The Iran Deal Cannot be a Template for a North Korea Deal if NK doesn’t Want to Deal

This is a rather tardy re-post of something I wrote for the Diplomat in the wake of the Iran deal in late July.

I still think my basic argument is correct. North Korea is far more isolated than Iran, so it needs the weapons a lot more. It also spent a far larger proportionate share of GDP to develop those weapons. So there’s no way they’d give them up without impossible concessions like the withdrawal of USFK or the end of multiparty elections in South Korea.

Note to Congressional Republicans: Please Don’t Send One of Your Iran Letters to China

Democracy vs. Jim Pinkerton in Egypt

I must say I really don’t know WTF Jim Pinkerton is talking about, but I’m willing to give him his say. Between David Corn’s optimistic view on the Egyptian protests and Pinkerton’s, I would side with Corn’s. But then, I would also be cautious about predicting the future.

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The Spurious Iranian Bogeyman in Cairo

Haroon Moghul makes several good points about why Americans should at least not fear either revolution in Egypt or the Muslim Brotherhood.

The rest of the conversation is excellent. I would also point to Moghul’s essay distinguishing the 1979 Iranian revolution from the protests in Cairo.

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Punishment Without Pain, Backfilling With Impunity

What looks like Japan’s principled stance against the Iranian nuclear program turns out tobe rather lame.

Japan’s new sanctions include a freeze on the assets of scores of groups and individuals linked to the country’s nuclear programme.

They ban the provision of insurance or reinsurance services to Iran and bar Japanese financial institutions from buying bonds issued by Iran’s central bank.

The new ban on financial activity with 15 designated Iranian banks that could contribute to nuclear activities could affect some Japanese banks, analysts said.

Toyota Motor Corp has suspended motor vehicle exports to the country indefinitely since June.


DPRK’s Burmese Lifeline

In addition to the weapons sales and tunnel expertise the DPRK is trading for Burmese raw goods, including food,  New Old FriendsYangon is helping to extend Iran’s strategic reach in Southeast Asia.

…the Burmese military regime has recently boosted ties with Iran, which according to the UN report is also allegedly receiving nuclear and missile technologies from North Korea.

Debunking the Myth of Peace through Economic Ties (Video)

As an undergrad, I had the honor of studying with a student of Robert Keohane, one half of the team that wrote Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition and founder of the complex interdependence “school”. Now, Charles Kupchan claims he has proven that regime is irrelevant to diplomacy, and that geopolitics trumps economic interdependence. Although Eli Lake highlights the relevance of Kupchan’s work to Iran and Israel, I immediately thought of the DPRK. Kupchan’s theory helps those opposing economic engagement with Pyongyang.

The Official Heart of the Cheonan Conspiracy Machine

Seoul and Pyongyang continue sparring over the cause of the sinking of ROKS Cheonan, and are now disagreeing about mini-subs, torpedoes, gas turbines, and brochures.

North Korea’s National Defense Commission in its first ever press conference for the international media Friday challenged the findings of a multinational investigation into the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan and accused the South of “fabricating” charges. South Korea’s Defense Ministry and other government agencies immediately presented evidence to rebut North Korea’s claims.

The Week We View: All the news that's fit to miss

The Week We View: All the news that's fit to miss

Obama should resign and run for president in Iran

Obama should resign and run for president in Iran

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