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.

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North Korea Agreed Framework Turns 20

Must-Reads from Magazine

All Come Tumbling Down

Roy Moore, Al Franken, and taxes

audio: https://soundcloud.com/commentarymagazine/all_come_tumbling_down

In the second COMMENTARY podcast of the week, the crew (Noah’s still on vacation) makes sense of the continued allegations against Senate candidate Roy Moore, the new allegation against Senator Al Franken, the reemerging allegations against Bill Clinton, and the whole state of our post-Weinstein culture. We also reflect on the Republican tax-cut push and what its success would mean for Donald Trump. Give a listen.

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A Leftist Crank on Fox News

Tucker Carlson fetes an Israel-hater.

Strange ideological changes are afoot over at the Fox News Channel. The latest sign came Tuesday, with a Max Blumenthal appearance during prime time.

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U.S. Jews and Israel’s Right to Be Heard

What’s so threatening about mainstream Israeli opinion?

The growing divide between Israeli and American Jews was a major topic of conversation at this week’s annual meeting of the Jewish Federations of North America. It was also the topic of a lengthy feature in Haaretz, which largely blamed the Israeli government. Inter alia, it quoted former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro as saying, in reference to that majority of American Jews who identify as non-Orthodox and politically liberal, “There is an idea that has some currency in certain circles around the Israeli government that says, ‘You know what, we can write off that segment of American Jewry because in a couple of generations their children or grandchildren will assimilate.’”

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The Red Cross Destroys the Laws of War

Making War More Deadly

The International Committee of the Red Cross, self-appointed guardian of the laws of war, has embarked on an exciting new online project: destroying the very laws it ostensibly seeks to protect. Of course, the ICRC would put it differently; it would say it’s teaching the laws of war. The problem is that the “laws” it teaches aren’t the actual laws of war, as codified in international treaties, but a made-up version that effectively denies countries any right of self-defense against enemies that fight from positions inside civilian populations. And it is thereby teaching anyone unwilling to concede the right of self-defense that the laws of war should simply be ignored.

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North Korea Is No Laughing Matter

The South Park Presidency.

Twitter’s new, 280-character format hasn’t been a boon to presidential dignity. On Saturday, while traveling in Vietnam ahead of a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Donald Trump decided to chaff North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, on the social-media platform. “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,'” the president tweeted, “when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!”

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