Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chris Dodd accuses Bush of doublespeak on North Korea

Chris Dodd has demanded an explanation of the recent allegations that Ethiopia bought weapons from North Korea with U.S. assent, months after the administration lobbied for sanctions on trade with the communist nation.

Ethiopia has since denied purchasing weapons, arguing it only received a shipment of spare parts:
“This shipment contained spare parts for machinery and engineering equipment and raw material for the making of assorted ammunition for small arms.”
In a letter to Condoleeza Rice, Dodd demanded answers:
In response to North Korea’s nuclear test last year, the administration advanced UN Resolution 1718 in the Security Council that sanctioned North Korea and was unanimously approved in October 2006.

Yet in allowing this purchase to transpire a few months after the resolution passed, the administration seems to have dangerously contradicted itself and undermined its own policy of depriving the North Korean regime of funds, indirectly bolstering it.

Its actions have deepened the perception that the United States dismisses rules and norms when it suits its interests, and that it may even have violated a UN resolution that it championed and has consistently demanded others to uphold. Such doublespeak directly undercuts our political and moral authority and could inhibit the willingness of states to curtail or end their dealings with North Korea, possibly enhancing Pyongyang’s intransigence over the long-term in negotiations over its nuclear weapons program.

Reports suggest that the administration assented to this transfer because of overriding counter-terrorism priorities, specifically Ethiopia’s operations in Somalia against the Islamic Courts Union, some of whose members have links to Al-Qaeda. This raises the question of why the administration couldn’t find another way to meet Ethiopia’s military needs without agreeing to it doing business with an alleged member of the “axis of evil.”

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