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Special Report Roundtable - July 6

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume


NICHOLAS BURNS, UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE: I think what the North Koreans would like, they would like to turn this into the U.S. vs. North Korea. We're not going to give them that. This is an international problem and China and Russia and the other countries have as much interest as we do to see it resolved in a way that is consistent with our interest. And so that's the basis of our diplomacy with China and Russia as well as with the North Koreans.


HUME: That, of course, the undersecretary of state, there, Nick Burns talking about the president's policy. And the president himself said today more than once in his news conference that it was going to be multi lateral diplomacy and not any direct votes. But that's only one view, Dianne Feinstein, senator -- democratic senator from California spoke for more than one person when she said today, "It has always been my view that if the North Koreans want to talk to the United States directly, we should not turn opportunity down. The six party talks are fine, but it makes no sense to me that we ratchet up the isolation which only moves Pyongyang closer to overt hostility."

Some analytical observations on this discussion now from Fred Barnes executive editor of the "Weekly Standard"; Mara Liasson, national political correspondent of National Public Radio; and the syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer, FOX news contributors all.

Well, what about Dianne Feinstein's reasoning and what about the administration's reasoning on this -- Fred.

FRED BARNES, "WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, in the first place what would happen if the United States agreed all of a sudden to have one-on-one talks with the North Koreans it would be a reward for their firing off these missiles and that would be why they're doing it.

HUME: She calls it an opportunity.

BARNES: Well, OK, it is an opportunity. It's a bad opportunity. And then what would be -- what would be the issue at these talks? The issue would be what concessions, what rewards is the United States going to offer to North Korea in order for them to be good for a while and then they'll do it for a while. We know they can't be trusted. They'll be good for a while and then they'll do something else that we'll to reward them to stop for a while, so -- and meanwhile they become more of a nuclear power and with better and longer range missiles, so I mean, there's nothing to be gained for going one-on-one with the North Koreas that's for sure. We know they're not -- we know Kim Jong il will not give up the nuclear program.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL RADIO: Well, and right now the administration has settled on a policy of diplomacy as opposed to military force, I don't think there are any good military options, and multiliteralism as opposed to one-on-one talks. But it's not getting very far even with that approach. Nick Burns talked about diplomacy with China and Russia not just diplomacy with North Koreans they haven't been able to get our sensible allies here, onto the same page. It's become been a long time coming, this missile test, the United States has been trying to get everybody on board about what the response would be.

HUME: Well the United States has not yet called for strong economic sanctions or any other sanctions for North Korea.

LIASSON: That's because China and Russia don't want to have sanctions.

HUME: So in what sense are they not on the same page?

LIASSON: China and Russia don't want sanctions.

HUME: I know that.

LIASSON: We'd like to go to the U.N. Security Council and get a strong message about sanctions passed and we can't because we don't have the support of China and Russian.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: The Feinstein statement is a typical example of the democrats' both hypocrisy and confusion on these kinds of issues. On the war on Iraq, major attack that you heard in the Kerry campaign for a year, was that America, the Bush administration was acting unilaterally, you've got to work with allies, multilaterally, we ignored the U.N. and other forums. Then all of a sudden on North Korea it's exactly the opposite. Democrats are saying no we have to go one-on- one with the North Koreans. Obviously it's pure opportunism on the part of the democrats attacking the administration, whichever way it goes.

The rule of thumb is that if you can't do anything then you go multilateral because when you have a whole bunch of countries in talks, nothing's going to happen and nothing's going to happen with North Korea. If there is an opportunity to actually do something, as there was in Iraq by making war, you do it unilaterally if you have to because if you don't you're going to be stopped by the other parties.

HUME: But there's a little more to it than that, isn't there, Charles, I mean, after all, China took an unusual step here. It publicly warned North Korea not to do that. China was, I think, no doubt hesitant to do that. It did it. North Korea went ahead anyway. Clearly, China didn't want North Korea to do that. Now what is China's stake in all of this? Does it not care?

KRAUTHAMMER: I predict that China will do nothing.

HUME: Why?

KRAUTHAMMER: Because its interest is -- first of all North Korea is a client state. It doesn't have a lot of client states, China, it's got one. Secondly, it's a thorn in our side. China...

HUME: But the thorn in China's side too when it doesn't do what China tells it to.

KRAUTHAMMER: No, it is not. Well, it's a minor embarrassment, but the major activity of the North Korea is making life hard on us. And making life hard on us is good in China's perspective because it wants domination of Asia and not us.


LIASSON: What the U.S. was hoping is that China would be so angry and insulted by this test because precisely because of what you say, that they had warned them not to, that this would somehow change the point of view of China and there's no evidence yet that it has.


BARNES: Look, Charles is right though, look, the Chinese they enjoy seeing the U.S.'s role in the Pacific become a difficult one because they don't want the U.S. to have a major role or even a minor role in the Pacific anyway.


