Can the United States and North Korea arrive at a deal—any deal—on denuclearization, normalization of relations, or at the very least a nuclear freeze? Given the holding pattern in nuclear diplomacy since the second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, the prospects don’t appear particularly bright. The hold-up in the talks, however, is not simply the product of personality clashes, maximalist negotiating positions, and incongruent objectives between Washington and Pyongyang. History also has a lot to do with it.
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