From the New York Times today:

President Bush signaled a major shift in approach to North Korea today, saying for the first time that if North Korea abandoned its nuclear weapons program he would consider offering a “bold initiative” that could bring aid, energy and eventually even diplomatic and security agreements to the politically and economically isolated country. . . .

Mr. Bush’s aides insist there are major differences between his approach and Mr. Clinton’s. North Korea must not only refreeze its activities at the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, they say, but it must actually dismantle them. “We don’t ever want to be in the position again where the North Koreans can just flip this switch on again,” said one senior administration official.

Mr. Bush seemed to hint at that today when he said, “What this nation won’t do is be blackmailed.”

A country threatens another with nuclear weapons and a world war, and the other country offers them lots of aid in exchange. Only in Doublespeak is that not blackmail.

The repercussions of this capitulation are frightening: every country hostile to the U.S. will learn that we will give in to any demands if they are backed up by a nuclear threat. So much for the practicality of pragmatism. What we desperately need is a morally principaled leader. It is a life or death situation.

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