Thursday, May 26, 2005

Nuclear Diplomacy: How it might work

Iran agrees to stop enriching Uranium
WTO opens membership talks with Iran

Now, notice how the deal was cut. Iran's agreement is with the European 3 (UK, FR, GER), not wit the US, and officially, the US remains suspicious of any agreement with Iran.
But, gee, its no accident that the very next day the WTO opens talks with Iran, and that only happens with US approval since it has been the US blocking any WTO movement on Iran.
Suddenly the US just lets this go forward? Right.....
Diplomacy in action.

What makes this deal rather good, I think, is that the supposed "carrot" offered to Iran--WTO membership--is no more than a mechanism for having them voluntarily commit to many of the societal openings that we're pushing anyway. After all, what does the WTO do? It makes sure that the members play by the rules of the global trade regime. If you want in, you must follow the rules. Not only that, you must re-organize your domestic governance, economy, and society, to play by these rules.
So the argument goes, this requires liberalization, and such liberalization involves not just economic liberalization, but ultimately political liberalization as well.

Most importantly, though, it makes it much harder to run a theocracy. The current global trade rules were (and are) written by Western liberal-democratic states, and they are written to favor such types of states. If you want in, you need to show that you are willing to be socialized into the system, and if you want to actually play the game, you need to socialize into the system.

By George, we might be on to something here, ya'think?

Saturday, May 07, 2005

North Korea

Seriously, I could just blog about North Korea and I would never run out of things to say.....
Today, we learn that US intelligence agencies believe that NK is preparing to test a nuke. We know from some pretty slick photo-interpretation.
This, of course, would be quite bad. Its one thing to say that you have a bomb-- others can always ignore you. Its quite another to go out and blow one up. Then people start to notice.
Now, we're warning them not to do this, but I secretly wonder if the Bush Administration will do anything serious to stop it. Back in the day, we'd have bombed them for less. Now, we're just hoping that this makes the Chinese mad enough to play ball.

But, the quote on NK that really got me was this one from said NYT article:
"The North Koreans have learned how to use irrationality as a bargaining tool," a senior American official said Thursday evening. "We can't tell what they are doing."
Gee, I can tell. They're threatening to test a nuke in hopes of raising the stakes in the bargining situation so as to pull the US back to the negotiating table, which is what they always wanted. And, if that doesn't work, they have a nice deterrent from it, ensuring that Kim won't go the way of Saddam.
Simple means-ends behavior well within the context of the established game of nuclear diplomacy. Sounds rather rational to me.

Seems as if someone should read Kang 2003 (recent WashPost chat here), Sigal 1998, and of course Howard 2004!!!

Then lets talk about rationality and North Korea.......

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