to get them on board for anything.)

We should have stuck with the AF. We should have negotiated a deal on missiles. We should have confronted Kim Jong Il about the uranium, and negotiated a deal on that as well. We have cards to play that cost us nothing, like a security guarantee contingent on his not cheating, given rigorous and intrusive inspections. (This would, in practice, have meant: his not being found to cheat, but would still have been an improvement.)

We are not in a position to take down NK, unless we want to kiss any relationship with the PRC and South Korea goodbye, and also commit a pretty serious number of troops that, oops, we don't have. That being the case, we should have given up actions to promote regime change as a fantasy, and played the security guarantee card. That Bush was neither willing to do this, nor able to enforce it on the people whose boss he allegedly is, nor willing to propose anything else, is, given the stakes, damning.

"That being the case, we should have given up actions to promote regime change as a fantasy, and played the security guarantee card. That Bush was neither willing to do this, nor able to enforce it on the people whose boss he allegedly is, nor willing to propose anything else, is, given the stakes, damning."

I for one think this path may be the best. Now the whole world is clear on NoKo's true intentions. Now we are dealing with the reality as opposed to the fantasy.

Disarmament is really a simple path for a country to take. Look to South Africa and even Libya. What so many in the "reality" based community seem to forget is that the other side has to actually want to disarm.

NoKo will never want desire to non-nuclear with their current gov't, just like Hussein.


"We should have stuck with the AF... (This would, in practice, have meant: his not being found to cheat..."

The unrealistic perspecitve really jumps off the page when you take out all the fluff.


bril: who, exactly, was unclear about Kim's intentions before?

"If the Agreed Framework had not been signed, he would have around 100 nukes by now."

Is that true or would the international community have pushed for some other response to deal with the reactor? Remember the Agreed Framework was rushed by Carter and Clinton was sort-of forced into it.

"Is that true or would the international community have pushed for some other response to deal with the reactor? "

It wouldn't have been military, you can bet on that.

Seb: what's the better option the international community might have pushed for? And is the idea now that the Agreed Framework is bad because it dampened enthusiasm for a hypothetical better solution? Or have I just missed something?

Hilzoy: "...second, a guarantee that if they give up their weapons programs and allow full inspections, we will not invade or attack. Since military action against NK is a dreadful option in any case, and since, imho, the only possible reason for it would be to prevent NK from getting nuclear weapons, I would have been willing to give such a guarantee."

How could you ever guarantee this? Leave the DMZ?

The principle, and practice, and effectiveness, of international inspectors, is well established.

"Seb: what's the better option the international community might have pushed for? And is the idea now that the Agreed Framework is bad because it dampened enthusiasm for a hypothetical better solution? Or have I just missed something?"

I possibly have misexplained. And it could be that my view on the effectiveness of the international community is torn (and thus muddying my argument) between the cynical "useless on such matters except in dire emergency" and the really cynical "completely useless on such matters".

But when I'm merely cynical I would say that the Agreed Framework was a flawed response to an emergency obvious enough to perhaps wake an international response. Instead of getting a firm (inasmuch as any such agreement is firm) international commitment to deal with the response, Carter created an almost unilateral response which dealt only with the immediate problem. You may forget, but there really was quite a bit of alarm in the international community at the time. Even from such places as China and Russia. The pressure of that period might have brought about more a more useful inspection regime (remember this is after the horrific 1990 revelation that the inspectors had missed almost all of Saddam's pre-Gulf War I nuclear program).

This would have been fine if North Korea hadn't been so intent on subverting the agreement (both by maintaining the uranium program and attempting to change the substitute reactor plans).

The problem is that North Korea was in fact intent on continuing its nuclear programs despite the NPT, the Nuclear-Free Penninsula Agreement and the Agreed Framework.

The international community, which if it acts at all on nuclear matters only acts in crisis, didn't perceive a crisis like the Yongbyon reactor and was therefore not willing to act or support action to deal with it.

