Special Report

The Charlie Brown Democrats

Clinton's good deal blows up -- radioactively.

By 10.10.06

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They never learn, do they?

Return with me now to those days of yesteryear, the days when Bill Clinton was in the White House and the Democrats controlled the House and Senate.

The date: October 22, 1994.

The headline in the liberal bible, the New York Times, read as follows: "U.S. and North Korea Sign Pact to End Nuclear Dispute: Many Details are Kept Secret." Said the story confidently: "Under the broad agreement concluded here late Monday, North Korea will freeze its nuclear activities, [and] renounce any ambition to become a nuclear power..." In addition, the Times trumpeted what the North Koreans would get in return for these two concessions. "In exchange, an international consortium will replace North Korea's current graphite nuclear reactors, which are considered less dangerous because they produce little weapons grade plutonium."

Said the North Korean chief negotiator of the deal: It is "a very important milestone document of historic significance" that would resolve his country's nuclear dispute with the United States "once and for all." Kang Sok Ju went on some more about this new agreement he had negotiated with the Clinton Administration, and it's worth reprinting in full. Reports the Times:

He said the agreement, once put into effect, would resolve "all questions of the so-called nuclear weapons development by North Korea" that have raised "such unfounded concerns and suspicions. We have neither the intention nor the plan to develop nuclear weapons," Mr. Kang said.

And Bill Clinton believed him. The Times reported it this way: "At a news conference in Washington, President Clinton said the treaty 'was a good deal for the United States.'"

There was one other player in all of this as well. The Times took care to say that "former President Jimmy Carter held talks in Pyongyang with North Korea's dictator Kim Il Sung, that defused the crisis and led to new negotiations with the United States." For his part, Carter went on record earlier in the year in meetings with the North Koreans to say that "I personally believe the crisis is over." What did the North Korean leader (the current dictator's father, Kim Il Sung) think of Carter's efforts? "He told me," said Carter, that "he was very grateful I had gone [to North Korea], and thought it [Carter's effort to make peace and help give the North Koreans light-water reactors] was a very fine accomplishment."

The Times concluded that "Bill Clinton will be the biggest winner, a master negotiator on a critical security issue." Five days later, when the North Koreans expressed skepticism the United States would really give them what they wanted, the Times headlined this story: "Clinton, in Letter, Assures North Koreans on Nuclear Reactors." Said the President in a letter to Kim Jung Il: "I will use the full powers of my office" to assure that the dictator got what he wanted.

Clinton, the "master negotiator" of "a good deal" did just that. And on October 8, 2006, the world learns that in spite of everything that Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and their respective Democratic national security teams believed, the North Koreans have just exploded their first nuclear weapon.

IN SHORT, WITH A WIDE-EYED, the best and the brightest the Democratic Party had to offer went down the road of appeasement with North Korea. Like Charlie Brown always believing Lucy will hold the football, Clinton and Carter raced to the kick-off of peace with a murderous dictator -- only to find out that they had (surprise!) been lied to.

The Clinton legacy, already shredding because of his inability to deal with al Qaeda and terrorism, has just been dealt yet another -- perhaps mortal -- blow by Clinton and Carter's foolish trust in the North Korean father and son dictators. But more importantly, the problem now is that Democrats are running for House and Senate seats all over the nation supporting some version of this very same appeasement policy towards Iraq, the War on Terror, and critically, Iran.

From one end of this country to the other this fall, Democrats are campaigning on pledges to trust them on national security issues. These are Democrats in Senate races with names like Bob Casey, Jr. in Pennsylvania, Sherrod Brown in Ohio, James Webb in Virginia, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, and Jon Tester in Montana. In House races they are people like Pennsylvania's Jack Murtha (who wants to get out of Iraq and redeploy in Okinawa), Illinois' Tammy Duckworth (who pledges to leave Iraq "sooner rather than later"), Indiana's Brad Ellsworth (who is so tight-lipped about Iraq his website simply doesn't list the issue at all) and, again in Pennsylvania, Patrick Murphy ("we need to start bringing our men and women home now"). All of this before we get to Connecticut's famously pacifist Senate candidate, Ned Lamont.

Page scandal or no page scandal, the reason not to entrust Democrats with a majority in Congress again has just been vividly illustrated with an underground nuclear explosion by a North Korean dictator who was trusted by Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter for his fervent promise never to do what he has now just done.

The question Americans who are understandably furious over the page scandal must now ask is a simple one.

Should America's national security be turned over to a Congress full of Charlie Browns?

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.