October 25, 2002
Lawyers have a maxim: never ask a question to which you don’t know the answer. Perhaps the diplomatic counterpart is never make a demand if you aren’t prepared for the response. The Bush administration might have felt it had the answer to whether North Korea had a clandestine uranium enrichment program to obtain fissile material, but it appears not to have developed a position about what to do if the North owned up to that fact but failed to repent. Now that Pyongyang has done just that – and said the 1994 Agreed Framework that constrained its known nuclear program is nullified – Washington is scrambling to figure out how to respond.