Wednesday Headlines

Human Rights Should Be Included In North Korea Negotiations
The decision by North Korea to test launch of a ballistic missile in violation of international sanctions is the latest demonstration of defiance by the rogue nation that poses a challenge to the US and its allies. As a response is considered, Carl Gersmann of World Affairs says it is time to adopt a comprehensive approach that treats human rights as a practical requirement, and not as a negotiations obstacle.

He argues it is time to cast aside the previous posture that accepted the belief that raising human rights problems in North Korea would be seen as provocative, particularly in light of “growing skepticism about the possibility that negotiations with North Korea can produce meaningful results” in changing their tone.

“There are two necessary components of a policy to deal with such a regime. The first is to contain North Korea by taking steps to deter its aggressive behavior, among them the imposition of comprehensive sanctions and the deployment in South Korea of an effective system of ballistic missile defense. The second is to change it by defending the human rights of the North Korean people. That means doing what we can to end their isolation from the outside world, to empower them, and to give them a voice in determining their country’s future,” he writes.

Whether a new approach will work is uncertain, but what we do know is that North Korea will continue to poke the eye of the West and violate the human rights of its people if the current policy remains unchanged.

US Will Remain Indispensable Actor In Maintaining Global Order John McLaughlin, former acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), asserts the global challenges facing the next administration will be “markedly” different from those faced by the Obama and Bush administrations.

While the threats facing the US will be great, he says the “things that are likely to determine America’s destiny in the world are things that Americans can affect – the quality of America’s governance, the agility of its diplomacy, and the management of its economy,” which affords the next president some degree of control.

There may be a strain in America’s political culture receptive to the idea of pulling back from leading, but McLaughlin argues the unrivaled power and influence held by the US means it remains indispensable to maintaining a semblance of global order, as long as it chooses to lead.

Iranians To Cast Vote In Parliamentary Elections
Iran will hold national elections this Friday, with the country’s voters set to cast their ballots for representatives in two important political bodies. Although the candidates for office are thoroughly vetted prior to gaining approval to run, the votes cast will have a substantial impact on the country’s future and the administration of President Hassan Rouhani, says Rouzbah Parsi of World Political Review.

The election in the Assembly of Experts, which is comprised of only religious leaders, is significant in the long term because since the council’s primary task is electing the supreme leader, the highest political authority in the Islamic Republic.

It also could “most immediately shape Iran’s economic policy, a constant headache for all Iranian presidents, but especially for Rouhani, who made an economic turnaround and the lifting of crippling international sanctions the centerpiece of his election platform in 2013,” contends Parsi.

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