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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Robert Galluci and Joel Wit, "North Korea’s Real Lessons for Iran": Failure's Silver Lining

Today, we are the beneficiaries of a guest New York Times op-ed entitled "North Korea’s Real Lessons for Iran" by Robert Galluci and Joel Wit. As we are told at the bottom of the opinion piece, Galluci, "a professor of diplomacy at Georgetown University, was the chief negotiator for the 1994 nuclear deal with North Korea," and Wit, "a senior fellow at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins, was the coordinator for the deal from 1995 to 1999." Telling us that "we should not be surprised if Tehran is caught cheating," these two gentlement have a suggestion for us:

"For Iran, we need a mechanism for resolving disputes and a plan for political, economic and possibly military steps to deal with violations that we and our partners have agreed on beforehand."

Questions for these two men: Given America's rocky relationship with both Russia and China, wouldn't it have been wise for the P5+1 to have agreed among themselves upon such a mechanism long before the June 30, 2015 deadline for a comprehensive agreement with Iran? Moreover, do Gallucci and Wit honestly believe, given recent joint naval exercises between Russia and Iran and China and Iran, that agreement pertaining to military steps is even possible? In addition, are they of the opinion that once European corporations again sell goods to Iran, it will be so easy to persuade Germany, for example, to swiftly reintroduce ("snap back" in Obama's words) a sanctions regime?

Most disturbing, however, is how Gallucci and Wit seek to explain that North Korea's production of atomic weaponry in violation of its agreement with the US has a silver lining:

"Although our policy ultimately failed, the agreement did not. Without the 1994 deal, North Korea would have built the bomb sooner, stockpiled weapons more quickly and amassed a much larger arsenal by now. Intelligence estimates in the early 1990s concluded that the North’s nuclear program was so advanced that it could produce 30 Nagasaki-size nuclear weapons a year by the end of the decade. More than 20 years later, that still hasn’t happened."

Or in other words, it could have been worse. How comforting . . .

But suppose now that Iran cheats (as Gallucci and Wit seem to expect), how many atomic bombs will it take to "annihilate" Israel, which is the size of New Jersey? Two? Three? Or perhaps they would have us discount Khamenei's November 2014 tweet:

"This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated."

Sorry, boys, but I take Iran's Supreme Leader at his word.

1 comment:

  1. Did Galluci and Wit mention North Korea's successful nuclear proliferation sales, including to Iran, as another 'silver lining' of the 1995-99 negotiations?

    Has North Korea ever threatened anyone as Khamenei did in his tweet?

    I suppose the US State Department's next step will be to deploy balloons carrying the dvd of "300" over Teheran?

    fwiw, It is a small comfort that Iran is now the economic colony of China. Add the centuries-long complicated relationship with Russia, and it does look like the pork-eaters have real control over what remains of the Persian empire.

    Everyone should believe Khamenei. The NYT still believes Stalin had nothing to do with the 1930's Ukrainian famines...