It’s Time to Act, Not React, on North Korea

Although things have been quiet in recent months and there has been no active dialogue between North Korea and the United States, developments in recent days suggest that Pyongyang is back on the agenda of the international community. First, it became known that the US has been reaching out to North Korea through several channels, starting in mid-February, but it has not heard back. North Korea then published two statements...

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Biden Should Rejoin the Iran Deal Before It’s Too Late

As Congress still struggles to pass a COVID relief bill, the rest of the world is nervously reserving judgment on the new US president and his foreign policy after successive administrations have delivered unexpected and damaging shocks to the world and the international system. Cautious optimism toward President Joe Biden is very much based on his commitment to Barack Obama’s signature diplomatic achievement in 2015: the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear agreement with...

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The Iran Deal vs. the Logic of History

The Associated Press offers an update on the standoff between the US and Iran over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran deal, from which Donald Trump as president spectacularly withdrew the US in 2018. Trump committed an act of pure will, with no serious legal argument related to the terms of the agreement. In the culture of international diplomacy, that usually signifies a betrayal...

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Will the US and Iran Meet Jaw to Jaw?

On February 4, US President Joe Biden visited the US State Department, located down the street from the White House. He went to deliver a foreign policy message much needed by the men and women of that department and the nation. His audience was a receptive one, not surprising given that nearly all of the hundreds in attendance were career diplomats and civil service employees. He delivered exactly what they...

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Will the US and Russia Start Over?

It’s winter in Russia, which is not a season for the faint-hearted. The pandemic is still hitting the country hard, with the number of new COVID cases hovering around 20,000 a day, which has cumulatively put the country in the global top five in terms of infections. Under these inauspicious conditions, if you are brave enough to face down the cold and COVID to protest openly against the government of...

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Unchanged or Unchained: What’s in Store for the JCPOA?

When any new US president is inaugurated, especially when there is a change of party, the world expects some kind of serious change. Despite the fact that since 1992 every change of president has seen a change of the party in power, continuity has been the most consistent feature of those moments of transition. Every president has to embody change without betraying a system that insists on remaining permanent.  Over...

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JCPOA 2.0: A Pinch of Hope and a Dose of Reality

On January 18, in an interview with Bloomberg, Qatari Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, speaking in the wake of the settlement of the Gulf feud, took the opportunity to argue that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) should sit down with Tehran. “The time should come,” he said “when the GCC sits at the table with Iran and reaches a common understanding that we have to live with each other....

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