Category Archives: State

Bosworth: NK Maintaining Radio Silence

In “testimony to the SFRC”:, Special Representative for North Korea Policy Steven Bosworth spells out the diplomatic situation:

bq.. Fourth and finally, we remain willing to engage North Korea to resolve our differences through diplomacy, including bilaterally, within the framework of the Six-Party process. A central tenet of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy approach to date has been a willingness to engage in dialogue with those with which we have had differences, sometimes very serious differences. From the beginning, this has been the approach we have pursued with North Korea. But North Korea greeted the open hand of the new Administration with preparations to launch a ballistic missile. When I was appointed by the President and Secretary Clinton, I proposed to the North Koreans a visit to Pyongyang, in the spirit of engagement, rather than threat. To this day, I have received no response.

On our trip, we made clear that the United States remains open to bilateral dialogue with North Korea in conjunction with the multilateral effort to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. As we have repeatedly stated, the United States has no hostile intent towards the people of North Korea, nor are we threatening to change the North Korean regime through force. We remain committed to the September 2005 Joint Statement from the Six-Party Talks, the core goal of which is the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through peaceful means. We believe it benefits North Korea’s own best interests to return to serious negotiations to pursue this goal. The United States position remains unchanged: we will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state.

In conclusion, diplomatic outreach will remain possible if North Korea shows an interest in abiding by its international obligations and improving its relations with the outside world. If not, the United States will do what it must do to provide for our security and that of our allies. We will work with the international community to take defensive measures and to bring significant pressure to bear for North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs. The choices for the future are North Korea’s.

p. Shorter version: The ball is in Pyongyang’s court.

_Update: Also of interest are “Bosworth’s remarks to the Korea Society”: in New York last week._

HRC is Worried

Elise Labott of CNN “quotes the Secretary of State”:

“I think that we cannot underscore the seriousness of the existential threat posed to the state of Pakistan by continuing advances, now within hours of Islamabad, that are being made by a loosely confederated group of terrorists and others who are seeking the overthrow of the Pakistani state, a nuclear-armed state,” Clinton said in an appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday.

“I don’t hear that kind of outrage and concern coming from enough people that would reverberate back within the highest echelons of the civilian and military leadership of Pakistan,” she added.

Welcome to the club, Madame Secretary.

CNN goes on to quote “Ambassador Husain Haqqani”:, who rather articulately says what’s ~not~ wrong with the current policy of dithering and appeasement.

Elaine Grossman of Global Security Newswire “also quotes Clinton”: as saying that the Pakistan situation “poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world.”

These are pretty remarkable remarks about a Major Non-NATO Ally.

Still. I promise that I’m not going to try to turn this into a “what’s-the-matter-with-Pakistan”: blog. So, enough for now.

Update: Get your fix from “Bill Roggio”:

Update 2: And from “Jane Perlez and colleagues”: And “Glenn Kessler”:

Continuing Resolution, Ctd.

Last week, during a well-attended discussion of US-Russian nuclear arms reduction talks, Rose Gottemoeller “offered this thought”: on the Dec. 5 expiration date of the START treaty:

bq. You know, if things aren’t going well, you can’t rush to the finish just to get something done. And I want to make it clear that from the perspective of the United States, we will do what we have to do to get this negotiation done, but as Secretary Clinton said when she went before the Congress for her own hearing, she said, if necessary, we will look for ways to find more time for the negotiators. So just bear that in mind as well.

“Makes sense to me”:

Batman Begins

With the much-anticipated North Korean space launch so long in coming, everyone’s running out of things to say. Glenn Kessler of the _Washington Post_ gets “a few different perspectives”: on Stephen Bosworth, everyone’s favorite part-time envoy, and his controversial part-time-itude.

“Been there”:, “done that”:

Buried at the end of the story is the good stuff, some comments from “Bruce Wayne”: himself. You read, I’ll interpret:

bq. “I will not be the day-to-day representative in the six-party negotiations,” Bosworth said, adding that he will focus more on broader policy issues, including bilateral negotiations with North Korea. “Ideally one would like to meet with the leader,” Kim Jong Il, he said. “I would like to reach higher in the foreign ministry than we have been able to.”

_Translation:_ Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan — considered, relatively speaking, the voice of reasonableness, and the most authoritative figure who routinely speaks to foreigners — has been hard to reach lately. Perhaps they want to make their point with that space launch first.

bq. The new envoy said key periods when he must be at the school are fairly predictable. “A lot of what I do for Fletcher, I can do on the road,” he said. “I don’t see a major problem. I think that it is manageable. I am fortunate in that I have extremely good people in both operations, and I will rely heavily on them.”

