For those who are interested, the whole interview is an interesting read: full article "David Frum: Well, we don't know for a fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons. We surmise it, we have to work on that assumption, but it's not sure that they do. They're the opposite of Iran. While Iran is concealing the extent of its nuclear program, North Korea may be inflating it, we just don't know. Direct negotiations with North Korea are just a fancy term for going along with blackmail which we must not do. The people we should be negotiating with are the Chinese, who do see the North Koreans as a security problem, who want a closer relationship with South Korea, but who cannot resist the temptation to shift a lot of the costs of sustaining their North Korean client onto the United States, Japan, and South Korea via blackmail. The Chinese need to be made to understand how injurious to their own interests this policy is. And yes, as truly a last resort, because it has unpredictable consequences, we have to be prepared to hit the North Korean nuclear facilities from the air in extremis. But, of course we wish we had a decisive administration in power in 1994, that was the time to act. John Hawkins: Yes, I agree with you (about acting in 1994). On to another subject. Reality dictates that we often have to deal with "friendly" dictators, no matter how loathsome we may find their regimes. In your opinion, how far should we go to encourage Democracy and freedom in these sorts of nations? I'm talking about countries like Uzbekistan, Egypt, and Kuwait.... David Frum: We don't have to do everything all at once. We're allowed to act with prudence and with due appreciation of the difficulty of the situation. But, if 9/11 ought to have taught us anything, it's that these policies of dealing with so called "friendly" dictators, no matter how tough minded and realistic they seem in the short run, are very, very, costly and injurious in the long run. The dictators create hatred in their own populations and that hatred extends to all of the dictators friends. We are still paying in Greece for our relation with a Greek colonel that ended a quarter of a century ago. We will someday pay a heavy price for our relationship with Mubarak, if we're not paying it already. John Hawkins: I'm sure we will. Without question, we're not seeing the same level of cooperation today between the US and Europe that we did let's say 10 to 20 years ago. Why do you think that is and do you see it continuing and perhaps worsening in the future? David Frum: People are always nicer to you when they need something from you. Between 1945 - 1991, Europe needed a great deal from us and so they were pretty nice to us. Right now, the Europeans feel they don't need much from us, so they're not so nice. Some people say, "this is because the Bush administration was not sensitive enough to their requirements". There is sort of a tendency in the United States to look at allies as inert objects who never act, but only react to what the United States does. I think that's just wrong. They have their own motives and their own interests. Their situation has changed, they do not feel threatened by the Soviet Union, they do not need our protection, and so they have a different kind of relationship with us. By the way, some of the countries, like Germany, have old resentments that couldn't ever be expressed during the Cold War, but are being expressed now. John Hawkins: One of those countries expressing resentment of course, is France. I've heard that in the book you say France shouldn't be treated as an ally in the United States. Is that the case? David Frum: Judged by France's own behavior, it's hard to view them as an ally. People talk about them as an ally, but what have they done that an ally would do? They have their own problems with their Muslim population which they're terrified of and which they're badly mishandling. (Also), they have their own ambition to build a kind of European superstate as a counterweight to the United States. That's partly for reasons of national vanity and partly to protect their not very competitive national economy. This would be a terrible mistake for Europe. We need to rethink the traditional American position of almost unreflective support for unification. We have to understand that the wrong kind of European reunification can create real problems for the United States. "