When Town Hall was in its infancy on CompuServe, and I was writing three columns a week, Jimmy Carter's illegal negotiations with North Korea that resulted in US assistance in building nuclear weapons to be aimed at Los Angeles and Chicago inspired my most vitriolic pieces. What bothered me, perhaps, more than anything was the fact that Carter's meddling had me siding with Clinton. That was 1994.
Ten years later, we are still digging out from that mess. There were some in the Clinton administration, as there are in any new administration, spoiling for a fight with the communists to prove Clinton's manhood. Clinton himself was not averse to a high-stakes standoff with the K-combs. Carter's capitulation before CNN cameras left Clinton with no choice to build nuclear reactors for North Korea while fueling its cruel communist dictatorship with American gasoline and oil.
Today, after three years of Bush administration snubbing of the North Koreans, our screw-you policy is paying off. North Korea will permit US, not UN, nuclear inspectors into its facilities. While Pyongyang's new semi-permeability may be a ploy to prove to the US that they have an advanced nuclear weapons program, it will give US inspectors a chance to more fully understand what the communists are up to. Moreover, coming on the heels of Libya's capitulation and a potential new opening in Iran, it could signal that the last and most recalcitrant of the Axis of Evils nations, having witnessed the Saddam medical exam videos, is ready to play by the rules. If so, my 2004 predictions are already shot, and the Bush doctrine is on its way to becoming the most successful Western foreign policy position since the American Revolution.