_Translation:_ You can send emails from the Beijing airport these days, you know, as long as you don’t mind “the Chinese reading them”:

Bosworth said it was a surprise to him when Clinton called and offered the job. By coincidence, he was visiting North Korea when rumors began circulating that he would be tapped.

“As I told the North Koreans, I had not had a single conversation with anyone in the Obama administration about anything. But as soon as I returned from Beijing, I was asked to call the State Department and ended up talking to the secretary,” he said. “She was very explicit that, in her view, this could be done in coordination with the deanship.”

_Translation:_ I’m doing this job on my own terms. I’m not planning to sit by the phone in Foggy Bottom, waiting for KJI to call, thankyouverymuch.

The “abovementioned visit was covered”: right here at your very favorite arms control/nonproliferation website. So was “the odd way that the South Korean press had the story before Bosworth did”:

bq. “We have got to deal with it,” Bosworth said, referring to the North Korean nuclear arsenal. “It has strategic urgency. You can’t simply let it cool, not only because of its implications for us but also because of its implications for countries in the area, including our two allies [Japan and South Korea]. So we’ve got to be seen to be dealing with this. That being said, it sure is not easy.”

_Translation:_ What he said.

Bonus item! The invaluable “FCNL Nuclear Calendar”: mentions an upcoming talk, involving some other folks who were in North Korea around the same time as Stephen Bosworth and the High Council of Morts:

bq. March 30 Noon-2:00 p.m., Susan Shirk and Stephan Haggard, University of California, San Diego; Marcus Noland, Peterson Institute for International Economics; and Karin Lee, National Committee on North Korea, “The Political and Economic Situation in North Korea: Implications for U.S. Policy.” University of California Washington Center, 1608 Rhode Island Ave., NW, Washington. RSVP to Joseph McGhee by “email”

Incidentally, this event is _not_ listed at the “website”: of the University of California Washington Center. C’mon, folks, get with the program…

Gottemoeller. Gottemoeller? Gottemoeller!

So says the “White House”:


Office of the Press Secrectary

President Obama Announces Key State Department Appointment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Rose Gottemoeller for Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance.

President Obama said, “Turning the tide on the threat of nuclear weapons and strengthening the international non-proliferation regime is one of the great and urgent challenges of our time. Rose Gottemoeller’s extraordinary commitment and expertise make her a valuable addition to the State Department and my national security team as we renew American diplomacy to create a more secure world.”

Rose Gottemoeller Biography:

Rose Gottemoeller served as Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center from January 2006 to December 2008. Currently, she has resumed her position as Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment, where she holds a joint appointment with the Russian and Eurasian Program and the Global Policy Program. A specialist on defense and nuclear issues in Russia and the other former Soviet states, Gottemoeller’s research at the Endowment focused on issues of nuclear security and stability, non-proliferation, and arms control.

Before joining the Endowment in October 2000, Gottemoeller was Deputy Undersecretary for Defense Nuclear Non-proliferation in the U.S. Department of Energy. Previously, she served as the Department’s Assistant Secretary for Non-proliferation and National Security, with responsibility for all non-proliferation cooperation with Russia and the Newly Independent States. She first joined the Department in November 1997 as Director of the Office of Non-proliferation and National Security. Prior to the Energy Department, Gottemoeller served for three years as Deputy Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. From 1993 to 1994, she served on the staff of the National Security Council in the White House as Director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Affairs, with responsibility for denuclearization in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. She has taught courses at Georgetown University on Soviet military policy and Russian security in Eurasia.

Update: We’re all still waiting to hear if “this idea”: prevails.

Rise and Shine

Awhile back, in the umpteenth post on special envoys, “I wrote”:

Somebody wake me when it’s “Rose Gottemoeller’s”: turn.

And it didn’t take too long! Nicholas Kralev has the story at the “Washington Times”:, concerning the possibility of appointing an “ambassador-at-large for strategic negotiations with Russia.”

One name that has been mentioned for a senior position in the field is Rose Gottemoeller, who is expected to become assistant secretary of state for arms control…

Trust me, I deserve no credit for this prediction. It’s a no-brainer. Let’s hope the idea prevails.

Like Shooting Monkeys In A Barrel

“Brent Scowcroft”: on the Middle East:

We’re on the cusp of an explosion of proliferation and Iran is now the poster child.

“Hillary Clinton”: on U.S.-Russia relations:

[W]e’re testing waters, we’re determining what is possible. We’re turning new pages and resetting buttons.

“Musical bonus”:

Narrowing the Gulf

Al Kamen of the _Post_ has the breakdown on “Dennis Ross’s geographic area of responsibility”: — the Persian Gulf littoral states plus Yemen — and much else besides. “Read it here”:

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen. Alphabetically speaking.

