Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, made big news this week with a series of assertions about North Korea that appeared to contradict President Trump’s policy of engaging Pyongyang. Yes, they were interesting. But anyone who thought the conclusions were new or startling, think again.
Decision makers have been listening to the same old song that North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons program ever since the United States started to negotiate with North Korea in the Clinton administration 25 years ago. Back then, the assessment was also that they would not only never give up their program but then never sign the 1994 denuclearization deal. And while everyone forgets, the agreement completely gutted a plutonium production program that could have produced 75 bombs by the beginning of the 2000s.
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