North Korea Agreed Framework Turns 20

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Clinton administration’s signing of the Agreed Framework with North Korea. The lead up to the agreement and its aftermath should be a “teachable moment” for all those in the Obama administration intent on reaching a nuclear deal whatever the costs. After all, just as in 1994, the White House has committed itself to reach a deal with a rogue state with nuclear ambitions, regardless of the cost. White House actions suggest a belief that a bad deal would be better than no deal. Indeed, when researching my book on the history of American diplomacy with rogue regimes—research that took me to Korea—what became clear was that the Clinton negotiating team knew they had a bad deal but didn’t care. Communist regimes were collapsing around the globe, and so negotiators confided in private that they needn’t worry about the details, because just how long could the North Korean dictatorship last? In hindsight, the diplomatic process with North Korea was a disaster. After all, it has been against the backdrop of engagement and negotiated agreements with North Korea that the communist state has developed nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. Far from ending the threat from North Korea, it has been against the backdrop of often-desperate diplomacy that the threat became worse.

1
Shares
Google+ Print

North Korea Agreed Framework Turns 20

Must-Reads from Magazine

The Courage to Confront Campus Radicalism

Fear for the future.

When conservatives and conscience-addled liberals fret about the rising influence of censorious students on college campuses, the overwhelming response they get from skeptics is “who cares?” Those who do not outright defend creeping radicalism on campus are prone to minimize the threat of violence and fanaticism. While obtuse, this approach does have some immediate political utility. Dismissing events on campus as the antics of a few misguided kids casts those who care about such affairs as obsessive cranks who fixate on matters of no objective consequences. It goes without saying that not everyone is sincere who wonders aloud about the relevance of maximalist rhetoric, racial intolerance, and even violence on campus, but some are. They deserve an answer. Why should we care about rigidly enforced intellectual cloistering on campuses?

28
Shares
Google+ Print

Now, More than Ever, Holocaust Memory Matters

Memory and Judaism are inseparable.

Yes. That’s the answer to a question posed by the headline of Shmuel Rosner’s latest piece in the New York Times. Yes: Israeli students need to visit Auschwitz. All Jewish students should. Plenty of non-Jews, too.

8
Shares
Google+ Print

Mr. Ellison Goes to Dinner

Collusion of a different sort.

My former colleagues at The Wall Street Journal recently unearthed what should be a major political scandal. It involves an anti-American government, a prominent member of Congress, and a far-right group that traffics in anti-Semitism, homophobia, and conspiracy theories. In the current climate of anxiety about “collusion” and the alt-right, you would think the liberal media would give this story top billing.

88
Shares
Google+ Print

Trump Can Do No Right: Human Rights Edition

Damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't.

In a New York Times op-ed, Princeton University Professor Gary Bass recently contended that Donald Trump’s record on human rights is a disaster. In the effort to craft a comprehensive denunciation, Bass claimed that Trump is a menace not only when he “ignores” the issue of human rights but also “when he speaks up” about it. That surely covers all the bases.

12
Shares
Google+ Print

Music From Another World

Jóhann Jóhannsson, 1969-2018.

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson was found dead at his apartment in Berlin over the weekend, and police are still investigating the cause. He was 48. Jóhannsson’s richly textured soundscapes and his tremendous contributions to film will long endure.

11
Shares
Google+ Print