You know, I enjoy a little harmless snark as much as anyone, but the students in “Robert Wood’s geography class”: are starting to get downright abusive. Just ’cause their industry is dying, whereas he’s standing up there with job security, doesn’t mean they have to be unpleasant.

I’ll spare you the video.

Batman Returns

In related news, Secretary Clinton has “rolled out”: Stephen Bosworth as the senior-most U.S. representative to North Korea and the Six-Party Talks. The human props you see flashing by there at the start are Sung Kim on the left and Chris Hill on the right.

Here’s one little indicator of just how peculiar the personnel selection process has been. Just a couple of weeks ago, when he was touring the region with a gaggle of other balding, sixty-something males — “the High Council of Morts”: — the wires and the South Korean press were full of reports that “Bosworth would be the envoy”: Everybody knew this, except, it seems, “Bosworth”:

I was there earlier this month as a member of a private delegation. At that point, I had no idea I was going to be returning so soon, nor indeed in this particular role.

That sound you hear? Anthony Zinni’s molars grinding.

And with that, it’s time to move on from these two mini-dramas. Somebody wake me when it’s “Rose Gottemoeller’s”: turn.

“Musical bonus”:


I had it all wrong. All these “movie”: and “TV metaphors”: are way off. It’s music. Take it from “the lady herself”:

QUESTION: : Just a little bit more on the special representatives and envoy. So they take this portfolio, they do this. How do you view what you do then? I mean, I know we’re going to the Middle East, but do you come in when there’s progress, do you come in as – describe how you —

SECRETARY CLINTON: But Martha, I don’t think there is one-size-fits-all. I think that I’ve tried to hire the best people that I can get in the Department, and I’ve tried to recruit the best people that I could convince to take on some of these especially complex portfolios. They work for me and for the President. They report to me and to the President. And we’re in constant contact about what they’re doing, where they’re going, what options they see. So ultimately, I’m accountable because these are my choices and I have chosen to organize the work we face in this way.

But it’s going to be different depending upon the situation. And so I don’t think there’s any way to say, well, this is how it’s going to work because it’s more like jazz; you’ve got to improvise, you’ve got to have people who are both great individual and ensemble players.

You heard her: we’re making it up as we go along.

It’s the new candor, folks. Get used to it…


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Readers–if you are out there, then we’ve had our fun with Stephen (“Bruce Wayne”: Bosworth and his “baffling job description”:

In the interests of equal time, it’s now the turn of another “special” whose title seems more carefully negotiated than his duties. I speak, of course, of Dennis Ross, “Special Advisor for The Gulf and Southwest Asia”:

We go now to “Acting Department Spokesman”: and geography instructor Robert Wood. He gets off to a flying start:

QUESTION: Dennis Ross?

MR. WOOD: Yeah.

QUESTION: What is he in charge exactly of?

MR. WOOD: Well, Dennis is –

QUESTION: Is it Iran? And if it’s not Iran – if it’s Iran, why is it not written in the statement?

MR. WOOD: Well, let me just start off by saying, the Secretary is very happy that Dennis Ross agreed to serve as her special advisor for the Gulf and Southwest Asia. What Dennis is going to be charged with doing is trying to integrate policy development and implementation across a number of offices and officials in the State Department. And, you know, he is going to be providing the Secretary with strategic advice. He will be also trying to ensure that there’s a coherence in our policies and strategies across the region.

Let me be clear, he’s not an envoy. He will not be negotiating. He’ll be working on regional issues. He will not be – in terms of negotiating, will not be involved in the peace process. But again, he is going to be advising the Secretary on long-term strategic issues across the region.

QUESTION: Can you give us – well, what is the State Department’s definition geographically of Southwest Asia? What countries does that include?

MR. WOOD: Matt, I didn’t —

QUESTION: No, you guys named an envoy for Southwest Asia. I presume that you know what countries that includes.

MR. WOOD: Yes. Of course, we know. I just – I don’t have the list to run off – you know, right off the top of my head here. But obviously, that’s going to encompass – that region encompasses Iran. It will – you know, it’ll deal with —

QUESTION: Does it include Iraq?

MR. WOOD: Indeed, it does. He is going to be, again, as I said, providing her with advice – strategic advice, looking at the long term, the bigger picture and how we can make sure that our policies are coherent across the board in the region. And as I said, the Secretary is very pleased that Dennis has agreed to do this. He’s got years of experience in the region. And, you know, it’s a daunting task, but it’s one that she felt was necessary.

QUESTION: And so, does it include parts of the Middle East?

MR. WOOD: Yes.

QUESTION: It does? Does it include Syria, and it includes Israel and it includes Jordan?

MR. WOOD: Well, he’ll be looking at the entire region that will include, you know –

QUESTION: Where does that stop? I mean, you know, you have NEA which, you know, runs all the way to Morocco. So does it include –

MR. WOOD: Well, he’s going to be in touch with a number of officials who work on issues throughout this region.

