“We will not be drawn into rewarding North Korea for bad behavior,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said today, after revelations that the world’s most reclusive state showed off its latest advances in uranium enrichment. “They frequently anticipate doing something outrageous or provocative and forcing us to jump through hoops as a result. We’re not going to buy into this cycle.”
Those are sound intentions, although analysts are already predicting the United States will find a way to restart six-party talks in the next six months or so if only as a containment strategy, despite the fact that North Korea appears completely unwilling to talk seriously about denuclearization.
Jack Pritchard, a former State Department official responsible for dealings with North Korea who visited the country earlier this month, said Kim Jong-il’s effort to build the credibility of his son and heir apparent, Kim Jong-un, meant “they can’t negotiate away what little leverage they have.”
In a very different arena, it was not a good day for the financial industry. If nearly causing another Great Depression, and then throwing tens or even hundreds of thousands of Americans out of their homes without properly verified paperwork wasn’t bad enough, the financial industry now finds itself enmeshed in a far-reaching insider trading scandal. None of this helps the industry’s lobbyists as they continue their fight to soften the provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill.
And the final rap on the knuckles today was delivered by Human Rights Watch, blaming the governments of Russia, China and the United States for working against a pact signed by 108 countries to ban cluster bombs that kill civilians long after conflicts. The United States, which reported last year that it had a stockpile of 800 million cluster sub-munitions, says it still needs them in some combat situations but has promised to ban them by 2018.