Credit where credit is due. Today's announcement of "nuclear transparency" from North Korea is a decisive landmark in the only positive piece of the Bush legacy.
I'm not particularly excited by the dismantling of the nuclear reactor; could well be a Potemkin display. Nevertheless, it marks another public step toward returning North Korea to the civilized world, and a public step away from belligerency. It will be much harder for Dear Leader Kim to backslide now.
It's frustrating to see our commentators responding in lockstep form to this event based solely on team loyalty and blind ideology. This success proves nothing about Bush's childlike faith in the power of democracy to cure all ills; it certainly doesn't prove that Iraq will eventually go the same way.
It does prove that people who are capable
of mastering civilization will do so when given the chance, and it proves that Rice's campaign of carrots and sticks, applied in concert with Japan, South Korea and China, is working.
Plain fact: Koreans and Arabs are different.
We have fifty years of dramatic empirical proof that Koreans love capitalism and democracy. South Korea does a better job of both than we do.
We also have 1000 years of proof that Arabs are totally immune to the charms of both capitalism and democracy. The Bush method, applied to Arabs, will achieve nothing but American bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, because we have been corrupted by fifty years of Leninism, we are not allowed to discuss this obvious empirical difference openly, and we are not allowed to draw the obvious conclusion, because the only way to reach this conclusion requires the use of ethnic and racial categories.