The Corner

Nuclear Policy Meltdown

No big surprise that North Korea is restarting its nuclear reprocessing plant at Yongbyon. In September 2005 the North pledged to abandon its nuclear program, then tested a nuclear weapon in October 2006. In February 2007 we reached a deal that they would end their program again — NRO analysis here  – and now that agreement has apparently failed. Our main problem is that we expect countries not to use the leverage they have to keep us off balance when it is in their interest to do so. Any agreement with North Korea will fail precisely because once the North has collected the promised aid money and reaped other benefits, they will need a new deal, thus will have to foment a crisis in order to get one. Meanwhile, they can expand their nuclear arsenal, which gives them additional security from attack. And it is hard not to connect North Korea’s renewed interest in nuclear fuel reprocessing with continued nuclear developments in Iran. Our record of failure in dealing with this issue is embarrassing, and very dangerous.

James S. Robbins — James S. Robbins is a political commentator for National Review and USA Today and is senior fellow for national security affairs on the American Foreign Policy Council. He is a ...

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