Love and Fury: Trump Takes on North Korea and Iran


Gary Samore: Well, welcome everybody. Thank you so much for coming. Especially on this day when spring is once again trying to establish itself. It seems like we've had several false starts, but hopefully this is the real thing. So, I'm really delighted to welcome our guest tonight. Bob Gallucci, who is coming back to campus after having been a graduate student here a few years ago.

Bob Gallucci: Few.

Gary Samore: He got both his masters and his PhD here from the politics department. Bob Art, Professor Art, was his thesis advisor. And after graduating, Bob Gallucci went on to an incredibly diverse career in the government. He's been kind of a Jack of all trades. When the secretary of state needed something very difficult to be done, he knew who to call. So, Bob has done things like monitoring the cease fire in the Sinai between Egypt and Israel. He's worked on the Pakistani nuclear weapons program, inspected weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after the first Gulf War, helped to set up science centers in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union and participated in the Dayton peace negotiations for Bosnia.

Gary Samore: So, he's had a hand in many different interesting negotiations. And in particular, for our purposes tonight, he was the first U.S. diplomat to negotiate a nuclear agreement with North Korea. And in my mind, the most successful of all the agreements that we've negotiated. At least it lasted the longest before it broke down.

Gary Samore: After Bob left the government, he became a very successful Dean of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and then went on to be president of the MacArthur Foundation. And he's now back in a role teaching at Georgetown University. So, we're going to have a conversation about U.S. policy toward North Korea and Iran that we've called Love and Fury. And we'll make it a conversation and then we're going to turn to all of you and ask you to ask questions.

Gary Samore: So, let's start with North Korea. Since you were the first to really break the ice and actually negotiate an agreement with North Korea. And I want you to reflect on that experience and what, first of all, what was it like, and what lessons do you draw from that negotiation that is applicable to the situation we face today?

Bob Gallucci: Thank you Gary and thank you all for coming. I am coming home in a sense. I know you can't go home again, but it has been only 50 years since I was here. So, the first thing that occurs to me about ... In reaction to the question is that when we met with the North Koreans and we met them first at the U.S. mission to the United Nations. An odd place really to meet the North Koreans that you may know or not know, the U.S. mission to the U.N. is across the street from the U.N.

Bob Gallucci: And we had no experience at this. I didn't have a lot of people to talk to who could tell me what a negotiation with North Korea would be like. And I had no idea when I went up to New York that day that we'd be at this for a year and a half, on and off mostly in Geneva. And Gary, you conducted some of these negotiations in Southeast Asia too I think.

Gary Samore: Kuala Lumpur

Bob Gallucci: Kuala Lumpur. So, it became a cottage industry for us. But we didn't start that way. It started with who knows what. And so, I was very ... By the way, I should make clear, I am not an expert on Korea or Asia. I had been to South Korea once in my life before heading these negotiations. I know you're horrified to think your government behaves this way, but this is OJT as we used to say, on the job training. So, that when the North Koreans came into the room, I would be surprised if my reaction, I know it was shared by the members of the team, I think you'd have the same reaction. You would observe that their suits didn't fit terribly well. And once they sat down, you would probably also be struck, because I sure was by the fact that every single one of them had a little lapel pin with a picture of Kim Il Sung on it.

Bob Gallucci: And I know I was imagining me sitting there with a little picture of Bill Clinton that I couldn't imagine it. Imagine that. And I hadn't really no good idea about where these negotiate ... I knew what my negotiating objective was, but I didn't really know what the duration of these negotiations would be or how they'd go. I expected that we'd get a political rant from the North Koreans and that's what I was told to expect.

Bob Gallucci: In the one book, I shouldn't have, I'd read which I shouldn't have made me prepare for this. And indeed, we did get a little bit of the sort of political nonsense. Sort of the de rigueur at least an opening position but we got past that. And this is the first surprising thing to me. I think we got past that pretty quickly and we had what I would call actually useful discussions. Well, that was the impression of the head of the negotiating team who was doing the talking.

Bob Gallucci: The other people I found out afterwards thought it went terribly coarse and they thought I had screwed up in a major way and that we had a very bad relationship starting off with the North Koreans. But that struck me as okay. I didn't mind having a bad relationship. My star would rise in Washington if I had a bad relationship with North Korea. So, this was okay as long as we kept talking and we were aiming towards solving a problem. And the problem then, Gary, as you know, is that the North Koreans were being rude to the international atomic energy agency in Vienna about not accepting some inspections.

Bob Gallucci: So, we kind of got through that. I'd say that the thing that struck me overall was that we could get through it. In other words, that actually these people were people that had come to do business and that if we did business, they would do business and we could actually make some progress.

Bob Gallucci: So, the first thing I want to say is that's the biggest lesson from the whole negotiation for me. And I still hold onto it even when I see our president, your president in Southeast Asia or in Southeast Asia twice and Singapore or Hanoi. I still think negotiations are possible with these people. It is a big open question always about how far you can get in negotiations.

Bob Gallucci: Can we get all the way to what our objective was 25 years ago and it still is to make North Korea not a nuclear weapon state? Or to be a little more precise, not a country with any nuclear weapons? And I don't know, but I think negotiations at what I took away, Gary from this was they were possible. One could have a serious discussion with North Korea and perhaps make some progress.

Gary Samore: It's amazing to think that that was 25 years ago. It just seems like yesterday. But a lot of things have changed in 25 years. So, I mean, reflect on the challenge that President Trump faces versus the challenge that President Clinton faced when we both worked for him.

Bob Gallucci: It's interesting. I've never met president Trump, but he does not strike me as a shrinking violet or someone who underestimates his ability to negotiate. And so, he wants to negotiate. And you may have noticed, tends to be a tad critical about the negotiating skills of others who are not himself. I don't recall president Clinton thinking about things this way or certainly not the secretary of state, Warren Christopher. I think they were very happy to delegate the negotiations with North Korea to some stuckee who would be engaged in this. And I was of course, happy to do this. I was an assistant secretary of state, assistant secretary for political military affairs, not regional specialist, I say again. So, I think this was fine with President Clinton. I don't think it would be fine at all with President Trump.

