[Update: Well, that didn’t take long. Welcome from Little Green Footballs, Michelle Maklin, the Jawa Report, the unlinkable Memeorandum, and my good friend at Gateway Pundit. Regulars here know that I’m completely disgusted with Bush’s own appeasement of Kim Jong Il, but while you’re here, don’t miss the story of Esther Kim, an Obama constituent whose husband was kidnapped and killed by the North Koreans. Obama inspired her Hope, then crushed it with Change.]
The Chosun Sinbo, the mouthpiece of North Korea’s Japanese front organization Chongryon and often for the North Korean regime itself, has announced its preference for Obama over McCain, whom it calls “a variant of Bush” and “nothing better than a scarecrow of neoconservatives,” which is a bit odd considering that the Bush Administration’s giveaway diplomacy is better for Kim Jong Il than even Clinton’s awful performance.
[Update 2: Original Korean here:
조선반도와의 관계에서 본다면 부쉬정권의 잘못을 엄하게 비판하고 조선의 지도자와 조건없이 만나겠다고 공언해온 오바마가 《부쉬의 아류》이자 네오콘의 허수아비나 다름없는 매케인보다 낫기는 낫다. [Chosun Shinbo]
I’m sure someone can improve on this translation:
We will see a better relationship between the U.S. and the Korean Peninsula with Obama, who sternly criticizes Bush and who would meet the leader of Chosun without pre-conditions, than with the “Bush clone” and scarecrow of the neocons McCain.
Somehow I had neglected to put the World Tribune link in there before. I’ve fixed that.]
It’s worth pausing to consider the disturbing rhetorical similarity between the Chosun Sinbo and Daily Kos, although the sheer incoherence of Bush’s North Korea policy makes any comparison to it questionable.
Bush’s North Korea policy may be a poor baseline for comparison, but the candidates themselves have given the North Koreans plenty to judge them by. Both Obama and McCain have told us how they’d deal with the North Koreans. McCain has expressed his distaste for the latest variation of Bush’s policy and emphasized his willingness to raise uncomfortable topics, including human rights. Obama has already shown a disappointing lack of consistency in holding North Korea accountable for its intolerable behavior. If I understand Obama’s policy to consist of direct summit talks, aid, and trying to coax North Korea into opening itself up, that same policy was tried for years, without success, by the South Koreans, and it’s now being tried without success by President Bush. If I understand McCain’s policy to consist of tightening sanctions until North Korea verifiably disarms, that was tried briefly by the Bush Administration and showed signs of considerable success until its inexplicable and premature abandonment.
(Bear in mind that the sanctions the Bush Administration applied for just 17 months were a pale shadow of the power we could potentially apply but did succeed in driving Kim Jong Il back to the bargaining table. When we lifted the pressure, the North Koreans resorted to form and balked at full disclosure or disarmament. And as we’ve since learned, they weren’t dealing in good faith to begin with. The key to any successful negotiation with the North Koreans is showing them that you’re fully capable and prepared to hasten and accept the collapse of the regime as an alternative.)
North Korea’s endorsement of Obama will probably draw comparisons to the unwanted Hamas endorsement of Obama. Hamas withdrew the endorsement after Obama spoke at AIPAC’s convention. Fidel Castro, by contrast, took a more sophisticated and self-aware approach:
[O]n Monday [Castro] gave Senator Barack Obama an endorsement of sorts, calling him “the most progressive candidate to the U.S. presidency” while also berating him for his plan to continue the trade embargo against Cuba. “Were I to defend him, I would do his adversaries an enormous favor,” Mr. Castro said. “I have therefore no reservations about criticizing him.” [N.Y. Times, The Caucus]
Which Castro then proceeded to do, on Obama’s stated support for trade sanctions during a campaign speech to Cuban exiles in Miami.
The Republicans’ efforts to capitalize on the Hamas endorsement made me slightly squeamish, because there are separate issues here that shouldn’t be mixed. It isn’t fair for anyone to imply, based on an unwanted endorsement, that a candidate in any way supports the endorsing entity’s ideology or actions. It is fair to ask whether the endorsement suggests that the endorsing entity knows something about the candidate. Why would Hamas or Kim Jong Il both believe that if Obama is elected, his policies would mean boom times for evildoers? Are they wrong?
Finally, as with Ron Paul’s refusal to return contributions from white supremacists, it’s reasonable to demand that a candidate unambiguously disavow the endorsement and denounce the endorser. In the case of Hamas, Obama rightly did this. Given that North Korea’s human rights atrocities are as repellent as any since the Khmer Rouge was driven from Phnom Penh 30 years ago, Obama has both the duty to speak out about the evils happening in North Korea today and an opportunity to refute those who say he would merely appease tyrants.
Update 3: Now I’m been linked by the Hillary Clinton forum:
One of the reasons he supports Obama is that he knows he’s a fool and Obama flip flopped on removing N. Korea (de-listing) from the terrorist nation list. He NOW says he would remove them even though they haven’t divulged the whereabouts of Rev. Kim (a legal US citizen living in N. Korea). See my post about compiling a list of Obama’s broken promises.
This needs to be blogged and sent everywhere!! Obama is a very dangerous man! Fearing him is not paranoia. It is rational thought!
And we have dredged a swamp. Pandagon, which will forever be remembered (by most of those who do at all, at least) as an embarrassment to the John Edwards campaign, offers a characteristically incoherent and foul rant. Your thirteen minutes are over, ladies. I can say “ladies,” can’t I? See your doctor if any of that seems coherent to you. I didn’t think we could set a lower bar, but Kos diarist “Gramarye” links with this fatwa calling for prayers for Michelle Malkin’s death. No, seriously:
According to her blog,
Take me now, Lord. My life as a blogger is complete.
So let’s all help Michelle’s request along and say a little prayer to the Lord. [….] But I have HOPE for Michelle’s plea. [Daily Kos]
Hey, they have standards to uphold over there. Yes, I kept screenshots. To be fair, even most of the Kos commenters are aghast.