Nuclear Fiascoes: From Diplomatic Failure With North Korea To Debacle With Iran
With Congress due to vote by Sept. 17 on the Iran nuclear deal, there’s a warning worth revisiting. It goes like this: The president is pushing a historic nuclear agreement, saying it will stop a terror-sponsoring tyranny from getting nuclear weapons. And up pipes the democratically elected leader of one of America’s closest allies, to say this nuclear deal is mortal folly. He warns that it is filled with concessions more likely to sustain and embolden the nuclear-weapons-seeking despotism than to disarm it.
This critic has more incentive than most to weigh the full implications of the deal, because his country is most immediately in harm’s way — though it has not been included in the nuclear talks. He notes that the nuclear negotiators have sidelined such glaring issues as human rights, and warns that Washington is naive, and the U.S. is allowing itself to be manipulated by a ruthless dictatorship.
No, the critic I’m referring to is not Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though he has warned of precisely such dangers in the Iran nuclear deal. I am citing the warnings voiced 21 years ago by the then-President of South Korea, Kim Young Sam, as the Clinton administration bargained its way toward the 1994 nuclear deal with North Korea known as the Agreed Framework.
As it turned out, Kim Young Sam’s misgivings were right on target. The 1994 Agreed Framework did not stop North Korea’s pursuit of the bomb. Instead, it became a pit stop on North Korea’s road to the nuclear arsenal it is amassing today.
For all the differences between North Korea and Iran, there are parallels enough to suggest that the failed 1994 nuclear bargain with North Korea is an excellent guide to the future trajectory with Iran, if the U.S. goes ahead with the nuclear deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — announced by the U.S., France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and Iran on July 14 in Vienna.