Saturday, September 09, 2006

Time to Give Peace a Chance in North Korea?

According to a poll by Harris Interactive published in the Financial Times, 30 per cent of European respondents believe the U.S. is the greatest threat to global stability.

Iran is second on the list with 23 per cent, followed by China with 15 per cent, Iraq with 14 per cent, and North Korea trailing with eight per cent. In other words, the US is perceived as 4 times the threat to global stability as North Korea.

Elsewhere, we read that the president of Sudan just agreed to release an American journalist after meeting with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. You may recall that, back in 1996, Richardson, a former congressman, U.N. ambassador and energy secretary during the Clinton administration, secured the release of three Red Cross workers from Marxist rebels in Sudan.

Instead of the Bush Administration's vision to ratchet up sanctions, what about the option of sending someone like Gov. Richardson over to North Korea for some talks?

Bill Richardson is no stranger to North Korea, having visited the isolated country several times as a congressman during the 1990's to negotiate the release of missing the release of missing Americans or their remains, and a few times since.

To quote a former U.S. Ambassador to Korea, “Semi-official U.S. estimates are that Pyongyang has sufficient nuclear material for six to 12 nuclear weapons. …Why, at such a time, choose sanctions, a policy option whose historical record is overwhelmingly one of failure?”

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