Friday, December 22, 2006

Not Looking Good ...

So, as we prepare to close out 2006, problems that we carried over from 2004 and 2005 will still be with us.

Let's peruse the headlines:

6-Power talks end with no new date scheduled in sight.

Members of the South Korean delegation told the Yonhap News agency after the talks that the gulf separating the United States and North Korea was so wide that the participants could not agree on when to resume the discussions.

However, despite the lack of progress, South Korea's chief envoy, Chun Yung-woo, said the week's discussions would help bridge understanding in future talks.

The delegations - the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia - did not issue any kind of joint declaration Friday. The chairman of the talks, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, the lead Chinese negotiator, said the six nations agreed 'to reconvene at the earliest opportunity.'

US envoy Christopher Hill said that it was 'clear that the North Korean team did not have the instructions to go forward.'

'It is my strong hope that when we go back to the negotiations they are prepared to negotiate,' he added.

Little progress has been shown in the more than three years of the nuclear talks, and as a result, Japan's top envoy called into question whether the six-party format should continue.

'There will be opinions questioning the credibility of the six- party talks,' Kenichiro Sasae said.

The same issue was on the American envoy's mind.

'The question is what happens to the process if we don't achieve some success,' said Christopher Hill, the lead US negotiator. 'We are interested in this process in so far as they can lead to results. We are not interested in the six-party talks in order to talk.'

Meanwhile, no progress on creating a sanctions regime against Iran that all major powers can agree upon:

Diplomats said Russia and China questioned a demand to freeze the financial assets or resources of Iranians working for their country's nuclear programmes.

'We do believe that the financial aspects as well as others are valid elements in the resolution,' said Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin. 'But we must make sure that perfectly legal and innocent activities that have nothing to do with nuclear proliferation can proceed normally.'

No no-cost solutions in sight; and no likelihood that Iraq, which is consuming so much of the attention of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, will improve anytime soon so as to allow for more of a focus on these other problems.

What is even more frustrating is that I could take two posts from December 2005 and repost them here and they would sound "fresh" and current. I'd recommend this one and this one.

US has written off both Iraq and Iran. Iraq as political project for US is over and the President knows it. But he has to stay there to reassure the so-called US allies (I mean those Arab states whose populations are aiding and abetting the insurgency to kill more Americans.)
US has agive up on Iran since the orientation of that state is not going to change any time soon. Nuclear issue etc. are just crutches to carry US policy forward until the next administrations in Tehran and in Washington.
The only cause for frustration is the policy decisions that were made in 2002; we are just living with their consequences.
have to agree with anonymous 736, united states is going to go into holding patterns as current bureaucrats worry about their next job posting while others pick and choose which campaign to work on and promise to fix everything starting jan 2009. problem is that rest of world doesn't have to wait for your electoral calendar to sort itself out.
Unfortunately we have seen our ability to cope with the world's woes greatly reduced in 2006. More so than 2005. This does not bode well for 2007.

However, do have a happy holiday, TWR!
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