If you believe that the Agreed Framework was intended only to deal with the Yongbyon reactor, then I suppose you could call it a success which enabled the 1998 failure by masking the crisis--like an anti-fever drug that keeps your body from burning out but that doesn't help mend the illness. But that isn't what the text of the Agreed Framework says--it claims to resolve the whole issue by reasserting NPT and Nuclear-Free Penninsula commitments. If you take it at its word, the uranium development shredded the Agreed Framework and undermined its purpose.

Gary, when you say "The principle, and practice, and effectiveness, of international inspectors, is well established." I almost suspect you are being ironic. But in either interpretation of the sentence, I think you aren't asnwering IntricateHelix's question. I think it asks: "How could you ever guarantee [that we won't invade or attack if they give up their weapons programs and allow full inspections]". I could be misinterpreting, but I think that is why the suggestion is "Leave the DMZ?"

Hilzoy,

"bril: who, exactly, was unclear about Kim's intentions before?"

Anyone who believed that a piece of paper signed by a tyrant and murderer of his own people would really be effective. Anyone who understood Kim's real intentions would not have put so much faith in so little. I'm not saying it's notshouldn't have been done. I think you have to make the effort up front. But if you can't constantly verify everywhere in the country then you really haven't accomplished anything with these types of people. And as soon as that broke down it was all going to break down.

The attitude underneath the hood is much like the attitude towards bin Laden. Just the other day on a thread someone was saying that it doesn't mean much that OB declared war on America in 1998 or what he says today. That really isn't a big threat. I think that attitude is prevalent in many with regard to the threat from Hussein, Iran, Syria, bin Laden and even NoKo.

Even 9/11 hasn't convinced everyone that we are at war. So while I don't think one detonation will convince everyone it will atleast convince more about how big the challenge is we face with NoKo.

Even 9/11 hasn't convinced everyone that we are at war.

Damn straight! Just the other day I had to wander through the streets of Manhattan with nothing but a candle to guide my way through the mandated blackout, imposed so that al Qaeda can't see the outline of our ships against the NY skyline and sink them with their U-boats. I had to take my horse and buggy up to NY as I had used my gas ration for the month. This was my last trip before heading off to basic training, as my number finally came up in the draft. Fortunately the Mrs. has found a good job riveting M1A1 Abrams tanks down at the local armament plant, production is up since she arrived, and I am proud.

bril: As far as the plutonium part of the agreement -- which was the main part, and by far the most important -- no faith in Kim Jong Il was required, since any breach could be independently detected.

Seb: I do think the Yongbyon part was the crucial part of the agreement. The possibility of Kim Jong Il acquiring plutonium (more than the 1-2 weapons' worth that he might or might not have acquired when he shut the reactor down under Bush 1, when (note) no international (or unilateral) anything followed) was the possibility that was really, really, really threatening. That was the possibility that might allow him to make nuclear weapons fast and in quantities sufficient to start selling them.

I have already noted that he didn't (according to the US) have enough uranium in 2002 to make even a single weapon. I now add: since as I understand it the whatever-it-was detonated recently was probably a plutonium bomb, there is no evidence that all his cheating has even now yielded enough uranium to make a uranium bomb.

The uranium program was a problem, but it was a vastly less pressing one, and vastly less dangerous. Shutting off the plutonium program was the main deal, and it was accomplished.

"Shutting off the plutonium program was the main deal, and it was accomplished."

But not in any enforceable way, as seen by the international non-reaction when he broke the seals. (Which leads back I suppose to my really cynical conclusions rather than my merely cynical ones).

With respect to "bril: who, exactly, was unclear about Kim's intentions before?" its from 1994 so I could be misremembering, but Kim had just taken power, so it was argued at the time that he could back away from his father's plans if we gave him time.

Sebastian: I think it asks: "How could you ever guarantee [that we won't invade or attack if they give up their weapons programs and allow full inspections]"

Yes, that is what I meant in my first post. Sorry I didn't spell that out very well.

