June 16, 2009

2009 CNAS Report Urges U.S. to Regain Strategic Initiative with North Korea

WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 16, 2009 - The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) has released a new report on North Korea, available now on the CNAS website. The report, titled No Illusions: Regaining the Strategic Initiative with North Korea, offers recommendations for how the Obama Administration can manage the North Korea crisis.

"The North Korea problem will prove extremely difficult to solve, but the United States is at a status quo that is not in our interest, nor in the interest of our key allies in the region," said CNAS Fellow Abraham Denmark, an author of the report. "It's up to the Obama Administration to balance the long-term goal of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula with the short term necessity of reshaping the current status quo to the United States' advantage."
The report is available on the CNAS website, and a summary is below. 

No Illusions: Regaining the Strategic Initiative with North Korea by Abraham M. Denmark, Nirav Patel, Lindsey Ford, Michael Zubrow, and Zachary M. Hosford

Pyongyang has spoken: North Korea has chosen the path of confrontation. Despite a series of agreements orchestrated by the Clinton and Bush administrations, North Korea has made no progress toward engagement and denuclearization, and has abdicated its commitments to the international community. While President Obama has reaffirmed the inevitability of progress over the "long arc of history," the history of negotiations with North Korea looks more like a frustrating "rinse and repeat" cycle than anything resembling a clear trajectory.

The Obama administration should be under no illusions - the turbulent cycles of North Korean denuclearization negotiations have put the United States and the international community in a disadvantageous negotiating position. It is becoming increasingly clear that this dynamic is unsustainable.  Therefore, the Obama administration should pursue a strategic management approach that provides a bridge between short- and medium-term strategic objectives and long term aspirations of denuclearization through negotiation.  This framework is designed to enable America to regain the strategic initiative and defend our allies while guarding against North Korean provocations.