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Robert E Kelly @Robert_E_Kelly
, 15 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Since this went viral, here are some responses to my critics: 1. Trump got 3 US hostages back; Obama got 10. These are indeed successes but hardly validate either's approach. Recall that N Korea takes hostages precisely to blur the political and strategic issues - nukes, human /1
rights, missiles - and create the illusion of progress thru releases by changing the subject. And US hostages have always been released in the end. Trumpers should stop using this data point. 2. The testing halt is also progress, but it is not at all clear that this is due to /2
Trump. What effort did Trump make for this to happen? Or did it just so happen that Trump was POTUS at the time? Recall that Trump is pretty lazy and doesn't read or prepare. Does anyone remember lengthy White House efforts last year on test ban? No. Bc they did not happen. If /4
you want to see what an actual sustained diplomatic effort on NK looks like, look at Yun Byung-se's effort to clip away at NK's diplomatic relationships during Park Geun Hye's presidency. The Trump WH did nothing like that for a test ban. I have argued elsewhere that the NKs /5
halted and agreed to talk, because they are shopping around for a deal, not because of anything Trump did:… This is another specious data point Trump should drop. 3. No,Obama is not 'responsible' for NK's nuclear weapons. By that logic, so are GW Bush or /6
any of his predecessors. NK, Iran, Israel, S Africa, and Pakistan all demonstrate that small states whom many others do not want to have nuclear weapons, can nonetheless get them. Both nuclear and missile technologies go back to the 1940s. It is not that hard for a determined /7
state to get them if it really wants. We can try our mightiest to stop them - sanctions, isolation, constraints like JCPOA and NPT, sabotage - but, barring the use of force, which the cancellation of JCPOA makes more likely, we have to learn to live with nuclear proliferation. /8
There is a large literature in international relations theory on deterrence which suggests we can live with a nuclear NK, however much we dislike that. The NK elite is rational, as are we.Neither will launch against the other unless in total desperation. I argue the worst case /9
scenario here:…. So should GW Bush have launched an axis of evil regime change war when NK first detonated a nuke in 2006? Should Obama have risked that? Trump only says the problem should have been 'taken care of long before' him to blame-shift.None of /10
his predecessors wanted to risk a massive regional conflict, just as he does not. This too is yet another bad faith talking point which Trump should drop. 4. Don't read this as some big defense of Obama on NK. Strategic patience was basically an admission that our NK options /11
are limited, bc they often negotiate in bad faith - the Leap Day Deal - and likely wanted to finish the nuclear missile program BEFORE they came to the table. That's why they are talking to us now - their deterrent is reasonable good now - and not bc of anything Trump or Moon /11
did. But I always defended strategic patience bc I thought Obama was being honest:…. Trump on the other hand gets a lot of criticism, bc he balloons expectations - CVID & a Nobel on NK, e.g. - but then quietly drops initiatives when they don't pan out, /12
often as experts predict. This has been the case on infrastructure, the wall, China trade, NK, and so on. Actual practice on NK under Trump hasn't been so bad. 'Maximum pressure,' i.e., more sanctions, is fine. Perhaps we can trade those for concessions. T's problems are: the /13
rhetoric - fire and fury, Americans should be more like N Koreans; the wild inconsistency - from fire to fury to a POTUS summit in just 6 mos with no explanation; the obvious animus toward SK - unnecessarily floating a USFK withdrawal in SG; the general feeling of a con-job /14
around the whole thing - Trump's refusal to prepare or read @ NK, nukes, or missiles b/f SG, that bizarre pseudo-trailer he showed KJU, the wildly inaccurate insistence that the NK nuke problem is taken care of. It's the charlatanism of the whole thing that alienates so many. END
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