HUME: But now you've Taiwan talking about firing off missiles in response to this. China can't like that.

BARNES: Well they can't like that, but look, they're taking a short- term view here and they're not -- they don't seem to be worried about Japan going nuclear or Taiwan going nuclear. What they don't want is a, one, a Korean peninsula where North Korea is destabilized and crumbles and you wind up with one country on the Korean peninsula and it's pro-west and it's democratic and it's a free market country. They don't want that at all. And they don't want a flood of immigrants coming across. Again, they've had trouble with North Korean immigrants. Obviously, a lot of people want to leave North Korea.

LIASSON: And they don't want a million starving people on.

BARNES: And even China looks that -- at that -- and finally, they don't fear an attack from North Korea. Other people, the United States does by a missile, and Japan does and other countries, but the Chinese don't. They don't think it's a problem for them.

KRAUTHAMMER: The missiles are always headed east -- east? Yes. East. Not west. Not west.

LIASSON: In this case China's west.

KRAUTHAMMER: Which is why China and Russia really...

HUME: So this is hopeless -- Charles.

KRAUTHAMMER: I've said it before, I will say it again, endlessly hopeless.

HUME: Mara, hopeless?

LIASSON: I don't see any hope.

HUME: Fred, hopeless.

BARNES: Near hopeless.

LIASSON: Near hopeless.

HUME: All right. You heard it here first. When we come back with our panel, we'll talk about democrat Joe Lieberman's race for reelection and what kind of support is he getting from senate democratic colleagues and others. Stay tuned.



SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Now, my opponent in the democratic primary is asking democrats to vote against me because of my position on one issue, Iraq. I am asking democrats in the primary in August and the general election in November, to consider my total record of service to our state and our country over 18 years.


HUME: Well, that's no doubt what he would like, but at the moment the momentum in the race between democratic incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman and his Democratic Party challenger Ned Lamont has been, at least in all the most recent polls, in Lamont's direction. Lamont is ardently antiwar and he criticizes Lieberman as a -- someone too close to President Bush and much too much in favor of the Iraq enterprise. So what's the deal here? Charles, what do you think about this? Does this look like the end of the line for Joe Lieberman or can he win? He said he would run as an independent if he loses the democratic primary.

KRAUTHAMMER: I think he can win as an independent. I think it's the end of a certain kind of democrat. You know, we used to have Scoop Jackson in the senate from the state of Washington. He was this new deal liberal, but on foreign affairs he was tough on the soviets, and his breed became real small in the 70's, you had the pack of Moynihan and a few others and when he died, essentially, it died out. Lieberman is the last of those kinds of democrats, hawkish on foreign affairs, liberal on other affairs and that's why I think is he being essentially purged.

The parties -- the democratic and republican are becoming infinitely more ideologically pure. You get the northeast liberal republicans who are essentially a dying breed. Lieberman as a hawkish democrat is also on his way out and the split on democrats on the war is not the pro-war, antiwar, it's how soon you get out. Some want to get out tomorrow, others in a year or so. But almost no one is in favor of the war and supporting the administration on this. Lieberman is the one, and is he in danger now as a democrat.

LIASSON: Look, at a time when the national democratic leadership in Washington is struggling to, A. target the republicans in the fall, and keep together a party who is not unified on the war, they haven't come with a party position on the war. Meanwhile, you've got the base, the liberal base kind of rising up in Connecticut and saying no, we know what the party position should be, it should be pull out now or something pretty close to it. And I think this is, you know, a difficult time for the Democratic Party. All of the momentum is definitely with Lamont. You've got every democratic presidential wannabe, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry saying they definitely won't campaign for Lieberman, now certainly no democrat is going to campaign for him if he loses the primary, but to come out now and say that. You do have a couple democratic senators, Ken Salazar of Colorado, Joe Biden, and Barbara Boxer, who is a liberal antiwar democrat going to campaign for them. I don't know if that'll enough to help him.

BARNES: I think Joe Lieberman is going to be reelected and, but reelected as an independent, probably not as a democrat. One way he's going to be helped is republicans are not going to fund an aggressive campaign in Connecticut in the senatorial race, the White House...

HUME: You mean in the general election.

BARNES: In the general election. In the White House, President Bush is certainly not going to go to Connecticut and campaign against him. And the expectation of republicans, at least in Washington, as republican leaders is that that many, many republicans will join the democrats, the more hawkish democrats and vote for Lieberman, so I think he's going to be reelected just in a different way. I would add something to what Charles said. He suggested that the hawkish democrats who had worked for Henry Jackson and people like that, faded away, they became republicans. Starting with Gene Kilpatrick and going on down.

LIASSON: You know, there's another thing about Lieberman.

HUME: Quickly Mara.

LIASSON: He hasn't just been for the war he's been kind of (inaudible) about it and really leading with his chin and supporting the president.

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