I am still interested in how you could guarantee the US would not attack if NK abided by international inspections. First, I think this request is impossible to gaurantee because it is such a broad request. Second, isn't this just a vague way of NK requesting the withdrawl of US troops from the border?

IH: Well, this has always been one of NK's desiderata, so I think it would be worth asking what they had in mind, other than our promising.

And while I don't take Kim Jong Il's promises seriously, a lot of countries, including (back in the days before Bush) us, take their word seriously. Leaving aside morality and national self-respect, if you are not known to keep your word, all sorts of possibilities are closed off to you -- the ones that turn on your being able to credibly give your word about something. (Including here both promises and threats.)

Seb: It's very hard to speculate about what international reaction would have been had we actually taken it seriously, rather than trying to sweep it under the rug because it might interfere with our plans for Iraq, and had the international community not been absorbed by the debate over Iraq, and also had we not been in the process of squandering immense amounts of good will.

The basic facts remain: the AF kept by far the most dangerous way in which Kim Jong Il could have pursued nuclear weapons on ice for eight years. We, not they, withdrew from the Agreed Framework and declared it "dead", and they removed the fuel rods only after that fact. Now some of that plutonium seems to have been used in a nuclear test.

None of this stuff happened under the AF. What did happen was an attempt at uranium enrichment, which, to repeat, is a lot slower and less threatening. Pollack in the Naval War College Review again:

"A final but especially significant factor remains overlooked in the larger story of the U.S. intelligence findings-North Korea had no operational enrichment facility to declare. As noted by the CIA in an unclassified November 2002 estimate provided to the Congress, construction of a centrifuge facility was not initiated "until recently. . . . Last year the North began seeking centrifuge-related materials in large quantities. . . . We recently learned that the North is constructing a plant that could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for two or more nuclear weapons per year when fully operational-which could be as early as mid-decade."50 The intelligence community believed that North Korea still confronted daunting obstacles had it decided to build an enriched-uranium weapon, or even to acquire the production capabilities that might ultimately permit such an option.

Some of these obstacles become clearer by reviewing the technologies involved in these processes.51 According to Richard Garwin, a leading authority on nuclear power and nuclear weapons design, a U-235 gun-type weapon design requires approximately sixty kilograms of enriched uranium to fabricate a single weapon, a process that would entail full-time operation of 1,300 high-performance centrifuges for approximately three years to accumulate sufficient fissile material. An implosion-type weapon design akin to that employed by Pakistan in its 1998 tests might require somewhat less than half this amount. By comparison, a nuclear weapon using plutonium requires approximately six kilograms of fissile material, though the needed materials are much more volatile and prone to failure. Garwin defines a high-performance centrifuge as one capable of achieving three separative work units (SWUs) per year, a throughput measure for isotope separation in a single centrifuge. When assembled in a cascade, gas centrifuges yield specific quantities of enriched uranium; depending on the level of enrichment, the resulting product can be applied for civilian or military purposes.52 Although more advanced centrifuge technologies now available on the enrichment market enable much higher production rates, there is no possibility that North Korea had access to such state-of-the-art equipment. One report suggests that the centrifuges available to North Korea would have been able to perform at the capacity of as little as one SWU per year, though Matthew Bunn, a leading authority on nuclear proliferation, believes that a capacity two or three times this level is plausible.53"

Allowing the AF to collapse because of this was just plain idiotic.

Ugh,

"Damn straight! Just the other day I had to wander through the streets of Manhattan with nothing but a candle to guide my way through the mandated blackout, imposed so that al Qaeda can't see the outline of our ships against the NY skyline and sink them with their U-boats."

No, you didn't! Because our troops are busy killing them in Iraq and Afghanistan. And enabled by the Patriot Act the FBI is trying to root them out in the U.S.

If only we could figure out how to do a better job at killing them in Pakistan and Iran.

The Europeans are actually doing a decent job in their own countries because they aren't bound by the same legalities that we are in the U.S.

