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North Korea: Witness to Transformation

John Kerry on North Korea

by | January 27th, 2013 | 07:00 am

Thanks to Roberta Cohen, we were alerted to an interesting passage in John Kerry’s Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.

Kerry reiterated a tough line on Iran, where he noted that the policy of the administration was not containment but prevention. No mention was made of North Korea in the context of his remarks on non-proliferation, where it is clearly too late for “prevention.” As we noted in an earlier post, there is at least some paper trail suggesting Kerry might be willing to try something different. Yet as we have also noted over the last several days, the North Koreans are hardly making it easy.

However, Kerry also emphasized that US foreign policy cannot be defined by “drones and deployments alone”:

“American foreign policy is also defined by food security and energy security, humanitarian assistance, the fight against disease and the push for development, as much as it is by any single counter terrorism initiative. It is defined by leadership on life threatening issues like climate change, or fighting to lift up millions of lives by promoting freedom and democracy from Africa to the Americas or speaking out for the prisoners of gulags in North Korea or millions of refugees and displaced persons and victims of human trafficking.”

Examples of this sort are not chosen lightly. We reported recently on comments by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights about the need for a commission of inquiry, with the prison camp system as an obvious focus. Is the new Secretary of State signing us on to this effort?