Obama's North Korean Policy Blunder
April 16, 2009 • 1:32AM

In an interview with the PBS "Newshour," conducted live on April 14, noted Korea expert Selig Harrison strongly criticized the move by the Obama Administration in taking the North Korea satellite launch issue to the United Nations. "I think, really, in retrospect, we're going to look back on it as one of the first big foreign policy mistakes of the Obama administration, because we knew this was coming," Harrison said.

That's a fair assessment, commented Lyndon LaRouche. LaRouche added that it is also relevant to examine whether the recent North Korean actions have any relationship to the Obama Administration's recent statements toward stationing "missile defense" outposts in Eastern Europe.

Harrison was interviewed by host Gwen Ifill, along with former Bush Administration State Department adviser on Korea Balbina Hwang. While Hwang continued with the hawkish line of the previous Administration, Harrison challenged her point by point.

Harrison, a longtime critic of the regime of threats against North Korea, and publisher of a 2002 book on Korean negotiations, has visited North Korea many times, including over the last year. He reported that the North Koreans have changed policy with the new administration, and are insisting, " If you want de-nuclearization, first you have to normalize, because the reason we want a nuclear deterrent is because we don't trust you."

Harrison noted that Russia and China had opposed action at the United Nations, and also that North Korea had a total right, under the UN Outer Space Treaty, to carry out its satellite launch. "I mean, this was not really provocative to anybody," he added.

In conclusion, Harrison expressed hope that the "ceremonial game" which the U.N. resolution represented, would be dropped, and that bilateral channels would get nuclear negotiations going again.