SPINNING NORTH KOREA….William Cohen, Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration, was interviewed by Lou Dobbs on Moneyline today. What does he think of news that Bush is quietly proposing a bold (yes, bold!) set of aid packages to North Korea if they end their nuclear program? Is he succumbing to blackmail?

Well, Lou, a deal has to be made without the appearance of making a deal.

In other words, Bush is going to do exactly what Clinton did in 1994 but then spin it to within an inch of its life to make it look like it’s anything but that.

And is anyone really fooled by this business of insisting that there’s a difference between North Korea agreeing to give up its nukes before we agree to an aid package vs. giving up its nukes in exchange for an aid package? When the piece of paper eventually gets signed, after all, the agreements are all going to happen at one time.

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