There are encouraging signs that the bizarre inability of the world’s only hyperpower to enable the remittance of $25 million to North Korea is attracting more and more skeptical interest.
And there are signs that the hardliners are getting desperate. John Bolton has been summoned to muddy the waters with a conspiracy theory op-ed.
Arms Control Wonk posts critically on a John Bolton op-ed in the Wall Street Journal attempting to create a narrative involving “secret agreements” to explain why the Banco Delta Asia issue is still holding up the Six Party Agreement.
Now, the Wachovia bit. Bolton is obsessed that the North Korea deal has some secrety side arrangement including US bankers (code word!), the Trilateral commission and the Illuminati. Well, at least one bank, Wachovia:
Third, we now face the nagging question whether there are other secret side deals beyond BDA. Of course, the BDA agreement was not so secret that Kim Jong Il was barred from knowing about it, by definition. Most troubling, however, is that State apparently thought it too sensitive to share with the American people until the February deal broke down in an unavoidably public way. (blockquote from Bolton’s op-ed)
I haven’t got my hands on the full op-ed yet, but it appears that Bolton is pushing the idea that there is a conspiracy between the State Department and Wachovia to appease the North Koreans by using the BDA remittance to provide North Korea with a permanent conduit to the world financial system.
For that premise to work, you’d have to believe that a U.S. bank would be willing to defy the Treasury Department for the sake of North Korean business and whatever goodies the appeasement-happy State Department can push its way.
Not too likely. There’s a more logical explanation.
I added my two cents in the comments:
Bolton’s argument makes no sense. He’s trying to substitute an implausible narrative (the North Koreans are scheming not to get their money back) for a more plausible one: that hardliners in the Treasury Department allied with Bolton are scheming to block the BDA resolution so the Six Party Agreement will fall apart. His gyrations have to be even more difficult and contrived because the State Department is seeking to force the issue by identifying a bank (Wachovia) that is willing to take the money if Treasury agrees.
So here come Bolton’s bizarre conspiracy theories about “secret side agreements”.
It’s all rhetorical chaff, thrown with increasing desperation because, if there’s another Condi talks to Hank moment, Treasury grants the approval and the money goes to North Korea and the Six Party Agreement proceeds, journalists and Congresscritters are going to start thinking: it looks like some people in Treasury held up this agreement for three months. What was all that about?
I’m glad ACW is paying attention to this issue. Maybe other outlets will follow.