Saturday, September 16, 2006

Carter and North Korea

I mostly keep politics out of this blog (there are plenty of places you can pick that up if you're looking, so it would be little more than me venting my own frustrations), but this one deserves wider attention than it is likely to get.

Today's Daily Yomiuri has a review of A Moment of Crisis: Jimmy Carter, The Power of a Peacemaker, and North Korea's Nuclear Ambitions, by Marion Creekmore Jr. The review is by Kenneth Quinones, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding North Korea, and a professor at Akita International University in northern Japan. What makes Quinones interesting as a reviewer is that he was involved in the events described. He asserts in the review that the official documents were carefully sanitized, and that much of the real information was communicated via secure phone calls and face-to-face meetings. Therefore, he claims, the official record is inaccurate, as are other books based on it. Moment is by a man who was with Carter through most of the events, and is also based on access to Carter's papers that had not been granted to others.

Regardless of your opinion of Carter (he seems to generate less head than any other recent president, but he has both his admirers and his detractors), and whether or not you think that Creekmore and Quinones are spinning things, this will provide a provocative firsthand account of a crisis which has once again reared its head. I'm looking forward to reading the book, and you, too, may want to after reading the review.

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