…it smells like “victory”.
Apparently Condi galpal Sonni Efron can write anything about the North Korean situation--even the truth—if she characterizes it as a “victory” for Condi Rice and our very own Dear Leader, George W. Bush.
The lede from the July 14 LA Times:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice scored a major victory in recent days when North Korea agreed to return to international negotiations.
However, Pyongyang’s return to the talks seems to have a lot to do with Seoul’s surprise offer to transmit 2 million kilowatts of electricity to North Korea than Bush’s high-minded intransigence, Rice’s subtlety, or the luscious repast of steak, cheesecake, and California wine with which we tempted the famished North Korean envoys in Beijing.
As the New York Times reveals, Her Riceness betrayed an unbecoming snippiness when confronted with the obvious:
A senior administration official traveling with Ms. Rice indicated that the Bush administration was startled, and pleasantly surprised, when the South Koreans told of their "very generous" energy offer, as this official put it.
Administration officials insisted that they did not know why North Korea had suddenly decided to return to the talks, but seemed to go out of their way to dismiss the South Korean offer.
"How do you know that the South Koreans made a difference?" Ms. Rice asked, in response to a question. "Have you been talking to the North Koreans about what made a difference? I think I can make the argument that a number of diplomatic efforts here by the Chinese, by the South Koreans, by the United States" were responsible. "The Japanese and the Russians have been involved too," she said.
On a more substantive if equally amusing note, the New York Times revealed that Seoul had discussed the power carrot first with Kim Jung Il, then with Bush in July during Roh’s visit, and finally—presumably having received no encouragement from the White House--sprang the electricity offer anyway.
Which means that South Korea’s patience with Bush and confidence in Rice must be at a pretty low ebb.
But that doesn’t deter La Leezza:
Ms. Rice added, "I think everybody deserves a good deal of credit for convincing the North Koreans that there were no bilateral off-ramps from the six-party talks."
Ah, sweet victory…