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Eastern alliances

"Eastern alliances" Continued...

Issue: "Preach it," Oct. 6, 2007

IAEA inspectors make sure nuclear material does not go from peaceful to non-peaceful uses, Bolton said, but they lack the expertise to assess the full scale of a weapons program. A better idea, he says, is to have the UN's nuclear powers verify that instead.

Given that North Korea has shared missile technology with Syria and Iran, it's no leap to see the sides cooperating on nuclear weapons, Bolton said. But if North Korea and Iran have cooperated on the nuclear front, "it's quite likely you can't solve either or both problems separately from each other," Bolton said.

"From my own experience in the government, we didn't look at the two as interconnected. I could go from meetings on North Korea in the morning to meetings on Iran later in the afternoon within the U.S. government and the issues would never be connected. So they proceeded on completely separate tracks . . . really solving both of them becomes much more complicated, and I think it's something we need to consider before we rush to make further concessions to the North Koreans."

Bolton, who is controversial in Washington for his tough, direct style, never got a chance to negotiate with Pyongyang directly. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wanted him to, but Secretary of State Colin Powell opposed the idea. But with the latest worries of the North's dabbling in the Middle East, it's no time to go soft on Pyongyang.

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