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Jong Il, o doido

...mas nem tão doido assim:

Much has been written about the North Korean nuclear danger, but one crucial issue has been ignored: just how much credible evidence is there to back up Washington's uranium accusation? Although it is now widely recognized that the Bush administration misrepresented and distorted the intelligence data it used to justify the invasion of Iraq, most observers have accepted at face value the assessments the administration has used to reverse the previously established U.S. policy toward North Korea.

But what if those assessments were exaggerated and blurred the important distinction between weapons-grade uranium enrichment (which would clearly violate the 1994 Agreed Framework) and lower levels of enrichment (which were technically forbidden by the 1994 accord but are permitted by the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty [NPT] and do not produce uranium suitable for nuclear weapons)?

A review of the available evidence suggests that this is just what happened. Relying on sketchy data, the Bush administration presented a worst-case scenario as an incontrovertible truth and distorted its intelligence on North Korea (much as it did on Iraq), seriously exaggerating the danger that Pyongyang is secretly making uranium-based nuclear weapons. This failure to distinguish between civilian and military uranium-enrichment capabilities has greatly complicated what would, in any case, have been difficult negotiations to end all existing North Korean nuclear weapons programs and to prevent any future efforts through rigorous inspection. On June 24, 2004, the United States proposed a new, detailed denuclearization agreement with North Korea at six-party negotiations (including the United States, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and North Korea) in Beijing. Before discussions could even start, however, the Bush administration insisted that North Korea first admit to the existence of the alleged uranium-enrichment facilities and specify where they are located. Pyongyang has so far refused to confirm or deny whether it has such facilities; predictably, the U.S. precondition has precluded any new talks.

If it turns out that North Korea did not cheat after all, the prospects for a new denuclearization agreement would improve, because the Bush administration could no longer argue that Pyongyang is an inherently untrustworthy negotiating partner. At any rate, to break the diplomatic deadlock, the United States urgently needs a new strategy. Washington should deal first with the very real and immediate threat posed by the extant stockpile of weapons-usable plutonium that Pyongyang has reprocessed since the breakdown of the Agreed Framework. Measures to locate and eliminate any enrichment facilities that can produce weapons-grade uranium are essential but should come in the final stages of a step-by-step denuclearization process. Above all, Washington must not once more become embroiled in a military conflict on the basis of a worst-case assessment built on limited, inconclusive intelligence. There is a real danger that military and other pressures on North Korea, designed to bolster a failing diplomatic process, could escalate into a full-scale war that none of North Korea's neighbors would support.

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