Pyongyang’s move to halt nuclear and missile tests is more the result of collective efforts, including that of Russia and China, than US threats to “wipe off the map” North Korea, a top Russian senator says.
On Friday, the North Korean leadership announced it is freezing the nuclear and ballistic missile programs and scrapping a major test site. The development could be the “news of the year,” head of Russia’s Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev, believes.
Yet, it is not the end of the long-running crisis in the region which was once “at the threshold of a nuclear conflict”. Much more lies ahead – from North Korea returning to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog, to Washington abandoning its aggressive rhetoric
2--America Can’t Be Trusted Anymore, Stephen Walt
According to the Pew Research Center, the number of people who trust U.S. leadership has dropped from an average of 64 percent at the end of the Obama administration to roughly 22 percent during Trump’s first year in office. Even more remarkably, a larger percent of people around the world have confidence that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Putin will “do the right thing in world affairs” than the current U.S. president....
America’s handling of the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea does not inspire confidence in its trustworthiness either. There is no question that North Korea violated the agreement by secretly working on an alternative enrichment path, but the United States never lived up to its commitments either. In particular, it failed to lift economic sanctions as promised, and the light-water power reactors it had pledged to provide were delayed for years and ultimately never arrived. As Stephen Bosworth, the veteran U.S. diplomat who headed the multinational effort to implement the agreement, later put it, “The Agreed Framework was a political orphan within two weeks after its signature.”
And then there’s the checkered history of U.S. policy toward Libya. Building on a successful multilateral sanctions program, the Bush administration successfully convinced Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi to let American inspectors enter the country, dismantle his entire weapons of mass destruction program, and cart it away. To get the agreement, however, Bush promised Qaddafi that the United States would not attempt to overthrow his regime. It was a clear quid pro quo: Qaddafi gave up his weapons programs, and the United States promised not to do to him what it did to Saddam Hussein. But then a few years later, President Barack Obama’s administration ignored that earlier pledge and collaborated in Qaddafi’s overthrow.
But wait, there’s more! The multinational operation against Qaddafi was authorized by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, and Russia agreed to abstain on the resolution because its stated purpose was preventing Qaddafi from attacking civilians in Benghazi, not toppling the regime. However, as Stephen R. Weissman has shown in an important article, regime change was on U.S. officials’ minds from the get-go, and they soon blew right past the terms of the resolution. As former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates later recalled, “The Russians felt they had been played for suckers on Libya. They felt there had been a bait and switch.” And they were right. So, if you’re ever wondering why Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly blocked Security Council action over the disaster in Syria, there’s at least part of your answer.
Needless to say, the lessons of Libya have not been lost on other countries. North Korean media have repeatedly invoked this example to justify the country’s nuclear weapons program and to warn against ever trusting assurances from the United States. And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. If you were Kim Jong Un, would you rather pin your survival on a nuclear deterrent of your own or promises from the United States?