The geo-strategic ripple effects of the 2018 U.S. nuclear negotiation with North Korea and the 1994 U.S. nuclear agreement with Pyongyang have been closely scrutinized by Iran’s Ayatollahs. Similarly, North Korea has studied the geo-strategic consequences of the 2015 U.S.-led nuclear accord with the Ayatollahs (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).
The track record of the nuclear negotiations with the Ayatollahs and North Korea verifies a clear and direct interconnection between the two processes. Moreover, the nuclear agreements with both the Ayatollahs and North Korea were largely shaped by the State Department establishment, in general, and Wendy Sherman, the former Chief Negotiator and Acting Deputy Secretary of State, in particular.
Furthermore, the overall conduct of both rogue regimes—as far as abandoning or advancing nuclearization, ending or expanding terrorism, subversion and ballistic capabilities—has been immensely impacted by the U.S. negotiation posture. Thus, the less assertive and more eager is the United States, and the more reluctant it is to use the military option, the less deterred and the more radicalized are Iran and North Korea.
They consider concessions made by the United States and other Western democracies to be a sign of weakness, especially when the concessions are tangible and immediate—in return for future reciprocity—ignoring the tenuous, violent, unreliable and lawless track record of the two rogue regimes.
For example, according to the 1994 Agreed (nuclear) Framework and subsequent agreements (negotiated until 2001), North Korea was supposed to dismantle its nuclear program and to refrain from developing, testing, producing and selling ballistic missiles (hardware and technology), which exceed a 300-mile range. In defiance of those agreements, North Korea has dramatically enhanced its non-conventional capabilities, sharing some of its nuclear technologies with Iran and Syria. It led to the erection of a nuclear reactor in Syria, which was destroyed by Israel in 2007.
On Oct. 18, 1994, President Clinton stated: “… This agreement will help to achieve a longstanding and vital America objective: an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula. This agreement is good for the U.S., for our allies and for the safety of the entire world. …”
However, in 2006, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test. The U.S. response—in an attempt to salvage the nuclear (supposedly disarmament) accord—featured additional concessions, such as the removal of North Korea from the State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism. This further eroded the U.S. posture of deterrence, intensified Pyongyang’s intransigence, and infuriated and undermined the national security of Japan and other allies of America.
Since the July 2015 Iran nuclear Agreement, the Ayatollahs have radicalized and intensified their military involvement in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, as well as their subversive and terrorist operations, aiming to topple all pro-U.S. Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Peninsula (primarily, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain), Jordan and Egypt, as well as multitude of pro-Western regimes in Asia and Africa, and entrenching their anti-U.S. presence in Latin America.