INTERNATIONAL EXTORTION: TWO CASE STUDIES FROM THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION….Yeah, I know, Atrios warned me about analogies, but what the hell. Live on the edge, I say.

In today’s LA Times, John Balzar writes about the Bush administration loosening restrictions on tuna fishing:

“I had to look at the big picture,” the agency’s assistant administrator, Bill Hogarth, told me.

As he sees it, the big picture is this: If the U.S. did not buckle to pressure and loosen the 1990 labeling requirement, foreign tuna fishermen would simply drop out of the international program that is supposed to protect dolphins and sell their fish elsewhere.

In other news, the Bush administration had this to say about North Korea:

“The issue of a treaty suggests that we should pay something right now for their misbehavior,” Powell said. “What we can’t do and won’t do is reward North Korea for their behavior.”

So which is it? Do we cave in to extortionate treaty-breaking behavior or don’t we? Or does it depend on whether it’s something we wanted to do anyway?