No, you didn't! Because our troops are busy killing them in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That settles it: Bril's a parody.

The Europeans are actually doing a decent job in their own countries because they aren't bound by the same legalities that we are in the U.S.

You got me there, there certainly haven't been any terrorist bombings in Europe since 9/11.

"The basic facts remain: the AF kept by far the most dangerous way in which Kim Jong Il could have pursued nuclear weapons on ice for eight years. We, not they, withdrew from the Agreed Framework and declared it "dead", and they removed the fuel rods only after that fact."

So you acknowledge that 1) it was only partially effective. 2) in the long run it probably wasn't going to work?

But why was it declared DEAD, Hilzoy? Why???

I think I see how you can reach your conclusion, but I think you have to disregard some relevant facts. I think it was declared DEAD because NoKo killed it.

If you could just for once not look to the Bush administration first and maybe look at what the other side does and how the administration has responded.

Statement by the IAEA Director General on DPRK

The letter does not respond directly to the resolution’s request that the DPRK clarify reports of its having an undeclared uranium enrichment programme, nor does it respond to the Director General’s invitation of 18 October for high-level talks in Vienna or the DPRK.

...

The reprocessing facility at Nyongbyong is irrelevant to the DPRK ability to produce electricity. The DPRK has no current legitimate peaceful use for plutonium, given the status of its nuclear fuel cycle. Moving towards restarting its nuclear facilities without appropriate safeguards, and towards producing plutonium raises serious non-proliferation concerns and is tantamount to nuclear brinkmanship".

The actions of NoKo killed the AF. All the Bush administration was acknowledge that due to NoKo's not abiding by the AF it was effectivly dead.

If you believed in 2002 there truly wasn't a secret enrichment program then you are right it was absurd to pull out. But if you believe there was a secret enrichment program then only a fool would continue as if it was working.

If you believe NoKo was following the rules all along then the administration was wrong. If you believe NoKo was not following the rules then the AF was useful only as recycled paper.

Jes,

I've read your posts. There isn't much response to someone who doesn't believe that AQ is in Iraq being killed. Whether they were there before is irrelevant. But you don't have to take my word for it. Just read AQ's press releases. If I'm a parody because I accept AQ's claim to be in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan then so be it. I'm atleast an honest parody.

Ugh,

"You got me there, there certainly haven't been any terrorist bombings in Europe since 9/11."

Are you claiming that the Europeans haven't made alot of arrests of terrorists since 9/11?

Don't take my word for it google it:

Type in terrorist arrest Britian, then samething except France, Spain and Germany.

Are you claiming that the Europeans haven't made alot of arrests of terrorists since 9/11?

No, I'm taking your claim that "The Europeans are actually doing a decent job in their own countries because they aren't bound by the same legalities that we are in the U.S." and comparing it to the one result that really matters: absence of terrorist attacks. According to the President, we haven't been "hit again" by terrorists since 9/11* due to the measures taken by his administration since 9/11, despite being subject to "legalities," whereas Europe has been the subject of several terrorist bombings since then despite the absence of "legalities." I would thus conclude that it would be better if we had more "legalities" rather than less.

I'm a parody because I accept AQ's claim to be in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan then so be it. I'm atleast an honest parody.

No, you're a parody because of the thought that the reason why NYC is not the subject of a blackout to protect USN ships is due to the US troops in Afghanistan/Iraq and the Patriot Act.

*Which is, of course, a bald-faced lie.

There isn't much response to someone who doesn't believe that AQ is in Iraq being killed. Whether they were there before is irrelevant.

I suspect it's eminently relevant to the Iraqis. You know, those poor people whose suffering so burdens your soul?

Type in terrorist arrest Britian, then samething except France, Spain and Germany.

Lots of arrests - lots of legalities. Warrants, trials, lawyers, burden of proof, NO secret prisons, NO legalized torture.