Bob Gallucci: I don't think President Trump wants to be presented with an outcome for him to agree to. And presented with an outcome that is exactly what I think president Clinton wanted. So. these are two different men who have different psychological, emotional and political needs. And I know that when I am asked, as I sometimes am, about President Trump's enthusiasm for negotiation at his level, as a method of solving this problem, I think it is truly nutty that there isn't the preparation for the negotiation at that level that should happen.

Bob Gallucci: I'm way back in old think in that the president and the chairman should come together to sign or endorse or something, a deal that has already been worked out. So, we know where the, "Okay, you're going to get liaison offices and we're going to get in a treaty of peace and we're going to get ... this on material production and you're going to get sanctions relief here and not there."

Bob Gallucci: All this stuff, which is on the table. And everybody who follows this issue is aware of all the moving parts. Why would you think, why would one think, why would he think, that the best use of his time is to start doing the back and forth with the chairman of North Korea on what makes a good deal out of this? That's a lot of hacking around. Why did the deal that Gary and I worked on together with North Korea, that first one, the agreed framework, why did it take a year and a half?

Bob Gallucci: Okay, we're slow, I get that. But beyond that, because there are a lot of pieces on the table and they had to be put together. People had to be brought a certain distance down the road to someplace that both sides could find the intersection of the Venn diagram. And this guy wants to leap to it. And it has seemed implausible to me. And what I've worried about was that it's a great opportunity to get the chairman together with the president, but to do that and not have prepared the way is a terrible waste.

Gary Samore: And one wonders whether the failure in Hanoi might be actually a good lesson for both president Trump and chairman Kim that they need to, rather than face having another failed summit, which is a little embarrassing, they actually need to put this issue in the hands of their negotiators to try to work out a deal beforehand.

Bob Gallucci: Do you think they're going to do that, Gary?

Gary Samore: I don't know. I honestly don't know. I think it depends on Trump's calculation about whether his achievement with North Korea is in danger of collapse. Because I think right now, President Trump feels very happy with the situation. He stopped the testing, our remains had been returned, the hostages had been returned. And so, for President Trump, North Korea is a success story, as he likes to say. If it looks like that is going to collapse because Kim Jong Un resumes testing, then Trump might be motivated to make some progress even if it's modest progress.

Bob Gallucci: So, let me paint a slightly different picture because I-

Gary Samore: Please do.

Bob Gallucci: I worried a lot through 2017 that we were much closer to launching a military strike against North Korea. Should the North Koreans actually test a ICBM range missile at range instead of at altitude. I worried that we would then use strike at some of their facilities. I don't mean launch a war, but not intendedly launch war. So. I worry that we will go back, not to 2018, which is not a bad year and 2019, it's not a bad year.

Bob Gallucci: If there is no war, nobody dies. And indeed, you get these freezes. We stopped military exercises of a certain magnitude and they stopped testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. What's bad about that? Right? Yeah, I get all that. But will it hold? Are we at a plateau? This is not a bad plateau for a while from our perspective, but it's not a perfect plateau because while we are on this plateau, we have a lot of good evidence that they are continuing to produce fissile material, probably manufacturing nuclear weapons.

Bob Gallucci: Doing things to improve their position with respect to ballistic missiles, short of testing. So, they are getting more capable even if they're not doing the stuff that they need to do to really have confidence in their ability to deliver a nuclear weapon at ICBM range. So, this is not a perfect plateau we're on. It's better than we were doing in 2017, but I also don't know ... That's from our perspective, how chairman Kim looks at this. Is this okay from his perspective that he's got these onerous exercises iced but he still has sanctions of some kind?

Bob Gallucci: And of course, everybody wants to know are the sanctions biting? I would say a prime aphasia case that they are, is that they were on North Korean list at head on. And that's the thing they wanted. Although my sense for years now is that at any particular day, if you ask the question, or want to know how effective are U.S. and U.N. sanctions, you'd need to ask what are the Chinese doing with respect to those sanctions to really get a good answer.

Bob Gallucci: So, I'm not relaxed about where we are right now. I would be honestly more relaxed if someone here would tell me that behind the scenes, Steve Bagan and the North Korean negotiator are meeting somewhere and talking about all this and trying to create the basis for another summit if that's the way the president likes to do business. But I haven't been told that. Quite the contrary. I understand that little is going on. If that's true, then I think things could get dicey by the time we get into our election season.

Gary Samore: I mean, the temptation for Kim Jong Un is to think that Trump is likely to be most vulnerable as we go into the election, as he goes into his election season. And his biggest foreign policy achievement is at risk. So, from Kim Jong Un's standpoint, he may choose to wait on whatever his threat is going to be, satellite launch or whatever, until he thinks Trump is most likely to do something to try to salvage the freeze for free. So, if something bad is going to happen, it's probably going to happen late this year.

Bob Gallucci: Let me ask you there, Gary, if I were to say, okay, either tomorrow morning or exactly a year from now when we're in the season of primaries, if the North Koreans were to do something provocative and let's say it's test a missile at range or just another misled altitude, but have ICBM range, if you flattened the parabola or they were to test a nuclear weapon or if they were to do something rude to the South Koreans either in the DMZ or at sea; some provocation from the North, which do you think that your president would do?

Bob Gallucci: Do you think he would say he would belittle the significance of it so that it wouldn't damage his past political activity or would he seize upon it to demonstrate that he is the leader of leaders and that when that happens, he strikes back with extra force? Which would happen?

Gary Samore: I mean, the thing that makes Trump so difficult to predict is that he's hard to predict. And I don't know what he would do. Although I do think the North Korean provocation, if it comes, is likely to be more cautious. That Kim Jong Un doesn't want to go back to the days of bloody nose and full on sanctions. His objective is to try to force the U.S. to be more flexible and accept his position in the nuclear negotiations.

