North Korea vs Iran

Consider this comment that then-CIA Director, soon-to-be secretary of state, Mike Pompeo made last Sunday to Margaret Brennan, host of the CBS News program “Face the Nation.” Pompeo compared the deal Trump hopes to make with North Korea to the bargain Barack Obama and others struck with Iran:


“Most importantly the conditions are very different. The previous administration was negotiating from a position of weakness. This administration will be negotiating from a position of enormous strength with sanctions that are unrivaled against the North Korean regime.”

Many Americans think of these two countries simply as “rogue states,” the surviving two-thirds of George W. Bush’s “axis of evil,” but there are big differences between Iran and North Korea. In fact, Pompeo’s comparison between them isn’t one Trump should want us to make, because North Korea will be a much tougher problem to crack than Iran was — for any president. Why?

  • North Korea already has nuclear weapons. Iran doesn’t.
  • North Korea has enough military power without nuclear weapons to kill millions inside the borders of US allies. Iran doesn’t.
  • Kim likes isolation. His regime’s survival depends on his ability to isolate 25 million North Koreans from the rest of the world. Iran can’t afford isolation, because its long-term stability depends on the ability of Iran’s economy to deliver improved standards of living to the country’s 80 million citizens. That makes Iran much more vulnerable to sanctions than North Korea, because isolation chokes economic growth.
  • Kim will be watching how Trump handles the Iran deal. If Trump shreds it — or keeps threatening to do so — Kim will have reason to doubt he can ever commit to any agreement that Trump, or a future US president, might tear up.

Scientists, engineers and technologists are turning to nature in search of solutions to climate change. Biomimicry is now being applied in the energy sector, medicine, architecture, communications, transport and agriculture in a bid to make human life on this planet more sustainable and limit the impacts of global warming. New inventions have been inspired by humpback whales, kingfishers and mosquitoes.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

The drumbeat for regulating artificial intelligence (AI) is growing louder. Earlier this week, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet, became the latest high-profile Silicon Valley figure to call for governments to put guardrails around technologies that use huge amounts of (sometimes personal) data to teach computers how to identify faces, make decisions about mortgage applications, and myriad other tasks that previously relied on human brainpower.

More

January 27 marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi extermination camp. But even as some 40 heads of state gathered in Jerusalem this week to commemorate the six million Jews who were killed, a recent Pew survey revealed that many American adults don't know basic facts about the ethnic cleansing of Europe's Jews during the Second World War. Fewer than half of those polled knew how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and close to a third didn't know when it actually happened. Here's a look at some of the numbers.

1: The Greek parliament has elected a woman president for the first time since the country's independence some 200 years ago. A political outsider, Katerina Sakellaropoulou is a high court judge with no known party affiliation. "Our country enters the third decade of the 21st century with more optimism," Greece's prime minister said.

More

A quarantine in China– Local authorities have locked down the city of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak of a new and potentially deadly respiratory virus that, as of Thursday morning, had infected more than 540 people in at least six countries. Other nearby cities were also hit by travel restrictions. Rail and air traffic out of Wuhan has been halted. Public transportation is shut, and local officials are urging everyone to stay put unless they have a special need to travel. Wuhan is a city of 11 million people, many of whom were about to travel for the Chinese New Year. We're watching to see whether these extraordinary measures help stem the outbreak, but also to see how the people affected respond to the clampdown.

More