nuclear diplomacy

September 13, 2017

It was only a few years ago that e-diplomacy was being heralded as an unalloyed force for good. This 21st Century form of statecraft would bring transparency and openness to the closeted world of international affairs...U.S. President Donald Trump has obviously highlighted the dangers of conducting foreign policy by social media. In the hands of the impulsive and uniformed, the smart phone becomes a dangerous weapon.

What remains unclear is whether North Korea's claims are valid that it had tested a 'hydrogen' device with potentially destructive capabilities many times that of an atomic bomb. A consensus view among nuclear experts is that Pyongyang is exaggerating its technical proficiency for its own purposes aimed both at bolstering the North Korean regime in the eyes of its own people, and at the same time reminding its neighbours of its deterrent capabilities.

Selling nuclear diplomacy with Iran was perhaps the toughest job at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference this year -- second only to shepherding teenage attendees to the AIPAC selfie wall. Still, one gutsy former adviser to President Barack Obama decided to give it a shot -- and soon realized he might have been better off handing out selfie sticks.

As an American military strike looms over Syria, Iran is weighing its decades-long alliance with Syria against its own pledges to reengage with the US and the West over its nuclear program and other issues. Tehran's combative rhetoric may appear to have changed little: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei likened a Syria strike to a spark to gunpowder, “whose dimensions and consequences are unknown.” And Revolutionary Guard commander Mohammad Ali Jafari has predicted Syria could become America’s “second Vietnam.”

The case of a U.S. citizen jailed in North Korea is a human rights issue that has no connection to long-stalled talks over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons, the State Department said on Wednesday. Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, is slated to travel to Pyongyang on Friday. The State Department on Tuesday described his trip as a “humanitarian mission” aimed at winning the release of ailing Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary and tour operator.