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Back on the Terror List?

Middle East policy notwithstanding, the Obama administration continues to wake up to from its “smart power” dream. Hillary Clinton says they’re mulling over putting North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism:

Clinton was asked on ABC’s “This Week” about a letter that some senators wrote Obama about returning North Korea to that list.

“We’re going to look at it. There’s a process for it,” Clinton said in the interview, taped Thursday in Egypt.”Obviously we would want to see recent evidence of their support for international terrorism.”

She added, “We’re just beginning to look at it. I don’t have an answer for you right now.”

In 2002, the unflagged North Korean freighter, So San, was caught delivering 15 scud missiles and 85 drums of “chemicals” to Yemen. In 2007, Israelis destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor that was being constructed with Pyongyang’s material and intellectual assistance. North Korea is already a chemical and nuclear proliferator, providing deadly weapons and deadly know-how to terror states. If they’re not on the list, there is no list.

The Bush administration’s decision to take North Korea off in 2008 is a strong contender for most depressing sign of Bush Doctrine collapse. The proven futility of that move is a crystalline indicator of the folly of engagement with terror regimes. After North Korea is put back on the list the Kim regime needs to be choked off from international economic and banking services — something else the administration is considering. Of course, as everybody knows, China’s cooperation is essential. If the Obama administration can convince Beijing that a refugee flow from a collapsing North Korea is less of a threat than a nuclear North Korea then the president and the secretary of state will have truly earned the right to be called practitioners of smart power.



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