Conservative Media Ignore Bush Administration, Blame Obama And Clinton For North Korean Nuclear Proliferation

North Korea Became 8th Nuclear State In 2006 Under George W. Bush

Right-wing media figures immediately attacked President Obama and Hillary Clinton, following North Korea's announcement that they conducted a nuclear test. Right-wing media pundits blamed Obama, Bill, and Hillary Clinton for North Korea's Nuclear proliferation, ignoring that North Korea's first successful nuclear test occurred under the George W. Bush's administration in 2006.

North Korea Claims Successful Test Of Hydrogen Bomb

AP: North Korea Claims Successful Test Of Hydrogen Bomb. The Associated Press reported on January 6, that North Korea claimed to have successfully carried out a nuclear test, drawing “widespread condemnation -- but also skepticism”:

North Korea's declaration that it had tested a hydrogen bomb for the first time was greeted with widespread condemnation -- but also skepticism -- as world powers vowed Wednesday to punish the impoverished and defiant nation with new international sanctions.The isolated country's fourth nuclear test since 2006 was a “reckless challenge to international norms of behavior and the authority of the U.N. Security Council,” said British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft.The council met in an emergency session and called the test “a clear violation” of its resolutions. It agreed to start work immediately on a resolution for new sanctions.The international community must respond with “steadily increasing pressure” and rigorous enforcement of existing measures, said U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power.Four rounds of U.N. sanctions have aimed at reining in the North's nuclear and missile development, but Pyongyang has ignored them and moved ahead with programs to modernize its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. [Associated Press, 1/6/16]

Conservative Media Immediately Blame President Obama, Bill, And Hillary Clinton For North Korean Nuclear Test

Weekly Standard's Daniel Halper: Hillary Clinton Is “On The Hook Here” And “Has To Be Blamed In Part” For North Korean Test. On the January 6 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, Weekly Standard online editor Daniel Halper claimed that Hillary Clinton is “on the hook a little bit here,” and “has to be blamed in part for her inability to stop North Koreans from testing”:

DANIEL HALPER (WEEKLY STANDARD): [T]o Hillary Clinton, in her 2009 confirmation hearing to become Secretary of State, she vowed to end the North Korean nuclear program. So she is -- I mean she's on the hook a little bit here, and she has to be blamed in part for her participation in her inability to stop North Koreans from testing, and from acquiring and from keeping these very powerful weapons. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto1/6/16]

Radio Host Sean Hannity Blames President Obama, Bill, And Hilary Clinton For North Korea's Nuclear Proliferation. On the January 6 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, Sean Hannity asserted that “you can thank Bill Clinton for the fact that [North Korea] became nuclear to begin with”:

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): That was Matt Lee, an AP reporter, questioning John Kirby, the State Department spokesman. I don't know what part of this that they missed, but they're in complete denial over North Korea claimed they conducted a successful nuclear bomb test. Good grief, that's in spite of the fact that Hillary Clinton said that she would embark -- this is a confirmation hearing in 2009, she would embark upon a very aggressive effort to end the North Korean nuclear program. She said the same thing in 2011. North Korea made major advancements in nuclear weapons, all under her and Barrack Obama's watch. By the way, you can thank Bill Clinton for the fact that they became nuclear to begin with. I mean it was North Korea would saber rattle, in would come Bill Clinton with money and all sorts of incentives, they'd say “OK, we'll be good.” We'd hand over American taxpayer dollars, and North Korea would continue its nuclear program. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show1/6/16]

Fox's Sandra Smith: “You Wonder How Much Of This Is The World Taking Advantage Of Our Weakness.” On the January 6 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, host Sandra Smith asked if “you wonder ... how much of this is the world taking advantage of our weakness right now?” Smith's question prompted guest Jesse Watters to reply “Absolutely ... this is what happens when you take your eye off the ball, and now it could be chaos out there on the peninsula”:

SANDRA SMITH (CO-HOST): I spoke immediately on the story to former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson on this this morning, who's got a lot of experience dealing in this area. He said “They obviously have nuclear weapons, they may have as many as ten. But what they are saying to the world is 'Look, we are not going to have our nuclear weapons curbed, or reduced like you did with Iran.'” They're sending a very strong message here, and you wonder Jesse, how much of this is the world taking advantage of our weakness right now?


