During World War I, soldiers all along the Western front held a series of informal truces in December 1914 to commemorate Christmas. It was early in the war, and opposition had not yet hardened into implacable enmity. The military command, caught by surprise, could not impose complete battlefield discipline. An estimated 100,000 British and German… Continue reading We Need a Coronavirus Truce
Of all the bizarre things that Donald Trump utters — the lies, the garbled words, the fanciful stories — his comments on his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are in a category by themselves. “I was really tough and so was he, and we went back and forth,” Trump told a crowd… Continue reading Summit Interruptus
It’s embarrassing enough to have Donald Trump as president. But now American citizens have to endure the additional pain of the sanctions that other countries are imposing on the United States. Doesn’t the world realize that we’re suffering enough as it is? That seems so grossly unfair. Oh, but wait: that’s how sanctions work. Iraqis… Continue reading Wait, You’re Sanctioning Us?
Donald Trump loves to talk about war. Last year, Trump was ready to invade Venezuela, until calmer heads in his inner circle persuaded him that it wasn’t a good idea. He has recently escalated his threats against Iran, and his secretary of state has explicitly endorsed regime change there. After his meeting with NATO leaders,… Continue reading Trump’s Next Move on North Korea
Negotiators are rushing to meet an end-of-March deadline to reach a nuclear framework deal with Iran. The Obama administration and its P5+1 partners (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are willing to lift economic sanctions as long as Iran agrees to substantially curb its nuclear program for at least 10… Continue reading North Korea, Iran, and a Congress that Says No
Cuba and North Korea share a great deal in common. They are both led by dynastic rulers. They retain their nominal affiliation to revolutionary Communism. They suffer under U.S. embargoes that have been in place for decades. And although they registered significant economic and social progress in the 1960s, they have become increasingly impoverished as… Continue reading Carrots for Cuba, Sticks for North Korea
It’s not easy for North Korea to grab headlines these days. Over the last couple weeks, Pyongyang launched several short-range missiles and rockets. They barely caused a ripple. The world has been focused on the showdown in Ukraine, the nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the Oscars. North Korea also barely registers on the U.S. policymaking… Continue reading My Strategic Impatience
Even at an intuitive level, sanctions never made much sense to me. If North Korea is such an isolated country, and isolation only reinforces the leadership’s paranoia, then adopting a policy of further isolating the country through sanctions seems counterproductive. If you want the people of Iran to rise up against their leaders, why give… Continue reading Life under Sanctions