Thursday, August 10, 2017

First as Tragedy

Marx said it best, and it as apt now as ever:

In today's case a history we seem determined to repeat is our mistake with North Korea and making it anew with Iran.

The North Korea history...

From 1999 - 2000, President Clinton was turning to peace attempts, as President's are wont to do in their final few years. Finally in October of 2000, we seemed on the verge of settlement with North Korea to guarantee their security (which is a big thing for them), and they would give up their nuclear work on a trial basis and rejoin the "community of nations" with our acknowledgement.

Negotiation we conducted by William Perry (Republican - it was now partisan), once Secretary of Defense and then a Stanford University professor. Listen to the podcast The Daily for a fascinating discussion on what happened - LINK.

But then the administration changed course after the 200 election. The new administration - particularly Vice President Dick Cheney - disapproved of the deal, believing North Korea would cheat despite the validations and inspections. The Bush II Administration abandoned the North Korea deal, in preference of labeling North Korea one of the three "Axis of Evil" nations. Then promptly invaded one of the 3 (Iraq) under false pretenses (whether the administration knew they were false pretenses or were fooled we can ignore for now).

North Korea got the hint that the United States wasn't serious and so they accelerated their Nuclear Weapons program - firing their first Nuclear Fission Weapon test in 2006, their long range missile test in 2012, and their first Nuclear Fusion Weapon (Hydrogen Bomb) in 2015. And now we are in a game of brinkmanship. Now they have an ICBM and miniaturized nuclear bombs.

But North Korea isn't the point here, it is the example.

I am afraid that the 90 day certification cycle of the Iranian Deal will be scuppered by this administration, in particular the President - who doesn't like the deal with the backing of neocon war boosters and Israel's administration. Breaking the Iranian deal will have two problems.

First, Iran will move quickly towards developing a nuclear weapon as that seems the only deterrent that works. They have a well developed pathway to follow that Pakistan, India and North Korea have all used (Israel and France's path depended more on US secret support of their programs).

Second, North Korea will lose any belief that negotiation works, right? We negotiated an end to Iran's nuclear path, only to throw up barriers to their acceptance into the "community of nations" and if we overturn the nuclear deal it shows negotiating with the US is worthless.
Note from last certification
President Trump has promised on the campaign trail to cancel this agreement. Information coming out of the July certification was that President Trump wanted a reason not to certify Iran's compliance. Given that certification must occur every 90 days - that is a lot of push back time and opportunity for disaster.

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