As Tyler Marshall cannily points out in the June 15 Los Angeles Times, the new accord between North and South Korea is a damned inconvenience because it undermines the Clinton administration’s plans to abrogate (whoops, Chatterbox means: “reinterpret”) the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. (To read the treaty, click here.) Who was that fool “senior administration official” who blurted out to the New York Times, “We knew that Kim Dae Jung was courageous and a visionary. … Kim Jong Il clearly has some of those qualities, and is displaying some vision himself”? Doesn’t he know that Kim Jong Il is everybody’s favorite example of a “rogue state” dictator liable to detonate a nuclear warhead one morning if his eggs aren’t scrambled just so? No amount of diplomatic mumbo-jumbo maintaining that North Korea should still be subjected to strict import controls can undo the harm caused by news photos of the leaders of the two Koreas raising hands together in triumphant salute.
Clearly, a new heavy will have to be found, and fast. Chatterbox invites readers to nominate a rhetorical substitute. Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries justifying reclassification of France as a “rogue state” are especially welcome.