April 13, 2017

Why a Limited Strike on North Korea Could Escalate

By Patrick M. Cronin

As North Korea warns foreigners to evacuate Seoul, the Trump administration is threatening to hit North Korea the way it hit Syria earlier this month. While the United States should be tougher with Pyongyang, treating Kim Jong-un the same way it dealt with Bashar al-Assad could be a catastrophic miscalculation.

This assertion is not based on North Korean propaganda. Pyongyang’s latest dire broadcast is not so different from past taunts emanating from Pyongyang. But there could be a misstep this time, especially if the United States fails to calculate the risk of how North Korea might respond to certain types of punishment.

This judgment is inspired by the thoughtful insights of Professor Zachary Shore, a historian at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, whose 2014 book, A Sense of the Enemyadmonishes analysts not just to look for patterns but for possible pattern breaks.

Read the full article at The National Interest.

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