The primary issue that is being negotiated with North Korea is its nuclear weapons and the missiles they might be mounted on for attacks on the United States and its allies, South Korea and Japan. A meaningful agreement will have to include many technical issues.
Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo are not nuclear or rocket scientists, nor can we expect most politicians to be. But the technical facts are no less difficult to learn than the economics. (Oops! They get that wrong, too. I will push forward anyway.) Pundits commenting on the negotiations and people who simply want to understand may find this list useful. Read More
Joint Statement of President Trump and Kim Jong Un. The North Koreans have issued their own readout, but the US has not issued one of its own beyond statements to the press from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. North Korean tv also featured a documentary, in which, among other things, Donald Trump salutes a North Korean army officer. Photo from The Guardian. Read More
What is wrong with Donald Trump’s approach to the summit with North Korea. Trump: “I am the only one who matters.” And he’s not preparing. Technical unknowns in verifying North Korea’s nuclear program. History of negotiations with North Korea. North Korea seems to be destroying a missile test stand. Like the nuclear test site, this is a significant symbolic action but may be easily reversible.
These demands for results from the North Korean summit by Senate Democrats sound like they could have come from John Bolton. Bad idea. Richard Haas breaks down how the negotiations should work but probably won’t.
By me in Pakistan Politico: The Illogic of Regime Change.
Many good points here about foreign policy realism. But the realists often carry it too far.
This is somewhat beyond the usual for Nuclear Diner, but it’s the only article I’ve seen that does a good job of explaining what college is likely to cost. Spoiler: it’s related more to family income than to the institution.
President Barack Obama’s statements and decisions around responses to Bashar al-Assad’s use of Sarin against Syrian opposition provide a test case for three issues: Intervening in conflicts that have only indirectly to do with US interests, assumptions about the use of force that have gendered aspects, and how a president communicates. If we are to end our forever wars and avoid stumbling into more, we need to understand these issues. Read More
Kim Jong Un doesn’t want American businesspeople running all over his country. He wants sanctions lifted. It’s always a bad idea not to understand what your negotiating partner wants. This article is from a few days ago, but it’s a good summary of Japan’s and China’s concerns.
Background on Kim Yong Chol, who delivered a letter from Kim Jong Un to Donald Trump. Kim Yong Chol is at center in the photo.
To nobody’s surprise, it looks like North Korea pulled everything that might have any technical use out of the Punggye-ri test site before they sealed the entrances to the tunnels. Photos of the destruction. Before and after overhead images. Siegfried Hecker thinks it is a positive move.
Comprehensive historical database of North Korea’s nuclear program from Hecker and his co-workers at CISAC. From that history, Hecker predicts it will take 15 years to denuclearize North Korea. The Institute for Science and International Security thinks it will take much less time, but they forego verification for the first 18 months. This is odd, because they are among the most vocal proponents of unlimited inspections in Iran.
New book: The Future of Nuclear Power in China, by Mark Hibbs.
Long Read: We are going to need truth and reconciliation commissions, or something like them, after Trump. Here is one way that might be done.