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There He Goes Again


When Carter’s offer to mediate was being considered, according to the U.S. officials who negotiated the Agreed Framework for Clinton (writing in the excellent Going Critical): “Some officials (especially those who had worked for Carter in the past) worried that the strong-willed former president would freelance when he disagreed with U.S. policy.”  When Carter came to the White House for the trip-prep, National Security Adviser Anthony Lake wanted Carter fully briefed so he could “accurately describe” the U.S. position.  But, the authors note, “Carter clearly viewed his role far more expansively than as a messenger between Washington and Pyongyang.” 

Now Carter writes:

I went to Pyongyang and negotiated an agreement under which North Korea would cease its nuclear program at Yongbyon and permit inspectors from the atomic agency to return to the site to assure that the spent fuel was not reprocessed.

Carter announced the details of this “agreement” on CNN without even consulting the White House first.  And the devil was in his concessions to Pyongyang: no anytime-anywhere inspections, and no dismantling of the plutonium program.   Clinton was livid.  According to Going Critical, one official at the White House told him, “‘What we have is nothing new… The problem is that North Korea now has a former president as its spokesman.’”  And that’s what the Clinton people thought of Carter and his “agreement.”