Gary Samore: So, he, as always with the North Koreans, there'll be a buildup to this. We'll see plenty of warnings and activity and then when they do something, it will be something which Kim Jong Un hopes Trump will be able to respond to without going back to the status quo ante.

Bob Gallucci: That sounds very logical, Gary.

Gary Samore: See that's my mistake. It's that I keep approaching President Trump from the standpoint of rational calculation. And I should have learned by now that that isn't the best way to analyze this president. Speaking of which, we have a plateau, as you say, with North Korea. And in a curious way, we also have a plateau with Iran.

Gary Samore: And in the case of Iran, most people would not have predicted that we would be in a situation where we have reneged on our commitments under the agreement, and we have inflicted, talk about sanctions, clearly some significant economic sanctions on Iran that are having a demonstrable effect on the price of onions. And yet, the Iranians continue to comply with the requirements of the agreement. So, how to explain that?

Bob Gallucci: I would not pass over too quickly the significance of the president's decision to pull the U.S. out of the JCPOA I think as with this and other things that President Trump has done in foreign policy may eventually come back and bite us in the butt to use a technical phrase. And in the Uranian case, I don't think it is good for a president to make a decision as President Trump made with such enthusiasm to undo what his predecessor did in a presidential agreement because it diminishes the currency in very important ways and it is somewhere between difficult and impossible to recover from that. And I want to, before we even talk about the case of Iran and all that, everybody knows that the JCPOs was hard-fought and it was multilateral in character and that the administration thought they had solved a problem for a while that could have led to the use of force in war in the Middle East and yet another country.

Bob Gallucci: So I don't know anybody, including the people on the negotiating team talking off the record, who thought it was a perfect deal. Many of us were, I mean, the fundamentally that JCPOA Gary gave legitimacy to a North Korean enrichment program and that's what killed most of us about it. I mean, there's lots of things. It didn't do stuff, which is what President Trump and Secretary Pompeo keeps saying. Well, no, it did not cure cancer. It didn't stop a lot of bad stuff that happens in the world or that Iran does, but that's not what they were negotiating over. We were trying to stop a nuclear weapons program. Specifically stop the production, stop the country from beginning production of physical material to make nuclear weapons. That's for a while. So it's a limited objective and North Koreans got-

Gary Samore: The Iranians.

Bob Gallucci: Excuse me, the Iranians got... thank you. Got a substantial benefit out of that in terms of freed up assets and in terms of sanctions relief and anybody, any one of us can look at what we got and the limited amount of time we got it for in some cases in terms and what we gave up in suicide, whether it was a good deal or not, my own judgment was it was a lot better than going to war. Which I thought was plausible, and in a way not unreasonable, as a way of dealing with this threat. So I when I look at what the president did by pulling us out, I start with the precedential impact of undoing a presidential commitment of his predecessor. And then I ask, are we better off or worse off? Gary makes a very good point that Iranians have stuck by the deal, which is not altogether a full on shock to a lot of people, the Europeans have stuck.

Bob Gallucci: They are, once again, suffering sanctions. They're having hard times, that's true. But it still meets some of their needs at least to stay in the deal. Maybe that will continue for longer. And maybe the whole thing will fall apart. But I can't get myself to believe that this was a smart thing for us to do because we don't get what we want to get by doing this. I mean, if you were offended by the idea that Iran will eventually be freed to build centrifuges, well, they'll still be free to build centrifuges. If you're offended by the idea that the arms embargo will stop and people can do conventional arms business with the Iranians, like the Chinese and the Russians, that will happen. This doesn't stop that. If you're offended by the idea that people can do missile business with Iran in 2023, it's not going to stop that either.

Bob Gallucci: So it's, I don't see how this helps us, but I do see how it hurts us.

Gary Samore: I mean, it'd be one thing if President Trump was able to deliver on his objective of forcing Iran to negotiate a better deal from our standpoint. But so far there's no evidence that the Iranians are responding in that way.

Bob Gallucci: Well, as they say, "I'm shocked."

Gary Samore: So what should the next president do about Iran? We were talking earlier, let's say, I mean, you have a simple choice and you can continue the Trump policy of trying to coerce Iran into a capitulating to better terms or provoking a revolution. Or you can go back to the deal as it was negotiated by Obama. What would your advice be?

Bob Gallucci: I'm attracted to the high road, surprisingly here. And the high road to me is to honor the deal that we made. But in honoring the deal we made, we're going to come up against the clock. And we knew it when we made that deal. Negotiators were aware that there were various points for various provisions where the limits would time out and the Iranians would be free and that if we wanted to stop them, we would have to go back to the negotiating table. So, I would start with the deal that was made. I would try to recreate in terms of recommit to the JCPOA but with the clear statement that the situation has not changed in the region. I mean, when an observer has said, we sort of thought we were going to build on this and the problem we have with Iran and Iraq, the problem we have with Iran in Syria, problem we have with Iran in Yemen, all these things would be easier to deal with once we made a deal on the nuclear issue and that the observer says, that hasn't proved to be true, proven to be true.

Bob Gallucci: I think that's right. We don't have Iranian foreign policy that makes any of us feel particularly good or at least it doesn't make me feel good, I'll put it that way. So I think under those circumstances the idea that we will get what we want in terms of the continuation of these restraints is we should not be optimistic about that, but we should go after that. And I mean, in the worst case, we'll end up back where we were before and that will be with an Iran that is challenging us in the region and that is threatening to pursue a nuclear weapons program. And then if that happens, you and everybody else in this room can try and figure out whether the use of forces, the only thing that's left.

Gary Samore: You've been involved in so many negotiations and as you know, any deal is by definition imperfect because you normally have to make compromises in order to get an agreement. There are very few times when our going in position is the way the deal turns out. You normally have to be flexible and make concessions and I sometimes wonder whether, Washington for whatever reason, has become less tolerant of realistic agreements. I mean, it's always easy if you want to find ways to attack something from a partisan standpoint. Any agreement has flaws, any agreement has limitations and weaknesses.

