Meet Wendy Sherman, architect of appeasement disasters in nuclear negotiations with North Korea and Iran

The Pentagon says that North Korea likely has a nuclear weapon that can be mounted on a missile. Hats off to Wendy Sherman, architect of the 1999 nuclear deal with North Korea that was supposed to prevent this sort of thing. In return for hundreds of millions of dollars of food and oil at a time a million or more people were starving to death under the North Korean regime, the United States received meaningless concessions that did little or nothing to stop North Korea’s nuclear program.  That deal was described by former Secretary of State James Baker as “appeasement.”

The only positive thing that could be said about the latest agreement is that it will probably avert a short-term crisis. But at what price? It will make the United States even more reluctant to adopt a more muscular approach toward Korea and thus could actually increase the risk of war on the Korean Peninsula. And the North Koreans may well conclude that their bad behavior will continue to be rewarded.

And so they did and so it was.

For her part, Ms. Sherman displayed a disturbing tendency to gush about Kim Jong-il, the North Korean dictator with whom she negotiated. Apparently flattery of politically powerful people was a career strategy she mastered. Foreign Policy Magazine noted in 2011:

Sherman, who served as State Department counselor and North Korea policy coordinator under former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, traveled to Pyongyang with Albright in 2000. Here's how the NPR obit on Kim, who died this past weekend, described her take on Kim:

 Wendy Sherman, a special adviser to President Clinton on North Korea, accompanied then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Pyongyang in 2001, and met Kim along with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson.

"We shared similar impressions of meeting him. He was smart and a quick problem-solver," Sherman says. "He is also witty and humorous. Our overall impression was very different from the way he was known to the outside world."

Sherman sat next to Kim at a stadium to watch a huge festival of synchronized dancing. She says she turned to Kim and told him she had the sense that in some other life, he was a "great director."

"He clearly took such delight in putting these performances together," she says. "And he says, yes, that he cared about this a great deal and that he owned every Academy Award movie, he had watched them all, and he also had every film of Michael Jordan's NBA basketball games and had watched them as well."

The New York Times obit has more juicy quotes about Kim from Sherman, comments she made in 2008:

Wendy Sherman, now the No. 3 official in the State Department, who served as counselor to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and accompanied her to North Korea, said in 2008: "He was smart, engaged, knowledgeable, self-confident, sort of the master-director of all he surveyed."

Ms. Albright met Mr. Kim in October 2000 in what turned out to be a futile effort to strike a deal with North Korea over limiting its missile program before President Bill Clinton left office.

"There was no denying the dictatorial state that he ruled," Ms. Sherman said. "There was no denying the freedoms that didn't exist. But at the time, there were a lot of questions in the U.S. about whether he was really in control, and we left with no doubt that he was."

When Ms. Albright and Ms. Sherman sat down to talk through a 14-point list of concerns about North Korea's missile program, "he didn't know the answers to every question, but he knew a lot more than most leaders would -- and he was a conceptual thinker," Ms. Sherman added.

That was then, this is now, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

A top U.S. commander said Friday that North Korea likely has the capability to produce a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on a rocket, putting its wherewithal to build a nuclear missile within closer reach.

North Korea has struggled for years in its attempts to develop nuclear warheads and long-range missiles, as well as with the steep technical challenges of combining warhead and missile technology.

But the secretive dictatorship apparently has moved a significant step closer, according to Pentagon officials. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Friday, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. forces on the Korean peninsula, said North Korea now is capable of building a miniaturized nuclear warhead, a step needed to complete development of a nuclear-tipped missile.

Undated photo from KCNA official news agency, via Getty and the Wall Street Journal

The brutal and repressive dictatorship may now have the ability to hit the western United States with a nuclear warhead, not to mention the ability of hit Japan. That nation’s response is yet to be seen, but one can expect the Japanese “nuclear allergy” to fade even more in the face of a potential mortal threat.

Even more ominously:

Gen. Scaparrotti said North Korea may have gained know-how on warhead-miniaturization technology through its relationships with Iran and Pakistan.

Iran does not yet possess nuclear weapons.  What are the odds that North Korea, hard-pressed for foreign exchange, will sell missiles, warheads, and related technologies to Iran?

And guess who is on the job negotiating with Iran on preventing that country from obtaining nuclear weapons? None other than Wendy Sherman, now head of the US negotiating team, bringing her appeasement approach to the mullahs.

If she is as successful with Iran as she was with North Korea, we can expect the mullahs to obtain the capability of ushering in the Armageddon they see as paving the way for the return of the Twelfth Mahdi, the ultimate goal of the regime, which has taken the trouble to pave a highway leading from the Mahdi’s tomb, so he can travel with ease when he rises from the dead during the nuclear holocaust they seek, wiping out both the Little Satan (Israel) and the Great Satan (America).

What about her qualifications and experience?

Ms. Sherman brings just the sort of credentials you would expect in a Clinton and Obama appointee, currently the fourth-ranking employee in the Department of State:

  • A degree and work experience in social work;
  • The former director of EMILY’S list, the abortion-supporting political fundraising organization contributing almost exclusive to Democrats;
  • Former head of the DC office of the failed Dukakis presidential campaign;
  • The former director of the office of child welfare of Maryland
  • Founding president of the Fannie Mae foundation, a money-dispensing offshoot of the quasi-governmental agency that more than anyone else was responsible for the 2008 mortgage crisis.

The last two Democrat presidents found these qualifications so compelling they made her responsible for some of the most complex and highest stakes negotiations of the current era.

Nothing succeeds like failure in certain places in Washington.