US to resume talks with North Korea

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," February 13, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (via translator): Iran, which stands behind these attacks, is the largest exporter of terror in world. We will continue to act systematically with determination and forcefully against international terror emanating from Iran.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The Israeli prime minister talking about two attacks, two different attacks, one in India, the other in Georgia. One was a similar device diffused into Tbilisi, Georgia, but Israeli diplomats targeted. And the Israeli officials are saying it's a direct result of Iran. And Iran is behind it, as you heard the prime minister say there. The other development in foreign policy is the talks between the U.S. and North Korea.

Let's start, though, with Israel and Iran. Charles, what about this and what it means for the dynamic?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think it shows that Iran is growing increasingly nervous and therefore aggressive. The economic sanctions are making things difficult at home with the drop in the [INAUDIBLE] in the currency. The middle class is losing its assets. They know that they have got carriers, American carriers in the Persian Gulf. The Israelis are dead serious about ultimately an attack if nothing is done. Our secretary of state has talked about it. So they have had these exercises planning and threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz.

I think the Iranians are trying to show they aren't afraid. I think they in fact they are. And I think it's the time to ratchet up the pressure as a result. The Europeans and we are going to put sanctions on the central bank, but we're doing it slowly. We ought to be doing it right away, very hard, because the clock is running.

BAIER: Mara, we should point out no one has claimed responsibility for these attacks. The Israeli prime minister is saying these attacks are based in Iran, from Iran.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: And whoever did it proved they can amount an attack but not successful one. This wasn't tit-for-tat for what Israel presumably did to the Iranian scientists because nobody was killed but this is a time when we are trying to see if ramping up sanctions can make a difference. If you think about Iran's push for a nuclear weapon, it's hard to see what would convince them that the costs are just too great, assuming they do a cost benefit analysis. Even the opposition in Iran believes in having a nuclear bomb.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I mentioned last week that these kinds of activities were more widespread than had been publicly reported. I can add a little detail to that. There were three Iranians expelled by the European country in late January for casing the U.S. embassy in the capital of that country, expelled from the country. So it suggests that the Iranians are stepping up the evident across, certainly across Europe across the world potentially.

And it matches what we saw from Iraq before the Gulf War, Iraq before the most recent war there, they activate their intelligence networks, they activate their terrorist proxies. And I think it's a worsened development.

BAIER: And just to reiterate you in case you missed the Friday Lightning Round, you are still at 90 percent Israel attacks Iran before the election?

KRAUTHAMMER: I believe our secretary of defense when he says it is highly likely and he's speaking in public. I think he means highly likely and I don't see any evidence to suggest that the Israelis are less and terribly worried and prepared to strike again if nothing else intervenes, nothing else happens.

BAIER: Other development today, the U.S. talking one-on-one with North Korean officials, a meeting that will happen -- that is happening in Beijing about possibly restarting multinational talks, the six party talks that fell apart. Mara, how significant a development is this?

LIASSON: It's unclear. North Korea has never wavered in its determination to have a nuclear weapon. And they have often engaged in these talks so they could get aid as a carrot, food aid, which they pocketed. I don't know how significant they are. It doesn't seem to me that there is anything that North Korea thinks it wants more than nuclear weapons.

BAIER: New leader Kim Jong Un. Steve?

HAYES: Well, I think our mistake is assuming that food aid is the only leverage point that we have. The meeting itself is a point of leverage. The North Koreans are constantly wanting to enhance their legitimacy in eyes of the world, meeting with the United States and being at the same table. That is what I think we give up when we request these talks, when we push for them.

I think what you are seeing here yet again we saw this at the end of the Bush administration we have seen it throughout the Obama administration is engagement for the sake of engagement. We tried this with Iran. That hasn't worked very well. We tried it with Syria. That hasn't worked very well. It's unclear what we expect to get. A change in two decades worth of behavior from North Koreans? Unlikely.


KRAUTHAMMER: This is Lucy and the football. Nothing will come of it. Even if there were an agreement, every single agreement we have had with that regime has resulted in our giving something real, food aid or other kinds of aid, and the North Koreans deceiving us and cheating on us, on plutonium and uranium. This will have no effect whatsoever on the program. And unless -- the only possible logic of engaging in this is to get some intelligence and a sense of the thinking of the regime under the new leader. But other than that, which I think is something we can gather in other ways, I think it is a gift to sit at the table with a rogue regime like this, and we shouldn't do it for nothing in return.

And it does come ahead of a top level Chinese diplomatic mission and visit here to the U.S.

That is it for the panel. But stay tuned to see a habit one candidate has apparently picked up on the campaign trail.

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