Bob Gallucci: But yes, Gary, what you say is correct, but you all please think a moment about what you ask somebody to do, when to go off and do an agreement in the national security area with an adversary, very often who we have no respect for, we don't like their government. It's authoritarian, it's totalitarian, has a bad human rights record, go do a deal with them that involves the national security. Think of the political context for that because I've done that a number of times. And the first thing that happens is someone says, "How naive are you, that you think you can solve a national security problem with a negotiation?" So first question naiveté, which would you rather have? The rhetorical question comes: a piece of paper or a better missile? The second question, the third one is put directly to you: did you just meet with the, for me the Serbians or the Croatians or The North Koreans or the Iraqis.

Bob Gallucci: Any number of them and others. Yes, I did. Did you negotiate? Yes I did. Did you make any concessions? No, I got everything for nothing. Did you give anything? Did you make any compromises? Well yes, that's what Gary said, right? Yes. I compromise. So you compromise the national security? Case closed. I mean which I, the structure here when you propose to do these, that could be an arms control agreement, it could be regional and I've been involved in any one of these, is you have, a way to put it as hardwired into your domestic context is a hostility to the engagement. And you start at the bottom of a hill trying to explain why you're trying to do this. You, not long ago, asked me about Senator McCain in one of my engagements with Senator McCain a long time ago, he started with, "I can't believe that you tried to negotiate with these guys." So, he wasn't really and this was in sort of the bad, old days.

Bob Gallucci: I mean we made some progress together through the course of his life but initially the question was, I'm really not interested in what you did. I'm interested in that you, the United States government would send someone like you who believed you could make progress with North Koreans on this issue. I mean, that goes back to the naivete, the are you by nature a negotiator, a compromiser? Are you a weak sister? You start there doing national security negotiations. For awhile, every time I took this personally, I don't anymore, because I watched some of the... I mean, I'm not speaking ill of the dead, but the Richard Holbrooke, one could say was not an easy person.

Gary Samore: You're not the first person.

Bob Gallucci: And I'm not the first person. And I remember him coming out of a meeting with Milosevic and I was not central in the Bosnian negotiations. I had my own, a couple of annexes of the deal to negotiate, but I was mostly watching Dick. He came out of a meeting and he was, and I didn't have to deal with the press on Bosnia and he had to deal with the press on Bosnia. He came out of a meeting with Milosevic and I knew what had gone on. And he had done pretty well I thought. A lot better than I thought was possible to do. And the press was there and the first question he got is, they didn't ask, what did you get? First question they asked, "What'd you give away?" That was the first question. And they weren't letting him talk about the deal. What was at stake? Just what did you give away? So you start with... The press on these, and this goes to the question that you started with, I had this aphorism, when you talk to the press, you rapidly figure out, because you very often if you represent who's governing, and you're talking to the press,

Bob Gallucci: you're trying to put a happy face on whatever's happening. We're doing okay here. Whatever it is. If it's assault agreement or whatever. But in the presses they're squinting at you as you're doing going through your talking points and you recognize for the press if you've got good news, it's bad news for the press. And if you got bad news, like it all fell apart, that's good news for the press. That's a story. And it's very important to understand. If you have complicated news, I'm sorry, that's no news. We're not dealing with complicated. Like I can't do anything with that. I got thirty seconds. I'm not doing anything. So the very best news, remember this, when you're the press is simple, bad news. If you've got that, you've got the press.

Gary Samore: Maybe the challenges deals with adversaries. I mean, if you make concessions to countries that are seen as friendly, that sort of acceptable. It's a favor we like each other. We have common interests, but to make concessions to enemies, that's what people, people call it blackmail.

Bob Gallucci: Sorry Gary. I had never negotiated with friends. I don't know what that's like.

Gary Samore: Well, I think I'm saying it's an American tendency to categorize countries as friends and enemies, but in reality we all know that friends are sometimes enemies and enemies or sometimes friends. It's maybe an unsophisticated view of foreign policy, which people like Professor Art try to correct in his courses. So why don't we go ahead and invite the audience to ask some questions. I have some more questions, but I want to be sure that we have enough time. So who would like to start? Yes, sir. At the back.

Speaker 3: [inaudible 00:34:48]

Bob Gallucci: It's only been six months. It seems so much longer. So I take Bolton is supposed to have said that one of his objectives in the George W. Bush administration, first George W. Bush administration was to kill the deal with North Korea. Mission accomplished as the president later used that phrase in another context. I think the, I am reading the shadows on the wall in Plato's cave here, but it seems like John Bolton has gotten on the same wavelength or understands a lot about what is appealing to President Trump and that he was plausibly, I'm trying to be careful here, plausibly important to the collapse of the meeting in Hanoi. That he was important to a conclusion that we needed to continue adopting a brilliant negotiating posture, which is you do everything before we do anything. And that as long as you take that position, you're not going to get very far.

Bob Gallucci: And I think for John Bolton, that's okay. I don't believe that he regards negotiations with North Korea as something to be preserved. I don't think he's unhappy that the INF deal collapsed. I mean generally speaking, that is not in my experience of, I mean I worked with him only a little bit when I was starting the inspections after the first Gulf War. I was secunded to the United Nations and was the deputy executive chairman of something called UNSCOM, U.N. Special Commission. And John was the assistant secretary of state for international organization. And he came through with a morale crushing visit to the U.N. to make sure that we knew that the extent he represented the United States government, what we were doing was a waste of time and that we needed to change that regime in Baghdad, not launch inspections.

Bob Gallucci: So John has been fairly consistent. I've read recently a very good profile. It seemed like a good profile. I don't know him personally. But it seems to me that he is an influential player. If we're looking at the scene at the senior level in national security issues, Secretary Mattis gone. And I don't know that there's a replacement for Secretary Mattis except maybe secretary Pompeo, who I think also is seems to be, speaks a language that is the president is comfortable with. So I don't see great divisions. I don't see a dissenter at the upper levels of the administration and national security issues. And so I worry in short though, you didn't ask me that, but I thought I'd throw that in. It's a freebie.