Sebastian: your idea's about the international community are so muddied that trying to answer to your comments feels like having a discussion with Jerry Faldwell about gay people.

dutch, that was bril who wrote that, not Sebastian. Unfortunately, when you have people committed to throwing up dust, it becomes harder to discern people's actual positions.

Marbel: your idea's about the international community are so muddied that trying to answer to your comments feels like having a discussion with Jerry Faldwell about gay people.

Which is why I'm fairly sure Bril is a parody. Or may as well be assumed to be so.

You guys really behave like a bunch of jerks. All I did was make a comment that the Europeans are doing a decent job at rooting out terrorists and that the laws they have give them more flexibility to do so. Does anyone actually want to debate that point? Or do you just want to continue to try and say that I claimed that made them safe from attack?

If anyone had asked I would have stated that I think they are more vulnerable to attack than the U.S. and need the flexibilty. But of course no one actually bothered to ask.

Even though we have more restrictive privacy laws we are lucky because we aren't as vulnerable to attack.

But no one cared to ask what I thought. Just to insult me.

Jesurgislac,

"Which is why I'm fairly sure Bril is a parody."

I followed the link to your journal. I can't imagine why anyone would ban you from their site. (sarcasm) Please feel free to add me on your do not respond to Gary Farber list. You don't seem like a very nice person.


"No, you're a parody because of the thought that the reason why NYC is not the subject of a blackout to protect USN ships is due to the US troops in Afghanistan/Iraq and the Patriot Act.

*Which is, of course, a bald-faced lie."

What is a bald faced lie is to think that AQ putting so much effort into defeating us in Iraq has no impact on their operations elsewhere. Well maybe that's not exactly a lie as much as willful ignorance. Doesn't our actions in Iraq weaken us on the real terrosist fight in Afghanistan? Can't you fathom that being in Iraq and fighting the U.S. might weakens AQ's efforts in other parts of the world?

Phil,

"I suspect it's eminently relevant to the Iraqis. You know, those poor people whose suffering so burdens your soul?"

You don't know anything about me. I guess its irrelevant to you that our troops are fighting to free Iraqi's of Hussein stragglers and Islamic fascism? Is it accurate to say that you don't care at all about the poor American souls that are fighting to accomplish that?


Personally, I think we haven't been hit again mostly by luck. You guys want to do nothing but attack anyone who doesn't think exactly like you do. It seems that most of the regular posters here are about as closed-minded as anyone I know.


People: stop it. bril is right to say that personal abuse is no substitute for argument. If you don't feel like engaging the argument, then just let it lie.

bril: I still don't get why our response to the discovery that NK had a uranium enrichment program that was not an imminent threat was to pull out of the agreement that had, to that point, kept NK from having a much more dangerous program, which they then went ahead and restarted, with the result that they now present a much bigger danger than they did before. They still have no nukes from their uranium program. But they do have nukes from the plutonium program that the AF had kept on ice. I fail to see how this is in any way a good thing.

There were other options. Renegotiate a deal with better verification of uranium enrichment, for instance. But because "we don't negotiate with terrorists; we defeat them" (except for the "we defeat them" part, which we cleverly forgot about in this instance), we just decided to do nothing. And now they have nukes.

Can you think of a good reason why I should not think of this as a foreign policy debacle? I can't.

All I did was make a comment that the Europeans are doing a decent job at rooting out terrorists and that the laws they have give them more flexibility to do so. Does anyone actually want to debate that point?

Sure. What exactly are you talking about? Do you think there are members of AQ in the US who are somehow eluding capture because of 'legalities'? What 'legalities' or lack of 'flexibility'?

If you don't feel like engaging the argument, then just let it lie.

In all seriousness: there was an argument? I just saw a random series of fairly unsubstantiated declarations...

Jesurgislac and Liberal Japonicus: I'm sorry, I phrased it not clear. My first argument was ment for Bril.

