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Joseph Yun (L) with South Korean and Japanese diplomatic counterparts. Photo: Toru Yamanaka / AFP / Pool / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

The resignation of Joseph Yun, the State Department’s Special Representative for North Korea policy, this week serves as a fresh reminder of the gaping hole at the center of America’s North Korea strategy: the absence of a credible diplomatic approach to talking — and eventually negotiating — with North Korea.

Why it matters: There are no guarantees that entering into dialogue with North Korea would yield progress. In fact, the past record gives little cause for optimism. Even so, there are other reasons for the United States to seize diplomatic initiative.

Visible, direct diplomatic outreach would clarify North Korea’s understanding of U.S. bottom lines, reduce the likelihood of miscalculation, improve U.S. capacity to manage escalation should an incident occur, and satisfy allies’ and partners’ desire to see the the U.S. make a meaningful effort to manage tensions. It also would strengthen international support for tightening sanctions. At a broader level, active diplomacy reinforces U.S. leadership in Asia, a superior alternative to ceding the diplomatic field to China. 

Yes, but: Diplomatic outreach would not require any lessening of the maximum pressure campaign against North Korea, which should be sustained and strengthened. Diplomacy complements these efforts by putting in stark relief for Kim Jong-un the choice he faces between clinging to a weapons program that risks his survival and enabling a better life for his people.

Ryan Hass is a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings.

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Salesforce rolls the dice on Slack

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Salesforce's likely acquisition of workplace messaging service Slack — not yet a done deal but widely anticipated to be announced Tuesday afternoon — represents a big gamble for everyone involved.

For Slack, challenged by competition from Microsoft, the bet is that a deeper-pocketed owner like Salesforce, with wide experience selling into large companies, will help the bottom line.

FBI stats show border cities are among the safest

Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation; Note: This table includes the eight largest communities on the U.S.-Mexico border and eight other U.S. cities similar in population size and demographics; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

U.S. communities along the Mexico border are among the safest in America, with some border cities holding crime rates well below the national average, FBI statistics show.

Why it matters: The latest crime data collected by the FBI from 2019 contradicts the narrative by President Trump and others that the U.S.-Mexico border is a "lawless" region suffering from violence and mayhem.

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The rise of military space powers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nations around the world are shoring up their defensive and offensive capabilities in space — for today's wars and tomorrow's.

Why it matters: Using space as a warfighting domain opens up new avenues for technologically advanced nations to dominate their enemies. But it can also make those countries more vulnerable to attack in novel ways.