Gary Samore: I mean, I do think as Bob says, Bolton has very consistently taken the position that the way to address concerns we have about the behavior of these adversarial governments is to remove them. And there's some intellectual merit to that argument. But the question is, is it practical and what price are you prepared to pay in order to achieve that? Yes, it would be nice if we could annihilate our enemies and put in place a friendly government that would be a good solution to most of the problems faced. But that normally entails a pretty heavy price. And certainly in the case of North Korea. Why don't you talk a little bit about, I just want to get this in because I think it's very important. President Clinton came pretty close to ordering a military strike on North Korea. You are in those meetings, talk a little bit about about that.

Bob Gallucci: Interestingly, I have confronted people who say that that President Clinton never would have attacked North Korea. And I'm sure they don't know that because I'm sure, I don't know that. What I know for sure is that President Clinton understood kind of what the triggers might be for the use of force against North Korea. I have this little thing I do with ashtrays and pencil boxes when I'm explaining some spent fuel in a reactor that's moved to Erie processing plant and the separation of plutonium in that plant. And then where the plutonium goes. And I did this with the ashtray and the pencils with, for their president in the situation room and said, "So we know that pencils are getting taken out of the pencil box and they're getting put in the reprocessing plant. And the next thing that happens is the plutonium is separated.

Bob Gallucci: And once that happens, your opportunity, if that's the right word, Mr. President, is to strike North Korea and deny them access to material to make nuclear weapons will be gone because we don't know where the plutonium goes." It's just too easy for them to hide and too hard for us to find. So the window is opening now for a strike, but it will close in a certain amount of time. And let me spare you the calculation because it has to do with how we collect intelligence. But what was clear, Gary, at this time is that he had already, either president asked the JCS to prepare the plans. Some of us had looked at them and, of course, so you will know this, the plans to strike the North Korean facility at Yongbyon took account of the dispersal of radio [inaudible 00:40:52] rods and that sort of thing. And we were very sensitive to that possibility with Japan so close.

Bob Gallucci: So it was the option, the use of force was pretty well thought out. And the only thing that was holding the president back was that we didn't need do it just yet. As I said, people have asserted he never would have done it. Others have asserted he would do it, would have done it. I don't know. But if you ask me, I don't think he would've put us all through that, including the J three who does operations J five that does plans. If he did not think that was at least a plausible thing. So I think we came pretty close. And while anybody can take pot shots at Jimmy Carter for going in North Korea. Jimmy Carter did not do tactically what he thought he did in North Korea, but he did politically make it unnecessary to use force against North Korea. It seems to me that had that not happened we might well have gone to war at that.

Bob Gallucci: And I say go onto war because I think you could not exclude the possibility of a larger military engagement, the conventional level if we had struck their facilities, the idea that we would strike and have it as a freebie seems implausible to me just as a bloody nose now to North Korea as it's been called, as a freebie seems implausible to me.

Gary Samore: Hi. Yes. Gene.

Speaker 4: North Korea, if I may, that pretty much everybody reads, they're not going to give up the nuclear weapon. What did you reservation would be vicious but achievable deal? And how might that deal be achieving the steps.

Bob Gallucci: So anybody who's been doing this can't resist figuring out what the steps are because the steps are, I mean Gary and I were together a good four nanoseconds before we were doing the deal. You know, and you just can't help yourself because you're thinking, okay, what do they want? Luckily they went sanctions relief. How do we dis-aggregate the sanctions relief problem. Now how can we stretch that out? What else did they want? Well, we know they want an end to the Korean war. That isn't just the armistice. Okay, throw that in there. What else do I want? Liaison officers. Okay, put that on the table. What else do they want? Well we can imagine other things, but at least there are some other things, but those are the ones we all talk about. What do we want? Well, we want denuclearization.

Bob Gallucci: Apparently we want more. Denuclearization actually refers to two things typically, or had, it referred to their capability to manufacture nuclear weapons. So that's the whole establishment of reactor. You're processing fuel fabrication. We have the enrichment size wholly separate and you've got uranium hexafluoride and you've got whole lot of stuff there. Then you've got actually manufacturer of weapons. Then you've got tags, so we would take apart the nuclear side, but it's also with the added ballistic missiles. Well, is it ICBM range? We also want MRBms, RBMs, short range, if you want the whole ballistic missile establishment. There's a lot of that to put it on the table and lately I've heard, well we threw something else in Hanoi, no more chemical or biological weapons. Let me tell you that the chemical weapons establishment in a place like North Korea ain't small, and I know something about taking apart a chemical weapons establishment that ain't small and it's not a small job, but that's another big thingy.

Bob Gallucci: And biological weapons actually are a lot easier than chemical weapons, but it's still a deal to do. So if you put all that out there and we want that, that's a lot. But for people like me and Gary, we'd say, that's good news. Because now we go around answering your question, which I'm not going to do. We'd say, "Okay, how many of these and how many of those over what timeframe?" And we'd have well, you didn't agree with framework? There'd be a phase one, phase two, phase three, this happens, that happens, because nobody trusts anybody. So we have to, everything has to be verified. Everything has to be monitored. But it's not hard to figure out. Because at Hanoi, I thought, well, okay, the easy deal would be a Yongbyon thingy, which as long as they did the reprocessing plant, the reactor and what we think is one cascade over there.

Bob Gallucci: Okay. The other stuff you could leave for a while, do those three things and we'll give you some sanctions relief. An end to the Korean war, peace declaration of some kind. And liaison offices. I just made that up. But why not? And we recognize we got more to go, but at least these things can all be monitored. So I don't think the problem is so much that we can't figure out what corresponding actions are. It is analytically accepting that there are going to be corresponding actions. And as best I've been able to understand, the president has been persuaded that they do everything before we do anything is a good way to go. And of course, I think as long as that's our position, we ain't going. Gary, am I wrong about this?