QUESTION: Does it include Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, countries that are within the – within the Middle East or within the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau, but are not necessarily technically part of Southwest Asia?

MR. WOOD: He will be providing advice to the Secretary on a – across that entire region, where appropriate, where she needs it, and that’s the position he will serve.

QUESTION: So he’s going to meet with the leaders in the region as well, so you said he is going to offer an assessment —

MR. WOOD: That’s right. At some point, he will.

QUESTION: — including the Iranians?

MR. WOOD: Well, I’m not sure at this point. But again, our policy with regard to Iran is under review, so once that review is completed, we’ll be able to go forward vis-à-vis Iran. But until that time —

QUESTION: Well, was there a consideration at some point that you would have a special envoy for Iran? And why didn’t you now go in that direction?

MR. WOOD: Well, a decision was made by the Secretary that she needed broad strategic advice to look at a range of issues across the entire region that we just talked about. And it was felt that his skills could be better used to do that type of work, given the years of experience that he’s had dealing with the Middle East, other parts of the world. And so, again, as I said, Iran will be one of those countries that he will be, you know, looking at in his portfolio. But —

QUESTION: The military sometimes refer to parts of the -stans, Central Asia, as Southwest Asia. Are those included in your —

MR. WOOD: Well, look —

QUESTION: Can you find out? Because, I mean, this is —

MR. WOOD: We can get you that. Yeah, we can get you a breakdown of —

QUESTION: I mean, does this – is there a geographic limit to his portfolio, or is it really an issues-based thing so that he could be dealing with Morocco and Algeria —

MR. WOOD: Yeah.

QUESTION: — and Tunisia —

MR. WOOD: I would look at it, Matt, as more of a regional —

QUESTION: — and Kyrgyzstan, and the -stans that are not covered by Ambassador Holbrooke? And does it include Turkey? Does it – you know, there are a lot of unanswered questions from – from the statement last night as to exactly what he’s going to be doing. I mean, I presume it’s all of the Gulf – Saudi Arabia, that makes sense. But does it include Somalia, which is – you know, that there is – does it include – I don’t know —

QUESTION: Or is it (inaudible) Iran?

MR. WOOD: Your question is – you know, let me answer your —

QUESTION: It could be anything. Or is he limited by the geographic —

QUESTION: Or did you just not want to put Iran in the name, and so this is your clever way of doing that?

MR. WOOD: Can I speak now?


MR. WOOD: Thank you, and thank you. Look, it’s more – he’s going to be providing advice to the Secretary on a number of regional issues, and I would not try to limit Dennis’s advice to, you know, just those regions. He may have other – you know, he may have advice that he wants to give the Secretary on other issues. I don’t think we’re trying to narrow it here. If you’re looking for a geographical breakdown of those countries that he will be looking —

QUESTION: It would be nice to find out what the State Department considers to be Southwest Asia.

MR. WOOD: We can certainly do that for you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: And why Iran was not mentioned in the statement? And why was it published at 9:00 p.m.?

MR. WOOD: Well, it was published at 9:00 p.m. because we – that was the time when we had it ready to go. And so there was no – somebody had said to me in an email or something that we were trying to hide something, and that’s absolutely not the case. That’s when it was ready to go, and that’s when we – the Secretary wanted that announcement to go out at some point yesterday, and it did.

QUESTION: Yeah, but when she —

MR. WOOD: We just couldn’t get it out until late.

QUESTION: When she wants to announce the nomination of Richard Holbrooke, the President comes for announcing that. So it’s not the same kind of announcement. It’s very different. Why?

MR. WOOD: It’s different because the duties are different here. He is serving as an advisor to the Secretary. And the reason why we didn’t mention Iran specifically is because his duties are going to engage the entire region, as I mentioned. So it’s not just Iran. It’s other countries in the region, other issues.

QUESTION: Robert, does he have a specific role in the Iran review? And when you talk about the Afghanistan review, you’ve got Holbrooke and Bruce Riedel and others. Is there a similar structure for the Iran review? And would he have a certain status in that review?

MR. WOOD: Well, he will certainly – the Secretary will certainly seek out his advice with regard to, you know, Iran. There’s no question about that. There’s not a similar structure in place, you know, for this type of review. You know, we don’t have a cookie – you know, what do you call it, a cookie-cutter approach to, you know, doing reviews. You involve the people who you think are necessary and can provide you with the appropriate expertise and advice, and that’s how you conduct them.

So, digested the above yet? What do you say? Does this make Ross the Tom Hagen of “Monsters, Inc.”:

Here’s the “video”: The fun starts with a jaunty two-hand gesture around 0:58.