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An Iran-Style Nuclear Deal With North Korea Is the Best America Can Hope For

Published by The Atlantic

By Robert S. Litwak

Donald Trump, who campaigned for president promising to bring his unique dealmaking skills to gridlocked Washington, assumed office facing a twin choice. On the one hand, he would have to decide whether, as candidate Trump had repeatedly pledged, to undo “the worst deal ever” with Iran that the Obama administration and the world’s major powers had negotiated in 2015 to block that country’s pathways to the bomb for at least 15 years. Conversely, he would also have to decide whether to do a deal with North Korea to constrain its burgeoning nuclear and missile programs…

After the United States’s regime-changing military interventions in Iraq and Libya, the Kim Jong Un regime is not going to relinquish nuclear weapons viewed as essential to its survival. The Trump administration thus faces the choice of pivoting from the unobtainable objective of denuclearization to the alternative—an imperfect nuclear deal that would freeze North Korean nuclear and missile capabilities at their current level. In short, the template for preventing a North Korean nuclear breakout that could directly threaten the United States is the Iran nuclear agreement—the “worst deal ever negotiated.”

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