Gary Samore: I think you're exactly right. I mean, we could have gotten a deal at Hanoi if we were prepared to settle for a small deal, which was very partial step toward denuclearization in exchange for partial concessions on our side. And the president was persuaded that given his powers of persuasion and his good personal relationship with Kim Jong Un, he should go for a grand bargain and that failed. And what lesson the president takes from that going forward I think is, to me the big mystery. We know the North Koreans are happy to do a small deal. That's their normal... I mean that's their operating procedure. They're comfortable with that whether we come back to doing that kind of small deal, incremental progress toward a long-term objective, I just don't know. I can't predict. Yes. Christie

Speaker 5: Thank you so much for the talk. Thank you for the questions. Building upon what you were just talking about, I notice that a lot of things that we're talking about is about the [inaudible 00:47:43] I want to take a step back and look at [inaudible 00:47:46] in the first place. I've noticed that the United States is very keen to broaden the [inaudible 00:47:58] negotiations [inaudible 00:48:02] As you mentioned, it's great. Because we came to an agreement [inaudible 00:48:07] but the problem is that when you broaden the scope, [inaudible 00:48:14] Building upon that, my question is [inaudible 00:48:29] actually make the negotiators on each side be able to sell the idea of negotiating as opposed to the alternative [inaudible 00:48:40] the other solution more appealing to their own [inaudible 00:48:46] For instance, in the case of Iran, has there been attempts to make it easier for [inaudible 00:48:56]

Bob Gallucci: Let me start on this Gary but it strikes me that we are sensitive to that, but that's a two edge sword. Arguments are often made that we want to do something in order to strengthen the hand of the negotiating advocates in another government. But one has to be careful with that where you strengthen their hand and strengthen their hand and you don't have a hand left. So I take your point that to be absolutely without mercy in a negotiation is not particularly prudent. That having an understanding that having your adversary in a negotiation or your negotiating partner however you want frame this, achieve something that he or she can take home, is something that has always been on our mind. But as I said, when you turn around to go home yourself that's not usually a big selling point if you have a tough audience. They want to beat the opponent.

Bob Gallucci: They don't want to have the opponent walk away thinking they had a good deal. I know that I felt strongly that I wanted Kang Sok Ju, who was my negotiating partner to do well back in Pyongyang to say, look what I got. I got two thousand megawatt reactors here and I've got heavy fuel oil in the meantime, pretty good. And that was okay with me. I mean, if he had wanted, somebody said, "Why that?" Well, if he also wanted 47 Mercedes Benz, I would have sent those too as far as I, because compared to the alternative to stop a nuclear weapons program, it beat the hell out of deploying the seventh fleet up in Northeast Asia. I mean, I'm looking at alternatives here, but that's something you have in mind when you think about your negotiating partner. But in my experience, at least in national security negotiations, I wouldn't be using that to sell that back here. I did a good job. I helped negotiators in Iran. I don't think so.

Gary Samore: Yeah. I mean, I think that the people like Bob who are excellent negotiators, they combine empathy with the other side's position with but never forget who side they're negotiating for. And I have to say, and some of this is perceptional, but I think one of the weaknesses of the Iran nuclear agreement is that Secretary Kerry did not do a good job of persuading his domestic audience that he was a tough negotiator who got the best deal possible for the U.S. because whenever he was questioned, he would always say, "Oh, Zarif has got problems at home." Well, we don't care about Zarif problems. We care about getting the deal we want.

Speaker 5: The thing is that we should care about it.

Gary Samore: Well-

Speaker 5: The alternative is that you see negotiating with people. I mean you wouldn't get to negotiate because then [inaudible 00:52:21]

Bob Gallucci: But what you're hearing from Gary is a fact of life and with facts of life, they're called facts of life for a reason because you really got to take account of that. Robert, did you want to throw Iraq at us or something?

Speaker 6: [inaudible 00:52:39]

Bob Gallucci: Please.

Gary Samore: Please.

Speaker 6: [inaudible 00:52:43]

Bob Gallucci: For me the obvious part of here is the China part because I think when China looks at that portion of it's field of vision of where it thinks about the Asia Pacific it is looking first to preserve what it's got, which is a buffer state doesn't like them particularly, the history is bad, the culture stuff is bad. But preserving the existence of North Korea is I think a very important goal in Beijing.

Speaker 6: [inaudible 00:54:30].

Bob Gallucci: Presumably and then there's the, how can we get the Americans to have a lower profile in North East Asia? I think that's on their list too. So I think they do have an interest in not having the North Koreans misbehave too much. And find that this president or some other president thinks it's a good idea to do things on their doorstep. So I mean there's a sense in which the Chinese are like a thermostat here in my mind, but I think you're right that these guys who have dreams of regime change through regime collapse, are kind of missing something in terms of essential power relations in Northeast Asia. I agree absolutely.

Gary Samore: Like I was saying before you came in that it's always dangerous to impute strategic calculation to the Trump administration, but if there is calculation that may be top priority with China getting a deal that addresses trade and other economic issues and I think there will eventually be a deal. It may not solve all the problems, but Trump will of course tell us that it's the greatest deal in history addressing all of our concerns.

Bob Gallucci: I'm sure it will be Gary.

Gary Samore: Payments and so forth and so on. After that's out of the way, maybe that I'm talking about trade deal.

Bob Gallucci: Trade deal.

Gary Samore: That's Trump's top priority, not getting China to crack down on and join us in a maximum pressure campaign. So maybe the argument is, let's get the trade deal done and then when he meets, Xi Jinping and everybody's friends again, that's when you try to get the Chinese to work with us on North Korea. I don't think it'll work because I think the Chinese are quite comfortable with the status quo and they will allow enough breathing room for Kim Jong Un to survive. But again, the Trump people may be calculating that in the future we'll be in a better position to work with China to put pressure on North Korea.

Gary Samore: Yes, Marianne.