My second paragraph was ment for Sebastian. Earlier he wrote "And it could be that my view on the effectiveness of the international community is torn (and thus muddying my argument) between the cynical "useless on such matters except in dire emergency" and the really cynical "completely useless on such matters"."

Bril: We don't have more flexible laws in Europe, we don't have more options, we actually probabely have less. If we in the Netherlands don't manage to convict terrorists, we have to pay them for the time we had them in jail for instance. The US asked us to arrest Mullah Krekar, than backed down, and we had to pay him 45.000 euro's. We arrested the Hofstad Network; 9 members were sentenced, 5 were acquitted and are currently sueing the State for up to 2 million euro's because they were wrongly imprisoned. I don't expect they get that amount, but they might get money even though they were 'passively' connected to the terroristgroup.

eeuw.... I forgot to change the first sentences. Sorry for the horrible English...

You don't know anything about me.

I know that you said something elsewhere to the effect of, "Sorry we had to blow up your country and fill it with terrorists, Iraqis, but aren't you glad we got rid of Hussein for you?" That hardly inspires me to believe that you're terribly concerned about who gets killed by whom, save that it isn't you.

I guess its irrelevant to you that our troops are fighting to free Iraqi's of Hussein stragglers and Islamic fascism? Is it accurate to say that you don't care at all about the poor American souls that are fighting to accomplish that?

"Bark, bark!"

"What is it, girl?"

"Bark bark bark bark bark!"

::: sniff, sniff ::: "What? You say somebody's poisoned the well?"

hilzoy, bril doesn't make arguments. He comes in here every time with the same Powerline-lite "George Bush is a POLICY GENIUSES LOL and you just want us all to be killed by Islamofascinazicommies and our corpses made to live under Sharia law and why can't you just all SHUT UP and do what Dear Leader says?"

It's a BS position, and it deserves to be met with derision. You have no trouble deriding, say, John Hinderaker, even if it's done in a clever and funny manner; and I imagine you'd be no less derisive -- if unfailingly clever about it -- were he to post here. Why be less derisive towards his doppelgangers? There are a lot of people, when the dust clears and history makes its judgements, who we'll all wish had been more mocked and scorned, not less.

Meanwhile, I see an American finally has been charged with treason. Not that I particularly disagree with the charge, but I have to imagine that, for a lot of right-wingers, this is like finding one of those upside-down-airplane stamps.

What is a bald faced lie is to think that AQ putting so much effort into defeating us in Iraq has no impact on their operations elsewhere. Well maybe that's not exactly a lie as much as willful ignorance. Can't you fathom that being in Iraq and fighting the U.S. might weakens AQ's efforts in other parts of the world?

AQ is not like the Red Army. It is not run by central committee. It is more like an idea now rather than a network and the Iraqi branch is an independent franchise from what is going on in the rest of the world. But what disturbs me about your analysis is that AQ is not the issue in Iraq and to make them the issue in Iraq is to surrender the strategic initiative in the war on terror to them. You are letting AQ dictate where and what the USA does rather than doing what will produce victory. Staying in Iraq is not contributing to victory. Strategic redeployment out of the Iraqi theater is necessary for us to regroup our forces and hit AQ on our terms. Right now we are fighting under their terms.

Your bald face lie and willful ignorance comment is out of line. If you want to debate in good faith you have to accept that I am your moral equal, do not place me below you to make your point of view rise to the top.

hilzoy, bril doesn't make arguments.

[...]

It's a BS position, and it deserves to be met with derision.

Is it at all possible that bril is simply not well-informed/ misinformed, and doesn't realize how poorly based the arguments bril is putting forward are?

Or do you know otherwise, and if so, how? Mind: know, not supposition or deduction that makes you think your conclusion is most likely.

In any case, I'm a bit unsure how "derision" can ever be "civil." And then I'm back to the quote on my blog's sidebar: "Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook

"Your bald face lie and willful ignorance comment is out of line."

This is an example of how very badly a sentence can go wrong when the writer chooses not to use quotation marks.

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