Condoleezza Rice is under heavy attack from the neoconservatives for talking turkey with the remaining two members of the Axis of Evil.
First, on North Korea, the ‘cons are apoplectic over the emerging deal with North Korea. The news, of course, is that North Korea is cooperating in earnest on resolving the remaining questions on its nuclear program, and so President Bush is easing sanctions on North Korea and taking the country off the State Department’s list of “terrorist”-sponsoring nations.
The Rosett Report, the blog of Claudia Rosett (a favorite at the Weekly Standard and the American Enterprise Institute) blasts Rice for her op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. In the op-ed, entitled “Diplomacy Is Working on North Korea,” Rice says:
It may be the case that North Korea does not want to give up its nuclear weapons and programs. That is a real possibility. But we should test it, and the best way to do that is through the six-party framework. Is it right to proceed cautiously? Absolutely. But in the final calculation, do we think our current policy is better than the alternatives? Yes, we do. We believe that the six-party framework is the best way to learn more about the threat posed by this closed and opaque regime, and ultimately, together with partners, to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons and programs.
But Rosett, reflecting the general sense of outrage among the neocons, goes way over the top, even for her ilk:
The lesson to date is that America, faced with nuclear blackmail, will bow down, dignify and fortify tyrants, fork over loot, and celebrate the process as a victory for diplomacy. Were North Korea to detonate a nuclear bomb over Los Angeles tomorrow, I start to wonder if Condi Rice and Chris Hill, would describe the cataclysm as “troubling” and then re-cast it as a candid and informative addendum to North Korea’s promised declaration of its nuclear program.
Meanwhile, on Iran, Rice gets it in the neck from none other than the Prince of Darkness himself, Richard Perle. In a Post op-ed, Perle blasts Rice for her diplomacy with Iran:
The secretary of state, whose born-again multilateralism has redeemed her standing at the State Department and among our allies, can rightly claim to have forged a coalition on Iran. But … Rice’s coalition has failed to slow, much less halt, Iran’s unrelenting nuclear weapons program or diminish its support for terrorist groups.
The coalition that Rice thinks a success … is, at best, a “do nothing decisive” group, with at least half its members — Germany, Russia and China — maneuvering for self-serving advantage in their dealings with the mullahs in Iran.
Like the rest of the ‘cons, Perle wants a showdown with Iran, and it’s looking less and less like he’s going to get one. How else to understand the likelihood that the United States is angling to open a US interests section in Tehran for the first time since the embassy was seized in 1979?
Both Pyongyang and Tehran are probably thanking their lucky stars that President Bush invaded the Iraq part of the “Axis of Evil,” since now are they not only off the hook, but they’re actually talking turkey with the turkey in the White House.