Speaker 7: I have two questions actually about [inaudible 00:56:43]. Is there a way to see if something beyond [inaudible 00:56:57] a very strong political gesture, given that a lot of individuals in the organization [inaudible 00:57:06] economic sanctions. So, is this actually adding anything new to the way the U.S. and allies will treat the organization or is it just a strong political gesture? [inaudible 00:57:51]

Gary Samore: Good question.

Bob Gallucci: So, yeah, I'm not an expert on this issue, but I've been reading very quickly and anticipating your question. And yes there's a sense in which you could say this really added very little to sanctions that were already in place, but it did add something, a little bit of fear factor in terms of the possible prosecution of individuals who might worry that they were before, had dis-incentivized to do any business with our GC folks. But I took this because largely because of the timing as a move that was motivated by the Israeli election and yet another gift to Netanyahu's candidacy. I mean, I may be wrong in that, another area of my non expertise, but it just seemed that way to me that this coincidence too much. But when I looked at it, I was less interested in a way in the economic impact in whether European companies would be frightened in a new way about doing business with entities they might have otherwise done business with.

Bob Gallucci: I wondered about, and still do, about whether the president had meant to give this more substance and intended that this would have an impact, for example, on the ROE of the rules of engagement of U.S. forces in the region. And if that, then I could see this as actually having some pretty significant and unfortunate implications, but I do not know that myself. And the second part of your question was?

Gary Samore: How easy will it be to reverse?

Bob Gallucci: Well, I would say not easy unless there was a basis for it. I mean, that's how it strikes me that, I mean, presidents even if this happened in two years rather than in six or if it happens in six and it's a Democrat and you pick whatever democratic candidate, no democratic candidate, that I've seen on the scene is going to come in as a friend of Iran unless the political situation would change dramatically. That's not going to, so you not going to start that way if you were going to make moves, in other words, you had a secretary of state that had a death wish and wanted to engage Iran and okay, then this would be on the table, but you'd have to be willing to make a case that was somewhat credible that the promotion of what we call terrorism has somehow been significantly reduced.

Bob Gallucci: We did that in the case of North Korea, interestingly. We said, okay, yes, North Korea was responsible for horrible acts of terrorism, but it's been awhile. So we can take the sanctions, terrorists-based sanctions off. So if that all happens, but otherwise, no, these will, I think these will be kind of sticky is what I would say.

Gary Samore: What do you think of the argument Merriam that the IRGC will retaliate by resuming operations against American service people stationed in Iraq and other places in the middle East?

Speaker 7: [inaudible 01:01:44].

Gary Samore: Well, you're a student of the IRGC, that's why I asked.

Speaker 7: [inaudible 01:01:49] but my understanding is that despite the hostile discourse, there is a reasonable amount of reason still flowing in the organization. The whole [inaudible 01:02:09]

Gary Samore: Thank you. Trevor?

Speaker 8: I wonder if you [inaudible 01:03:13] was it more difficult for you to do your job [inaudible 01:03:27]

Bob Gallucci: So, the answer is it all depends. I mean, I was a career civil servant, so I went into government in the Ford administration and I noticed a difference between the Ford administration and the Carter administration. And I was at the time, in largely in the arms control world and I was very much focused on preventing spread of nuclear weapons. And Ford was edging in that direction towards the end of his administration. But Carter went at it in a big way. So it was important. Was that the Democrats? Well, I wouldn't necessarily say that, but you may recall, the Carter administration was followed by the Reagan administration and that was a sea change and not only in how we thought about what other countries did, particularly friends, with their nuclear programs. But it was also a sea change in how we thought about what we were going to do in various places around the world.

Bob Gallucci: And all of a sudden I moved out of the arms control world and was more in the general political military world. And we were doing funny things in central America. We were involved in lots of situations, political military situations, in the Middle East and Lebanon, et cetera. So what I'm saying to you is when an administration has an active foreign policy and you are an agent of that policy, you are aware, of course, of implications for you. But I don't know that I ever saw it as these are the Republicans. Because for example, after Reagan came Herbert Walker Bush and I was very comfortable and Herbert Walker Bush administration. I was not an opponent of the first Gulf War. I was an enthusiastic supporter and I was happy to work on the disarmament of Iraq after the first Gulf War.

Bob Gallucci: In fact, when the administration changed and the Clinton folks were coming in I had had the uncomfortable experience of having been, I had taken a political position in the Carter administration. So I was early in the Reagan administration. I was fired for an hour and then I was rehired in the competitive civil service and lived happily under the Reagan administration, but went off to do peacekeeping in the Middle East. So I wasn't so much involved in what Reagan was doing. I was working for an international organization, but when the Clinton people were coming in, there was another switch in party. And I recollect sending a message to the major foreign policy advisor of Clinton who became the national security advisor. It was Tony Lake and Lake had been my boss in the Carter administration. So I said, "Tony, wouldn't,

Bob Gallucci: I sent a note, "Wouldn't it be ironic if I was fired for working with the Democrats and then you guys came in and fired me for working with the Republicans," not without a sense of humor. He wrote back and said, "Count on it." And in fact, as I was sitting in my office along came the political commissar for the Democrats who told me that I was fired. I said, "Oh, okay." And so I called in the NSC and I said, "I've just been fired." And he said, "Well, come work here." I said, "Oh, okay." So I told the state department I was going to go work at the NSC and they said, "How could you do that? You're Republican." And I said, "I don't know. For some reason they don't mind." So they said, "Well then stay here." So I did stay there. I tell you that story because, well it's funny, but I tell you that story, because a lot of us, the party didn't make a lot,

Bob Gallucci: that's not what we were about. We were professional people doing foreign policy and security policy for our country. So it didn't make any difference to me. I thought the Bush team, actually, the Herbert Walker Bush team was about as professional as a group in inner agency processes that I'd ever seen. I mean, I thought it was, and it was run by the classic Brent Scowcroft model for our national security advisors. And I though it was terrifically well-read. I also thought that Clinton under, with having Tony and then Sandy Berger, did a good job in her agency as well. So I never thought of things in terms of Republican and Democrat, didn't get that so much, though the move from Carter to Reagan was quite ideological and the removal of people reached quite far down into the bureaucracy.

