Michael Rubin
Michael Rubin
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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Failed Nuclear Negotiations With North Korea Should Be A Lesson For The US On Iran

October 21, 2014  •  Business Insider

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Clinton administration's signing of the Agreed Framework with North Korea. The lead up to the agreement and its aftermath should be a "teachable moment" for all those in the Obama administration intent on reaching a nuclear deal whatever the costs. After all, just as in 1994, the White House has committed itself to reach a deal with a rogue state with nuclear ambitions, regardless of the cost. White House actions suggest a belief that a bad deal would be better than no deal. Indeed, when researching my book on the history of American diplomacy with rogue regimes—research that took me to Korea—what became clear was that the Clinton negotiating team knew they had a bad deal but didn't care. Communist regimes were collapsing around the globe, and so negotiators confided in private that they needn't worry about the details, because just how long could the North Korean dictatorship last? In hindsight, the diplomatic process with North Korea was a disaster. After all, it has been against the backdrop of engagement and negotiated agreements with North Korea that the communist state has developed nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. Far from ending the threat from North Korea, it has been against the backdrop of often-desperate diplomacy that the threat became worse.

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Arming Rebels Wasn't the Only Option

August 14, 2014  •  U.S. News and World Report

Syrian President Bashar Assad winning the Syrian civil war is akin to dying of a heart attack, but a Syrian opposition victory is the equivalent of dying from cancer. Unfortunately, the time for preventive medicine was more than three years ago.

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Beyond Bombing Iraq: Obama Needs an ISIS Strategy

August 12, 2014  •  The National Interest

During his weekly radio address on August 9, President Barack Obama explained his decision to launch airstrikes on Iraq. First, he said, American airpower was necessary to keep the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from sweeping into Erbil, where many American diplomats, officials and businessmen reside, and second, he declared force necessary to provide humanitarian relief for displaced Yezidi stranded and besieged on a mountaintop. Obama, however, cautioned that military power could not alone resolve the situation. "There's no American military solution to the larger crisis there," he said, urging "Iraqi communities to reconcile, come together and fight back against these terrorists." Fine words, but they reveal more confusion than clarity in the White House about Iraq, ISIS and the nature of terrorism.

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Time for an Anwar Sadat Moment in the Middle East

July 19, 2014  •  The National Interest

As Israel launched a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip, diplomats across the globe redoubled efforts to restore calm. Jordan called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. Egypt and Qatar sought to broker a truce. On July 16, President Obama embraced "diplomatic efforts to restore the cease-fire", and the following day, Secretary of State John Kerry cancelled an appearance at a Washington synagogue in order to consult with his international counterparts about the growing crisis. With violence flaring and diplomats scrambling, it's déjà vu all over again in the Middle East. Operation Protective Edge has simply become the sequel to 2008-2009's Operation Cast Lead or, for that matter, the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war.

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Time to Challenge U.S. Assumptions about Terrorism, Security, and Iraq

June 13, 2014  •  The National Interest

The fall of Mosul shocked Iraqis and Americans alike. In less than 48 hours, insurgents seized thousands of square miles of territory, hundreds of millions of dollars, and placed millions of people under their control. The Iraqi army is in tatters, terrorists are on the march, and Iran is poised to intervene. Clearly, the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq has not brought the peace which the White House promised.

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Books by Michael Rubin

Cover of Dancing with the Devil Cover of Eternal Iran Cover of Into the Shadows

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