US president Barack Obama [BHO]'s shadow 'privatised' conduct of negotiating with the DPRK Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea], has given birth to 'mouse'? As Guam Diary observed, New Mexico's Governor and former Clinton administration troubleshooter Bill Richardson, welcomed two senior DPRK diplomats to his mansion in Santa Fe. Mr. Richardson is not an unknown quantity to North Korea, and in his presence, although he denied any official line to the White House, he offered a friendly ear to Pyongyang's desires. At the end of the day's talks [19 August 2009], his spokeswoman told the press that they had just begun, and would touch on North Korea's nuclear policy', but her boss was not acting on behalf of the BHO administration nor was he a negotiator.
What's more at the end of discussions, Mr. Richardson will end up on a 'tour de horizon' on renewable energy technology being developed in New Mexico. Here it is useful to recall that the Clinton administration, after long negotiations with the DPRK, promised Kim Jong il that Washington would help construct light water reactors, to modernising the failing energy infrastructure in the DPRK. A pledge which went unfulfilled, mainly because the Clinton administration put its money on a horse which never came in, that is, the imminent collapse of North Korea. Thanks to the ineptitude of righteous George Bush donning his self serving crusade as an avenging angel, the DPRK became the world's 8th nuclear power!
Mr. Obama is playing with a poor hand. Publicly, he's pushing a hardline on the North Korean question; behind the scenes, like like Indonesia's 'way rang', he is engaging in ahe shadow play of private diplomacy. He is pushing for the DPRK to come back to the six party talks in Beijing. Is he not deaf to the speeches of Kim Jong il who once BHO strong armed the UN Security Council to vote unanimously to impose sanctions on Pyongyang in the wrong headed UN resolution 1854, the North Korean leader couldn't have put it more bluntly, the DPRK would never return to the Beijing talks. In late June 2009, Pyongyang put forth new conditions in response to the hard nosed Obama policy towards North Korea. The bottom line is, sweeping aside this and that, for direct negotiations with the US, something the Bush administration avoids as best as it could, with the calamitous results we all know.
And it is precisely this set of conditions, Governor Richardson and the two senior DPRK diplomats will be going to discuss. [Readers of Guam Diary will find it on the web.] And here for the moment stands what's happening in Santa Fe.
Strange as it may seem, the talks at the Governor's mansion fit the Merriam Webster dictionary's definition of negotiations. Shall we suspend belief as BHO wants us? And play the rest by ear?