Jeffrey LewisAlbright and Shire on Disblement, Box

David Albright and Jackie Shirer have a really excellent op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that North Korea has significantly met its commitments to disable its plutonium production facilities and declare past nuclear activities. (For recent blog posts on disablement and the declaration, see Its All About (Water) Chemistry and NORKs Miss Deadline, Slow Disablement)

In particular, Albright and Shire coin an apt phrase to describe North Korea’s uranium enrichment program (UEP): “a footnote in the context of its plutonium production.”

On the subject of apt phrases, Albright and Shire also indirectly pay homage to Arms Control, referring to the suspect Syrian facility near Dayr Al Zwar as the “box in the desert”:

As for the “box in the desert” that Israel bombed in September, it is gone now and whatever has replaced it is almost certainly not a reactor.

Regular readers will remember that I coined the phrase Box on the Euphrates to allow myself and readers to refer to the facility without prejudging its purpose.

My inclination is to be flattered that they adopted the terminology, although certain correspondents suggest I ought to be miffed at their having avoided using the original formulation and, therefore, direct acknowledgment.

I recognize, however, the possibility of potential improvements. Although I think “on the Euphrates” is a more accurate description of the box’s location, the acronym “BID” has certain advantages. For example, we could could refer to the study of the characteristics and purposes of the facility — heretofore known as “boxology” — as “BID-ness” as in “Taking Care of BID-ness.” It’s a tough call.

What say you, loyal readers?


  1. Lao Tao Ren (History)

    Box, hmmm, can mean certain anatomical features.

    BID…. can that become Bidet?

    How about some news on whether the US/ROK/Japan/China have fufilled their commitments to DPRK in a timely fashion?

    Like deliveries of food, fuel oil, etc.

  2. Allen Thomson

    Isn’t the important question whether the Administration can find ways to accept the NK plutonium declaration and let bygones be bygones with respect to uranium enrichment and the Box? It won’t be easy to do that with the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy in attack mode.

    As of yesterday, Perino said,

    “And right now, we are waiting on North Korea to release — or to give to us their complete and accurate declaration of all of their nuclear activities, including proliferation activities. We don’t have that yet from them; therefore, there’s not any movement on any of the other parts of the agreement. So that’s where we are right now. The ball is in their court. We are waiting for them.”

  3. Eli (History)

    Russia delivered their 50,000 tons of fuel oil in the last day or so.

    And in an interesting move, A State Department Counterterrorism expert floated the argument that North Korea would legally be able to be taken off the State Sponsors of Terror list because they hadn’t done anything too scandalous in the last 6 months. This sort of paves the way for Bush to use his waiver authority to take them off the list, were Rice and Hill to be satisfied with the DPRK’s movement on its declaration. Rice quickly came out after this and said they weren’t going to do it right away, but this seems to be an indication to Congress that they are opening up some room to make this call quickly.

  4. Ryan Donahue

    Box Aimed at Demonstrating Assad’s Syrian Strength. AKA: BAD ASS.

    “Did you see the latest overhead imagery of that BAD ASS project?”


    “I was under the impression that they brought in some heavy equipment and demolished that BAD ASS. What’s up with this new indoor pool they replaced it with?”

  5. SQ

    Given the singular contributions of this forum to Euphrates boxology, including shadow analysis, it’s quite generous of you not to, ahem, take umbrage at the variation on your usage.

  6. mark F (History)