McCain goes for the husband of his potential 2008 rival in this article.
[quote]“I would remind Senator (Hillary) Clinton and other Democrats critical of the Bush administration’s policies that the framework agreement her husband’s administration negotiated was a failure,” McCain said at a news conference after a campaign appearance for Republican Senate candidate Mike Bouchard.
“The Koreans received millions and millions in energy assistance. They’ve diverted millions of dollars of food assistance to their military,” he said.[/quote]
Slate’s Fred Kaplan responds in this Slate editorial:
[quote]McCain’s version of history goes beyond “revisionism” to outright falsification. It is the exact opposite of what really happened. Let’s take a look at the plain facts.
In the spring of 1994, barely a year into Bill Clinton’s presidency, the North Koreans announced that they were about to remove the fuel rods from their nuclear reactor (as a first step to reprocessing them into plutonium), cancel their commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (which they had signed in 1985), and expel the international weapons inspectors (who had been guarding the rods under the treaty’s authority).
Did Clinton “reward” them for doing these things, as McCain claims? Far from it. Not only did he push the U.N. Security Council to consider sanctions, he also ordered the Joint Chiefs of Staff to draw up plans to send 50,000 additional troops to South Korea—bolstering the 37,000 already there—along with more than 400 combat jets, 50 ships, and several battalions of Apache helicopters, Bradley fighting vehicles, multiple-launch rockets, and Patriot air-defense missiles. He also sent in an advance team of 250 soldiers to set up logistical headquarters for the influx of troops and gear.
He sent an explicit signal that removing the fuel rods would cross a “red line.” Several of his former aides insist that if North Korea had crossed that line, he would have launched an airstrike on the Yongbyon reactor, even knowing that it might lead to war.[/quote]
And this is Kaplan again, back in 2004, saying that in fact it was Bush’s inept handling of the DPRK (or whatever that abbreviation is) that led to the current situation:
[quote]…the North Koreans had another route to nuclear weapons–a stash of radioactive fuel rods, taken a decade earlier from its nuclear power plant in Yongbyon. These rods could be processed into plutonium–and, from that, into A-bombs–not in years but in months. Thanks to an agreement brokered by the Clinton administration, the rods were locked in a storage facility under the monitoring of international weapons-inspectors. Common sense dictated that–whatever it did about the centrifuges–the Bush administration should do everything possible to keep the fuel rods locked up.
Unfortunately, common sense was in short supply. After a few shrill diplomatic exchanges over the uranium, Pyongyang upped the ante. The North Koreans expelled the international inspectors, broke the locks on the fuel rods, loaded them onto a truck, and drove them to a nearby reprocessing facility, to be converted into bomb-grade plutonium. The White House stood by and did nothing. Why did George W. Bush–his foreign policy avowedly devoted to stopping “rogue regimes” from acquiring weapons of mass destruction–allow one of the world’s most dangerous regimes to acquire the makings of the deadliest WMDs? Given the current mayhem and bloodshed in Iraq, it’s hard to imagine a decision more ill-conceived than invading that country unilaterally without a plan for the “post-war” era. But the Bush administration’s inept diplomacy toward North Korea might well have graver consequences. President Bush made the case for war in Iraq on the premise that Saddam Hussein might soon have nuclear weapons–which turned out not to be true. Kim Jong-il may have nuclear weapons now; he certainly has enough plutonium to build some, and the reactors to breed more.[/quote]