Sixty years ago this month, the policy planning staff and many other parts of the Department of State, not to mention the American population, were busy thinking about “the European recovery problem.” They were scrambling to realize the vision spelled out just weeks before in Secretary of State George C. Marshall’s speech at Harvard’s commencement. Policy makers had to sort out real issues related to the mechanics of foreign aid — financing, delivery structures, regulations, requirements, the role of the private sector and coordination with international partners. The Conference of European Economic Cooperation (the embryonic form of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) met in mid-July of that year, enabling a number of European countries to join in the program’s design and the needs assessment. The Marshall Plan became a legislative act, launching the United States down a path of federal institution building and infrastructural reforms that began with the creation of the Economic Cooperation Administration.
I think probably that the lesson that [Kim Jong Un is] learning is that he doesn’t have to give up anything and yet people will be scrambling for summits with him. ... The longer we have these drawn-out talks, these summits, bilaterals, trilaterals, quadrilaterals, the more it buys time for them to reinforce their claimed status [as a nuclear power] but also to continue with their R&D. But I do think that there is an element of trying to mitigate the sanctions, and also Kim took all those discussions about military strikes seriously enough to try and take the wind out of the sails. ... I find it difficult to envision how or why he would give up his nuclear weapons, which have pretty much given him what he’s wanted: which is the strategic relevance, the international prestige, and deterrence.