Topic:

North Korea

Iran and North Korea: Two Peas in a Nuclear Pod

Much separates Iran and North Korea, but the two have plenty in common when it comes to nuclear ambitions. Whenever they move to appease the West, they somehow get closer to realizing their goals, while the world fumbles to curtail them.



North Korean Brinksmanship on Trump’s Nuclear “Red Line”

Pyongyang uses the buzz that accompanies its ballistic missile and nuclear tests, as well as the obscurity that conceals the extent of its infrastructure for weapons grade fissile materials production and nuclear weaponization, as tools with which to challenge Washington. Trump is not Obama, however. Kim Jong-un will need to tread carefully to avoid provoking an American preemptive strike.



North Korea: Sanctions Are Not Enough

| August 4, 2017

Will new economic sanctions against North Korea convince it to give up its nuclear and missile capabilities? No, they won’t. The US and its allies must evaluate whether the goals of new sanctions are feasible, how effective they can be, and whether they will be fully implemented. Without analyzing these parameters, new sanctions will be just more diplomatic kabuki that fails to change North Korean policy.



Sino-American Disagreements on North Korea

| July 30, 2017

The North Korean imbroglio has been affecting Sino-American relations for months. Washington and Beijing agree on the urgency of mitigating risks stemming from the unpredictable behavior of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but differ on methods to achieve that objective. President Trump has abandoned the “strategic patience” ethos of the Obama era and criticizes Beijing for not putting greater pressure on Pyongyang. For its part, Beijing is concerned about instability on the Korean Peninsula as the US military presence expands and the “regime change” prescription gains ground.



Israel’s Possible Paths to Nuclear War

| July 22, 2017

North Korea’s nuclearization has implications for Israel’s nuclear deterrence posture. There are several plausible means by which a nuclear conflict could arise in the Middle East. It may be time to consider a phase-out of Israel’s “deliberate nuclear ambiguity” and to focus Israeli planning around evaluations of enemy rationality.



From Osirak to Yongbyon

| June 26, 2017

North Korea is moving forward with its development of an ICBM that can carry a nuclear warhead. Will Pyongyang test it, challenging Washington to strike its nuclear reactor in Yongbyon? If Washington does strike, will Pyongyang choose to react passively as Syria did in 2007, or will it respond by starting a war with South Korean and American forces in the region? Although both sides use militant rhetoric, neither will choose to challenge the other. They will instead upgrade their deterrence capabilities.



Trump Diplomacy: Settling North Korea “With Gas and With Bomb”?

| June 11, 2017

As North Korea continues its steadily expanding nuclearization, US President Donald Trump will have to prepare for extremely complex crisis diplomacy. Whether he decides upon a path of military preemption (what his lawyers would then call “anticipatory self-defense”) or waits for a first move by Pyongyang, Trump will need to (1) make difficult judgments regarding enemy rationality and capability; and (2) consider a prudent posture of “pretended irrationality” for the US. His core task will be to pursue “escalation dominance” without simultaneously exposing the US or its allies to grievous attack.



Why Should We Give Up Our Nuclear Weapons? Pyongyang’s Perspective

| May 18, 2017

For the past few weeks, discussion has been rife among analysts, policy makers, and the media about tension in the Korean Peninsula from the perspectives of Washington, Seoul, Tokyo, and even Beijing. But aside from the North Korean media, no one is asking what Pyongyang should do. What would serve its interests? What are the best policy alternatives for Kim Jong-un? In the wake of US president Donald Trump’s declaration of a new North Korea policy, Pyongyang must analyze the pros and cons of a variety of policy options.



The Korean Peninsula Is Waiting for Trump

| April 19, 2017

The North Korean nuclear and missile crisis is posing a challenge to the new US administration, especially in the wake of the recent American missile strike in Syria. President Trump will need to consider not only the current North Korean crisis and the immediate military or diplomatic options available for confronting it, but also his long-term goals in the region. Diplomatic, economic, and military options will all have consequences.



President Trump, North Korea, and Israel’s Nuclear Strategy

| March 16, 2017

Although concerns about a Trump confrontation with a nuclear North Korea are widespread, there has been little corollary discussion of crisis implications for other parts of the world. Yet there are important spillover implications to be considered, specifically with reference to the Middle East and Israel’s nuclear strategy.