SMITH: And there's a lot of time left.

WATTERS: Absolutely, the same person who negotiated the deal for Bill Clinton in North Korea, Wendy Sherman, negotiated the same Iranian deal for President Obama. So, we're getting hoodwinked on the whole thing, and this is what happens when you take your eye off the ball, and now it could be chaos out there on the peninsula. [Fox News, Outnumbered1/6/16]

Conservative Media Ignores That First Nuclear Test Occurred Under Bush Administration

The Atlantic: North Korea Tested Nuclear Weapons In 2006, Under Bush. An article from The Atlantic noted that North Korea Became the “eighth declared nuclear- weapons state” in 2006, during the George W. Bush Administration.

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a 5.1-magnitude seismic event about 11 miles from the North Korean town of Sunjibaegam in the country's northwest. Tremors of a similar magnitude followed each of North Korea's three previous nuclear-weapons tests-- in 2006, with which it became the eighth declared nuclear-weapons state; 2009, and 2013-- all of which occurred underground at the nearby Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site. Experts pointed out that the magnitude of the tremors should have been far greater had Wednesday's test been of a hydrogen bomb, which is far more powerful than the atomic bombs North Korea tested on the three previous occasions. [The Atlantic1/6/16]

Washington Post: Failure To Create An Agreed Framework By The Bush Administration “Led To North Korea Building And Testing Nuclear Weapons.”  The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler wrote that the Bush administration “terminated a supply of fuel oil that was essential” to the agreed framework  to deter nuclear proliferation by the North Koreans achieved under Bill Clinton's administration:

In 1994, the Bill Clinton administration negotiated an agreement with North Korea to essentially freeze its nascent nuclear program in exchange for the eventual construction of two light-water reactors. North Korea's program was clearly created to churn out nuclear weapons; the reactor at Yongbyon was not connected to the power grid and appeared only designed to produce plutonium, a key ingredient for nuclear weapons. The theory of the deal was that, with the plant shuttered and the plutonium under the close watch of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), North Korea would not be able to produce a bomb.

The deal was hugely controversial in Congress. Just as with Obama's Iran negotiations, Clinton structured the agreement so that it was not considered a treaty that would have required ratification by the Senate. As with Iran, there was also an international component, with South Korea, Japan and a European agency joining with the United States to create an organization to implement the accord.


So how did North Korea get its hands on the nuclear material? George W. Bush became president in 2001 and was highly skeptical of Clinton's deal with North Korea. The new administration terminated missile talks with Pyongyang and then spent months trying to develop its own policy.

Then intelligence agencies determined that North Korea was cheating on the agreement by trying to develop nuclear material through another method -- highly-enriched uranium. The Bush administration sent an envoy who confronted North Korea -- and the regime was said to have belligerently confirmed it.

In response, the Bush administration terminated a supply of fuel oil that was essential to the agreement -- and then North Korea quickly kicked out the U.N. inspectors, restarted the nuclear plant and began developing its nuclear weapons, using the material in radioactive fuel rods that previously had been under the close watch of the IAEA. Japan and South Korea, the key partners in the accord, were not happy with the decision to terminate the Agreed Framework, but there was little they could do about it.

After North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, the Bush administration tried desperately to negotiate a new accord with Pyongyang, including offering new concessions, but those efforts ultimately failed. The nuclear genie by then was out of the bottle. The issue was considered such a loser that the Obama administration has barely bothered to restart disarmament talks.


North Korea obtained the bomb not because of the agreement, but because the agreement failed. Presumably, North Korea would have gotten its hands on the plutonium sooner if not for the original agreement. [Washington Post3/13/15]