Bob Gallucci: And I was gone by the time George W. Bush came into office. So I really can't speak to what that felt like. Gary came in with the Obama administration.

Gary Samore: Yes-

Bob Gallucci: So maybe you-

Gary Samore: Well, I started with Reagan, so I had the same experience Bob did that when you're working on issues like preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, it isn't really treated as a partisan issue. There may be some partisanship in methods. And as you say from Carter to Reagan, there was quite a shift and with Democrats tending to be a little bit more supportive of international treaties and organizations and Republicans being a bit more skeptical but I think that for most of my career, I haven't seen those issues as being, I mean, nobody wants North Korea to have nuclear weapons. So that's something that has stretched back all the way back to Bush. Yes sir.

Speaker 9: [inaudible 01:09:51] predictable of president Trump that I would really like to know is it beneficial when you negotiate [inaudible 01:10:00] with North Korea, when you negotiation with Iran, and how do you know that North Korea [inaudible 01:10:06] understanding [inaudible 01:10:16].

Bob Gallucci: Yeah, I actually think that's a terrific question I can't answer. The reason here is that I think any of us who have been involved in the negotiation or if even if you haven't, can recognize what an advantage it could be at times to say, I'm sorry, I'd like to do that, but I just have no idea, sort of what the reaction is going to be in capital or they are bonkers back home or whatever. In other words, you would try to use the unpredictability as a negotiator to explain why you are taking a position you're taking. That's not, by the way, the high road. I mean it is not the high road to do this. And the way it is unfortunately done, it's done on human rights negotiations where I've seen it done, where we send in an ambassador to go and read a government a riot act because of the way the government has treated some of its people.

Bob Gallucci: And the ambassador has no sympathy for human rights as something that he ought to be dealing with. He's interested in good relations with the country, but he's got this damn instruction cable that is supposed to go in and beat up his opposite numbers, some minister. And what he does is he goes in and says, essentially, "I have no sympathy for this, but Congress is making us do it. So he puts it off on Congress, undercuts the démarche entirely making it a démarche mellow instead of anything else, and it's bad. So it's not a good idea to fall back on the unpredictability of your boss or any weakness in Washington as a way of explaining why you're taking a negotiating position. But I have every confidence that it's enough incentive to do this, that it's going to happen anyway. Right now, if I was representing the United States government overseas, it would be hard under many circumstances not to observe that there was a certain unique quality about America's president at the moment?

Gary Samore: Yes sir.

Speaker 10: Interesting point [inaudible 01:12:40] I've been reading [inaudible 01:12:43]

Bob Gallucci: Not surprised.

Gary Samore: David?

Speaker 11: So the state department has a lot of positions that still haven't been filled even as of now and the Trump administration [inaudible 01:13:23] Do you think that that's making negotiations more difficult? [inaudible 01:13:36]

Bob Gallucci: I want Gary to answer this too, but I will say that I don't want to take the position that everybody who has ever worked in a department of state fulfilled an essential function and therefore, we need exactly that number of people for all time. This is a ridiculous proposition but I worked, not exactly in the building, but in or around the building, for more than 20 years. And I didn't have the sense that it was a bloated bureaucracy, overfed, generally speaking.

Bob Gallucci: So, the idea that we need fewer people there doing a job doesn't strike me as an impossible objective to achieve fewer people. In other words, if you said, I want to take a five percent cut from the department, or even a ten percent cut from the department, go find it and allowed people who understood how the department functioned and what it did to make a ten percent cut. They probably could. But that wouldn't be where I'd be looking for big bucks for the U.S. budget. It's not at the department of state, folks. And the defense department will take the cut first before it would want to pass it on to state and would come much more easily from defense and defense has said over and over again, you cut state, you better increase our budget.

Bob Gallucci: Because there is, in some areas, something of a connection between our capacity to deal with threats, particularly threats, through the use of diplomacy as opposed to the use of force. So, I don't want to say the budget was perfect before and needs to be preserved exactly as it is. But I think one would want to be careful by thinking there was so much fat that you could make a lot of money for the government by cutting it.

Gary Samore: So, I want to talk about a related issue which is how you structure the state department for negotiations. One model is to set up a special negotiator and team to deal with a specific issue outside of the regular organizational structure. Which is regional and functional bureaus. A different approach is to use the normal assistant secretaries and deputy assistant secretaries to conduct those negotiations. And I've seen both used.

Gary Samore: I'm kind of attracted to the special negotiator model. Which is what Bob was on the North Korea negotiations. And not asking an assistant secretary to do both an intense negotiation and his regular day job as well. Although that model has been followed with Chris Hill, for example. Who was the assistant secretary for East Asian Affairs and also the North Korean negotiator. And I thought in that case his East Asia job suffered because he had to spend so much time negotiating with the North Koreans that he never got to see Southeast Asia and that was kind of delegated to as DAS position, deputy assistant secretary position. But I also have to say that you can over do special negotiators.

Gary Samore: I think in the Obama era, there were special negotiators for just about every issue you could imagine. And I thought when you do that too much, you kind of take away the authority of the regional and functional assistant secretary. So there's a balance, there. The Trump administration came in, naturally, saying we're going to do everything differently. So, they abolished every single special negotiator. The dozens or so that had been set up during Obama. And now they've kind of naturally gone back to people that are, in essence, special negotiators. So, you have Brian Hook for Iran. You have Steve Biegun for North Korea. And there are some others as well. So, I think you need some of those, but you also have to be careful not to do it to the point where it undercuts the basic administrative structure.

Gary Samore: Any one else?

Bob Gallucci: The exhaustion has set in.

Gary Samore: Well Bob, you have really been a great soldier, trooper today, performing in both the class and here.

Bob Gallucci: Thank you. Thank you.

Gary Samore: So, I want to thank you and ask everybody to join me in thanking Bob and hope he comes back again soon.

Bob Gallucci: Thank you.