Great news: President Hillary plans to use Obama's Iran playbook for our relations with North Korea

We regularly hear Hillary Clinton complaining that Donald Trump won’t provide any specifics as to how he plans to Make America Great Again and accomplish the many goals he’s set for himself once in office. To give credit where due, Clinton herself does on occasion offer the details of her own plans and she’s done so again this week. This segment of her platform deals with how we will keep a lid on North Korea and their constantly expanding nuclear weapons program. So how will Secretary Clinton deal with the isolated nation’s diminutive and arguably insane leader? The same way that Barack Obama handled Iran, of course. (Bloomberg)

One of Hillary Clinton’s top priorities as president would be to use sanctions to pressure North Korea to negotiate limits on its nuclear program, according to Clinton’s top foreign policy adviser. The strategy would mimic the Obama administration’s approach to Iran.

Jake Sullivan, the head of the Clinton campaign’s foreign policy advisory team, was one of two officials who began secret negotiations with Iran in 2012 that eventually resulted in the nuclear agreement that Iran struck last summer with six world powers. He told an audience Monday evening at the Asia Society in New York that Clinton is planning a similar strategy to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program.

“This is a paramount security challenge of the United States. It will have to be right at the top of the agenda for the next president to deal with,” he said. “It’s hard for me to underscore how important it is that we place urgency behind this.”

Once again we can at least give a tip of the hat to Clinton’s consistency on a few things. (Though precious few to be honest.) She’s spent a fair amount of time on the campaign trail defending the Obama legacy and using that as a cudgel against Bernie Sanders. Sanders has been critical of Obama on a number of issues (particularly endless wars and big money in politics) whereas Clinton repeatedly talks about how the President doesn’t get the credit he deserves. This is a fairly transparent ploy to attract the minority voters who propelled Obama to victory twice, but it seems to be working for her in the primary.

But how does Secretary Clinton think things are going to work out between the United States and North Korea using the Iran blueprint? For that matter, is there anyone left outside of the Obama and Clinton inner circles who really thinks the Iran deal is “working” so far? Recent news items about the propaganda campaign they pushed through to get this deal locked up have shown how we’ve been pretty much sold a bill of goods. Things are working out wonderfully for Iran, where they are back in the international oil market and gaining legitimacy in the eyes of Europe and Asia, but what benefit has been coming our way is a mystery.

And what new sanctions is Clinton thinking of against Kim Jong-un that we don’t already have in place? We’ve sanctioned them until the cupboards are essentially bare, and these are sanctions which we actually have most of the rest of the world backing us up on, unlike the situation with Cuba. As long as China remains the life support line keeping North Korea afloat, it’s hard to see how much tighter we can squeeze them. Offering them carrots instead of sticks traditionally hasn’t worked either, since they take all the aid they can lay their hands on and then continue with their bad habits unabated.

I suppose it’s comforting to know that Clinton has “a plan” to deal with North Korea, at least for her supporters in the Democratic primary. But using the Iran deal as a model should tell the voters that we’re in for more of the same failure that we’ve been encountering for years.


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Ed Morrissey 10:01 AM on June 02, 2023