North Korea

The Cost of Sanctions on North Korea

and | August 28, 2019

The sanctions imposed on North Korea have a humanitarian cost of which most members of the general public in the sanctioning nations are not aware, and which is almost never discussed. This cost, and its implications not only for North Korea but for other sanctioned nations, should be brought to the forefront when decisions about sanctions are being made.

Washington’s North Korea Dilemma

| August 5, 2019

The June 30, 2019 meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un at Panmunjom, the border between North and South Korea, reignited negotiations between North Korea and the US on the Singapore agreement. The gap between Washington and Pyongyang remains huge. The negotiation team will have to find new ways to weave together North Korea’s Yongbyon offer and Washington’s demand for full disarmament.

Visiting North Korea: Creating a “Right” Narrative

| July 5, 2019

I recently visited North Korea – a choice viewed by some as an automatic legitimization of the regime, though visits by foreigners do not by any means connote blanket approval of the government. On the contrary: they provide an opportunity to view the country first-hand and draw one’s own conclusions. The visitor must always bear in mind, however, that the view the government permits him to have of the country is closely proscribed.

North Korea at a Nuclear Crossroads

North Korea has found itself at a nuclear crossroads more than once, but the Trump-Pompeo-Bolton triumvirate significantly alters the current dynamic. The primary external forces acting on Pyongyang’s nuclear decision-making are China, Iran, and the US. The Americans could well prove effective against an aggressively antagonistic Iran.

Iran and North Korea Highlight Pitfalls of Trump’s “Maximum Pressure” Strategy

| March 24, 2019

President Donald Trump’s hitherto failed “maximum pressure” approach to Iran, as well as, for that matter, North Korea, begs the question what his true objectives are and what options he will be left with should the policy ultimately fail.

Should America’s Asian Allies Adjust Their Security Policy?

| March 22, 2019

The media focused its attention on the success or failure of the Singapore Summit in June 2018 and the Hanoi Summit of February 2019, but largely disregarded President Trump’s policy on joint military drills with South Korea. His decision to postpone the drills raises questions about US policy in the region.

The Second Trump-Kim Summit

| February 27, 2019

The Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un summit coming up in Hanoi at the end of this month will focus on finding ways to implement the process that began at the first summit in Singapore. Trump and Kim will try to find a win-win compromise that does not require a complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) in the short run. The success or failure of the second summit will influence the South Korean political arena as well.

Changing Sides on the Korean Peninsula

| January 16, 2019

The Korean conflict has divided more than the two Koreas. It has also prompted the creation of opposing “blame narratives” among scholars, policymakers, and journalists. The election of Donald Trump, and the 2018 Singapore summit between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, challenged those narratives and forced some of the actors to reconsider their political agendas. 

Israel and North Korea: A New Opportunity?

| December 31, 2018

The inter-Korean negotiations and upcoming summits between Pyongyang and Seoul and President Trump offer a window of opportunity for Israel to try to prevent the continuation of North Korean military exports to the Middle East. Israel should consider how and when to offer this initiative and how to overcome the regional constraints. An Israeli initiative of this kind could serve as a win-win situation for all parties.

The North Korean Air Force: A Declining or Evolving Threat?

and | October 18, 2018

North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests during the Kim Jong-un era have strengthened the country’s military power, deterring South Korea, Japan, and, in particular, the United States. While North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities are rapidly improving, parallel developments are not occurring in the traditionally technical air and air defense forces. Plagued with aging airframes, technical problems, part shortages, and budget shortfalls, the North Korean Air Force no longer challenges the South Korean and American air forces. While North Korea will not be able to build its own state-of-the-art aircraft industry, it will nonetheless find creative ways to strengthen its air force capabilities.