Having lived in Iran from 1977 to 1979 I followed Obama's and Secretary of State Kerry's negotiations to the Iran Nuclear agreement very closely. I am now watching/following Trump's and Secretary of State Pompeo dealing with North Korea regarding a nuclear (hopefully) treaty on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula with great interest. I read U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly's (D-11) partisan letter (“The Art of a Deal with the Devil,” Connection, June 20-26, 2018) with interest and could not disagree with him more.
The little concrete concessions that have been given up to date can easily be reversed by restarting the joint South Korean/U.S. military exercises should North Korea not continue on a path to denuclearization. Regarding the Trump meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong-un and giving him international legitimacy, I am guessing the meeting between former President Bill Clinton and Kim Jong II in August 2009 in Pyongyang, or the meeting between former President Jimmy Carter with the leader of North Korea did not convey any legitimacy to the regime. Additionally, one should remember prior to Trump meeting Kim Jong-un in Singapore the U.S. hostages that were being held in NK were released (good will gesture) without flying a plane load of money to North Korea to ensure their release. Finally, early in the denuclearization negotiation process, the U.S. is working with North Korea for the return of the remains of more than 250 missing U.S. military service members. This announcement was made public in a joint statement by President Trump and Kim Jong Un. This may not mean anything to Connolly, but it will mean a great deal to the family members of the missing soldiers from the 1950's conflict/war. The American people can only hope that a valid treaty (not a useless agreement) comes from these discussions and partisans such as Connolly will actually vote for a treaty if it is good for the American people and the security of the homeland regardless of how Connolly's party leadership tells him to vote.
These negotiations are our last hope to avoid war as NK has a nuclear weapon and the missile delivery system and now only needs to finish developing the re-entry deployment system. The clock is ticking and it is time for a new approach. Obama's North Korea policy of "Strategic Patience" (whatever that meant) along with other methods by both Republicans and Democrats over the years did not stop the North's march to nuclear weapons, and maybe it is time to try something new besides appeasement.
Finally, this rebuttal of Gerry Connolly's letter cannot be closed without addressing some of his errors regarding Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran (JCPOA). That agreement did not stop Iran on their march to a nuclear weapon, it only paused/slowed the development of the bomb while they (Iran) continued their missile development program (delivery system). Once the delivery system was/is fully developed and could reach the U.S, they could then break out of the JCPOA and rush to the development of a nuclear bomb. If the agreement between Obama and Iran was such a solid agreement at stopping Iran's nuclear program it would have been presented to Congress as a treaty and not an agreement. A treaty would have required addressing missile development, true inspections (to include military) sites, but Obama and Kerry were more interested in their legacy and kicking the can down the road to a future administration. Even as an agreement, 25 House Democrats in Congress voted against a bad Obama/Kerry agreement with Iran. Let us all hope that the Korean talks produce a solid treaty that denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as any other option is not pretty. Give the administration time, stop the partisan politics, and work for the good of all the American people and not just one's party.