TCS Daily


Appeasers Framework

By Dale Franks - October 22, 2002 12:00 AM

North Korea, if you'll pardon the pun, dropped a bombshell on the international community this past week, by announcing that, despite the so-called Agreed Framework - brokered with the help of Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter - they went ahead and kept working on a secret nuclear weapons program anyway. Shortly thereafter, the CIA announced that the North Koreans probably have a nuclear weapon or two already locked away somewhere.

Pyongyang became a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1985, but by 1993, it became clear that the North Koreans were rather flagrantly violating it. Despite the obvious lack of good faith demonstrated by the North Koreans regarding the Nonproliferation Treaty, the Agreed Framework was negotiated with the North Korean government in 1994. In that agreement, we offered the North Koreans diplomatic recognition, 500,000 tons a year of heavy fuel oil, and a pair of nuclear reactors that could not be used to produce plutonium. In return, the North Korean government agreed to end its nuclear weapons program, shut down its plutonium-producing nuclear reactor, and to allow international inspections to ensure it wasn't building any nuclear weapons.

The only problem with the Agreed Framework was that it depended on the good faith of a totalitarian dictatorship in order to be successful.

The Agreed Framework is yet another reminder that there is, in the West, a certain class of politicians-let's call them what they truly are: appeasers-who are always ready to accept at face value the solemn pledges of despots. As soon as a dictator graciously informs them that, say, "This is my last territorial demand in Europe," they giddily hop onto the first plane to Munich to seal the deal, only to be rewarded by slack-jawed stupefaction when they learn that the dictator was lying all along.

The truly inexcusable thing about this behavior is that those politicians never seem to learn from it. No matter how flagrant the violation or obvious the deceit, the appeasers are always ready to extend another round of "second chances," or to restart the "dialogue." After all, the appeasers tell us, we must "negotiate" to come to a resolution of "our differences." We must, we are told, take these despots "at face value," ignoring the obvious fact that the past "agreements" signed by these same dictators consisted of little more than a tissue of lies. If the first solemn pledge from the dictator turns out to be a lie, the appeasers insouciantly inform us that what is needed is yet another agreement.

A negotiation requires that both sides have an intention to abide by the final agreement. When one side has no intention of doing so, then whatever else you may be engaged in, it certainly isn't a negotiation, and any "agreement" that results from such "negotiations" is worth less than the paper on which it's printed. This seems like a fairly obvious and logical conclusion, yet it is one the appeasers seem entirely unable to grasp.

But the rest of us should understand it very clearly, because the failure of the Agreed Framework serves as an instructive lesson when dealing with that other member of the Axis of Evil, Iraq.

For a decade now, Iraq has ignored, sidestepped, or otherwise tried to weasel out of every single agreement it made in the aftermath of the Gulf War. The president has been clear in enumerating the UN Security Council resolutions of which Iraq is in violation. Intelligence services from both the United States and Great Britain have laid out in clear and convincing detail the Iraqi dictator's unceasing efforts to obtain nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

Yet, the policy suggestions of the appeasers have remained unchanged. They tell us we must negotiate the return of inspectors to Iraq, blithely ignoring the fact that the Iraqi regime's history of dealing with inspectors is one of dishonesty and deceit. Rather than attacking Iraq, they tell us we must instead be satisfied with containing his regime, as if a decade of economic sanctions, no-fly zones, and air strikes has been anything other than a failed attempt to do just that.

Patrick Henry, in his famous speech before the Second Virginia Convention, said, "I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past." It is not unreasonable for us to ask, much as Patrick Henry did on that spring day in 1775, whether following the appeasers' policies has resulted in success in the past. It is also not unreasonable to ask whether the past performance of Saddam Hussein's regime gives us any reason to hope for a positive outcome to new negotiations.

The answer to both questions, of course, is "no."

This is not to say that negotiations should be abandoned entirely. But it does mean that any negotiations must be backed up with the credible threat of force, and that the Iraqi regime must know that failure to disarm itself will result in the regime's destruction. If, under those conditions, we can forge an agreement that results in Iraq's verifiable disarmament, we should do so, rather than launch a military attack. Negotiations with Iraq under any other conditions, however, are pointless.

The appeasers who created the abysmal failure that is the Agreed Framework with North Korea are the same people who now presume to tell us that we should follow their policy prescriptions with regard to Iraq.

Patrick Henry, however, had some advice to offer us about that as well.

"[I]t is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope," said Henry. "We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it."

We already know the whole truth about Iraq, and are prepared to provide for it. What remains is for us to reject the counsel of the appeasers.

 

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