Kerry’s views on such matters owed much to the strain of Cold War policy thinking that favored detente and arms control with the Soviet Union, on the assumption that Moscow was hostile to the United States but fundamentally rational, and, most important, unlikely ever to change. Many members of the foreign policy establishment, Republicans and Democrats, thought the best way to deal with Moscow and its allies was, well, to deal with them.
Reaganites, by contrast, felt that arms-control agreements were no substitute for the radical internal political change that alone could render the Soviets less dangerous, and for which the United States should strive, in part by calling attention to Moscow’s human rights violations.
By playing down Kim Jong Un’s human rights abuses while eschewing regime change and offering the Pyongyang regime a “security guarantee,” Trump implicitly embraced an updated detente-ist worldview.
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