Trigger warning: This is not an article from The Onion.
What with the Iran negotiations being such an historic and staggering success, some members of Team Obama seem to be thinking that this fabulous operating model could be ported over to other troublesome nations. Say… here’s an idea. How about North Korea? (Via Reuters)
The recent nuclear deal with Iran showed that the United States can be flexible with a willing counterpart, including North Korea if it decides it wants talks on its nuclear program, a U.S. envoy said on Monday.
North Korea has said it was not interested in an Iran-like dialogue with the United States to give up its nuclear capabilities, which it said were an “essential deterrence” against hostile U.S. policy.
Despite that, Sydney Seiler, U.S. special envoy for now-defunct six-party talks on ending the North’s nuclear program, said the United states left the door open to talks with the North when it is willing to end its diplomatic isolation.
“The Iran deal demonstrates the value and possibilities that negotiation bring,” Seiler told reporters in the South Korean capital, Seoul.
Considering what a bang up job we did with a country that’s close to having nukes, just imagine what this team could do with a nation that already has them!
North Korea has been firing short range missiles (albeit without nukes on them for now) as recently as last month. And in May they really upped their game when we caught them testing an underwater ballistic missile.
North Korea has carried out a successful underwater test of a ballistic missile, the North Korean state news agency reported.
Leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test himself, KCNA reported on Saturday (Friday evening, ET). A submarine launched the missile at a location far from the mainland, the news agency reported.
Kim praised the test as a “miraculous achievement,” and said his country is capable of producing this type of missile, according to KCNA.
Granted, a lot of these tests turn out to be more flash and public relations than actual technological achievements, and they frequently fail spectacularly, as Andrew Malcolm pointed out earlier this year. But there’s no denying that the Norks have an established weapons program going and they are constantly working to tune it up. They were firing off nukes as recently as two years ago and have made advances on miniaturizing their tactical technology.
So what would a new round of Iran-style negotiations look like? First, we’d have to drag the same old partners to the table and convince Kim to talk to any of them. Japan is always good for some support, but China gets to sit in on any potential deal and they’re hardly the most reliable of partners. Then, assuming we manage to get all the parties assembled, what will our crack negotiating team be putting on the table? If you want Kim to give up any aspects of his precious nuke program you’re going to have to put some awfully tempting prizes up for grabs. More food? More oil? Lifting of sanctions? (The sanctions are kind of a joke since China has been violating them for years.)
If we unleash John Kerry and company into a room with North Korean reps in the hopes of opening up “the dawn of a new era in relations” one can only imagine the sort of deal he’s going to come away with. Kim has basically no reason to reach out to us in the first place today. If his people are suffering, starving or languishing in work camps, why should he care? And he has precious little else to gain from us unless it’s some seriously temping infusions of cash and goods. What he’d be willing to offer in return would likely be a joke. The unfortunate (and definitely not funny) part is that Kerry might just take it in an effort to further cement Obama’s legacy.