“Obama had the same three choices on Iran: bomb, acquiesce or negotiate. He did not want to bomb Iranian nuclear installations, because of the uncontrollable events bombing could unleash, and he did not want to acquiesce. So Obama negotiated what Litwak calls a “purely transactional” deal — Iran agreed to a 15-year halt on processing weapons-usable fissile material in return for significant sanctions relief, and no other behaviors were covered.
Obama’s bet? Something will happen in these 15 years that will be “transformational,” says Litwak, and provide the only true security — a change in the character of Iran’s regime.
Trump should follow that path, argues Litwak: Get North Korea to freeze its nuclear warheads at present levels — around 15 — freeze all production of weapons-usable fissile material and freeze all ballistic missile testing — so it cannot hit the U.S. — in return for an easing of economic sanctions and some economic aid.”
Good column by Tom Friedman, thank you. I think Friedman is making more of the North Korean nuclear threat than he needs to. But he is absolutely right that even a small nuclear threat should be contained. Friedman rarely to never compliments President Obama, but it is clear he admires Obama’s success in Iran.
I just sat through a day long conference about the South China Sea with with Jackson Center of International Relations at Yale, with academics from Yale, Center of Strategic and International Studies, and the Naval War College. One speaker, Lyle Goldstein, from the Naval War College, mentioned that he thought the problems with North Korea were more pressing than those of China’s taking over the South China Sea. He and I both think that the dragon in the room is China. China has the power to control North Korea. I approve of the news in today’s NYT that Rex Tillerson will pressure the Chinese to do more.