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Lessons of the Iran Nuke Talks?
The Vainglorious Mr. Kerry

SecState John Kerry has put his foot in his mouth, again: Reuters reports on some recent comments he made in Seoul about the weapons programs in North Korea, where negotiations have failed to keep a lid on the country’s nuclear development. Kerry suggested a deal with Iran could change that:

“I think never has the international community been as united as we are now, that, number one North Korea needs to denuclearize,” Kerry said, adding a pending nuclear deal with Iran could serve as an example to the North.

Secretary Kerry is right that there are analogous features between the two countries that may make negotiations with one a lesson for the other. Both countries, after all, are rogue, despotic states that work hard to foster a hatred of America in their subjects even as they sponsor terrorism, and each consistently commits crimes against humanity. But somehow, Kerry has managed to get both the order and the argument completely backwards.

It is North Korea that should serve as a warning to Kerry about Iran, not the other way around. In 2005, more than a decade of negotiations with Pyongyang ended in failure and a year later geologists recorded the seismic activity of the North’s first underground nuclear test. Pyongyang is now said to have at least ten nuclear weapons, likely including some sufficiently miniaturized to fit on a warhead. This example shows exactly why we cannot assume that powers we negotiate with will act in good faith, rather than use the process itself to buy time and sanctions relief. Indeed, the fact that the U.S. and the international community have never really been able to stop a state from going nuclear—think the Soviet Union, Pakistan, or China—should be a reminder about how hard it is to control proliferation.

One truly hopes that Kerry is just playing politics here, and doing so poorly. If he really believes what he says, that the way this administration has handled Iran has been such an impressive story of success as to be a model for future denuclearization efforts, he’s lost touch with reality.

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  • wigwag

    “One truly hopes that Kerry is just playing politics here, and doing so poorly. If he really believes what he says, that the way this administration has handled Iran has been such an impressive story of success as to be a model for future denuclearization efforts, he’s lost touch with reality.” (Via Meadia)

    It hard to lose touch with reality when you were never in touch with reality in the first place.

  • Pete

    The man is — and always was — a damn fool. That Kerry has been able to rise to such influential positions bespeaks of the dumbing down America.

  • Ellen

    Today there was a news item that Wendy Sherman (the same one who negotiated the failed North Korean deal) has said she will not continue in her role after June 30 in the Iran nuclear negotiations. Now, that is interesting, because it sounds like (surprise surprise) there won’t be a deal by June 30. So what does that imply? That Iran is not agreeing to make any compromises on any of the key issues, and she doesn’t want to do another North Korea-type fiasco.

    Kerry has been saying all along the same doltish things he said about his infamous Israeli-Palestinian peace process which was nothing of the sort and ended with a splat. There was a “narrowing of differences, consensus is being reached, blah blah blah. That isn’t how real people in the real world negotiate on what they view as an existential conflict. There is no such thing as half-surviving. The problem is not just Wendy Sherman. John Kerry should resign too, and Obama should disappear himself from the management of foreign affairs..

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