Tag Archives: Iran

Is Iran the new North Korea?

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosted about 40 participants on April 1st in their downtown Washington, D.C. building. Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton; ASI’s resident scholar, Michael Rubin; and George Perkovich, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, led a discussion titled “Is Iran the new North Korea?” AEI’s Nicholas Eberstadt moderated the event that compared and contrasted the current undergoing nuclear deal with Iran to North Korea.

Rubin started off the discussion by explaining that he is paid to “predict the past” as a 19th century Iranian historian and certain patterns jump out when comparing North Korea to Iran. During the development of the nuclear agreement with the Asian country, the 1994 South Korean president Kim Young Sam, he explained, criticized the logic of the United States’ engagement with allowing North Korea to have nuclear weapons. This, in the eyes of the South Korean president, would bring more harm than good to the world. Rubin labeled Kim Young Sam as the Ben Netanyahu of that deal because of his advocate against the deal. But Rubin stated that, in regards to both deals, the U.S. “will never let allies get in our way because it won’t harm a good agreement.”

Perkovich highlighted the differences. He drew attention to the different amount of materials that both Iran and North Korea had at the beginning of their respected negotiations. Iran does not have sufficient material to develop one single nuclear weapon. North Korea had enough to build two nuclear weapons before the agreement was finalized. But Perkovich noted a few similarities, which include that both countries feared that the U.S.’s motives included destroying their regimes.

Bolton took his turn to discuss the economic sanctions side of the nuclear weapons. In order for the economic sanctions to be effective, it must be enforced by the military. North Korea’s sanctions were largely American unilateral but American unilateral sanctions are not enough because North Korea has been able to continue testing missiles. American unilateral sanctions are easy to avoid. The Iranian sanctions placed are not comprehensive enough, according to Bolton. In Iran, the economic sanctions have caused pain but there is no evidence that it has slowed down nuclear production.

During a question and answer portion, Rubin was asked if the Iranian people are open to nuclear weapons. Rubin stated that most polls show that people are in favor of the weapons but one company, which released a poll against the weapons, was later closed down. Bolton responded to his question on the constitutionality of the nuclear deal that President Obama is acting within the right of executive action. He also added that the outcry from Congress is a divergent from what the deal truly is.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion greatly. It was very intriguing to hear these three great minds share their knowledge and opinion of the topic. I am surprised by how little they did speak about the North Korea deal.

International Relations

As an intern at The Heritage Foundation, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to see and hear a number of congressmen and Senators, but one of the first, and by far my favorite such occasion, was an event with Senator Rand Paul on 6 February 2013 entitled “Restoring The Founder’s Vision Of Foreign Policy” in which Senator Paul discussed the rise of Islamic radicalism and his containment policy regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. Aside from my own background research I did in regards to Heritage’s and other’s studies of Iran before and after the event itself, I found Sen. Paul’s application of George Kennan’s early Cold War policies, namely containment, applied to a modern and, forgive my pun, radically different geopolitical foe than the former Soviet Union very interesting, to say the least.

My second favorite event I attended during my tenure at the think tank, which was as head and shoulders above the rest as the Senator’s was above this one, was an annual lecture on 20 March 2013 entitled “The Enduring Legacy Of America’s Commitment To Asia” with an address from Representative Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Committee On Foreign Affairs, and, as you might expect, the major topic at issue was U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific region. A course I took on the Politics Of East Asia last semester only served to highlight the dynamic evolution in Asia. However, the trade driven development seems more and more to be slowly but surely leading to nationalism on both sides of the ocean, which makes for a much less peaceful Pacific, but, interestingly enough, Representative Royce points toward the failure of America’s North Korea policy as the cause of an even greater threat than nationalism itself. Certain aspects of his solutions for continuing to build trade relationships we have been constructing for generations is a bigger role in India, trade and investment in Taiwan and dealing the rise of China better than we have dealt with N. Korea.

I can say with confidence that I learned a lot of new information and am now able to better process old information just for attending these events and others, and I would strongly encourage anyone and everyone with the opportunity to do so to get out into the District and hear these great thinkers speak if your goal is, like mine, to continually grow your knowledge of the world Washington helps shape every day.

A Taste of the Arab Spring: Marymount students discuss world politics with Dept. of State official

For students choosing to study politics at Marymount, the university’s “capital location” is a draw based on its potential to provide students with opportunities to learn more about the government first hand. Such an experience was conducted in Dr. Chad Rector’s American Foreign Policy class in March when Dr. Peter Howard of the State Department came to speak.

Dr. Howard was able to give students as much of an inside look at the inner workings of foreign policy and the United States government as declassification would allow. Working in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, students were quick to engage Dr. Howard in discussion concerning the Arab Spring, especially since several of the students hailed from those countries involved. Continue reading A Taste of the Arab Spring: Marymount students discuss world politics with Dept. of State official