The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) released a new report for its Asia-Pacific Security Program titled "If Deterrence Fails: Rethinking Conflict on the Korean Peninsula." Written by Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program, Dr. Patrick M. Cronin, the report argues that there will be a elevated risk of deterrence against North Korea failing over the next one to five years. Dr. Cronin gives an overview of the increasingly destabilizing economic, political and military trends occurring in North Korea. It then argues how deterrence might fail; how escalation might occur; and why South Korea and the United States might not be ready.
The report identifies shortfalls plaguing the current U.S.-ROK approach to controlling escalation with North Korea and offers priority recommendations for the two countries to help improve alliance cooperation to deal with the growing threat. Amid an increasingly tense Asia-Pacific region, the Korean peninsula remains the most dangerous flashpoint. Renewed conflict on the peninsula cannot be ruled out. Dr. Cronin writes, “…the best way forward is by rethinking deterrence and escalation in a changing security environment.”
The report concludes preserving a strong U.S.-ROK alliance is central to the mission if war is to be deterred on the Korean Peninsula. The author believes “while [these] recommendations are not cure-alls, they may help reduce the risk to regional and global security emanating from an unstable North Korea.”