Wednesday, April 06, 2005

To My Best and Dearest Friend....

Last night my friend and I went to Barnes and Noble in Georgetown to hear Madeleine Albright and get our copies of her memoirs signed. During the Q&A session my friend (a Korean) asked about the North Korean situation the answer brought up some interesting points:

She gave a detailed and accuracy account of the Clinton Administration's dealing with the nuclear issue including her visit to North Korea and what had led to that event. In explaining what they were trying to do at that time, she noted that the principle was that it is easier to work with a country within a framework (ie: Non-proliferation Treaty, or formal negotiations) than to have no basis for initiating talks or setting guidelines for progress. Although she did acknowledge that the US and allies had been slow on their promises the North had cheated on promise to freeze their program. However, she pointed out that arms deals like that are not made with friends, they are made with enemies. As such, it is important to be cautious but not to cancel the deal because they cheated. She argued that the best way to get progress is to persevere within a set forum or established framework as opposed to not talking at all. She recommended bi-lateral talks in the context of six-party talks.

Another point made was that, even though the Bush Administration disagreed with the tract the Clinton Administration had taken in North Korea, it was detrimental to foreign policy more broadly if each new administration abandoned or changed direction so drastically as to anger and/or confuse its negotiating partners/enemies. She advocated some degree of consistency and maturity in designing ways for a new administration to move forward with their own agenda.

It was most impressive to hear her give the background of the nuclear story with impeccable and accurate detail right done to the dates. And the fact that she could give similarly detailed accounts for the Middle East, Kosovo, and more made it more impressive.

During the book signing we had to write our name on a post-it note so that MA would not have to ask for spelling. My friend and I thought we'd be funny and also add a little note that she could write for us. We didn't think she would pay any attention to our joke but she did! The heading is what MA signed in my book for me!!! How cool.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui