Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Monday, February 03, 2003

Adm. C. Turner Joy's 1955 book ("How Communists Negotiate") recounting his negotiations with North Korea. Gives us insight we should remember when we see the situation in North Korea today.

Joy's observations might serve the United States if it ever sits down for negotiations with North Korea about its pledge to prove that it is not developing nuclear weapons. In return, North Korea wants a nonaggression treaty with its former battlefield foe, as well as economic aid.

It took two years for armistice talks over the Korean War to end, and Joy was eventually replaced as chief negotiator. In the current nuclear crisis, the North Koreans might not have that kind of time, particularly if Washington wins a possible war against Iraq and focuses more intently on the standoff.

``They're not going to want to bluff and delay and not get to the negotiating table with the United States in the next month or so,'' said Bruce Bennett, an analyst at the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Rand Corporation. But he said it wasn't certain that North Korea was willing to give up its nuclear programs.

Negotiations offer a level playing field of sorts, where North Korean officials can probe for weaknesses in delegates of the world's only superpower.

U.S. military officials, all students of Joy's book, say North Korean tactics include setting arbitrary deadlines and agreeing in principle but not in practice. They make preconditions as a prelude to a deal, though the preconditions are the real goal.

Another North Korean strategy, officials say, is to generate a crisis and create momentum that leads to a breakthrough in talks. Since last month, North Korea has expelled U.N. inspectors, prepared to reactivate nuclear facilities and withdrawn from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

< email | 2/03/2003 01:26:00 PM | link

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