June 11, 2009

No Illusions: Regaining the Strategic Initiative with North Korea

By Abraham M. Denmark, Lindsey Ford, Michael J Zubrow, Nirav Patel and Zachary 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.

Authors

  • Abraham M. Denmark

  • Lindsey Ford

  • Michael J Zubrow

  • Nirav Patel

  • Zachary Hosford

  • Reports
    • December 18, 2019
    Crossed Wires

    The United States’ current diplomacy with North Korea has enduring implications for its strategic competition with China....

    By Kristine Lee, Daniel Kliman & Joshua Fitt

  • Commentary
    • CNN Opinion
    • November 27, 2019
    Trump has three options with North Korea to avoid a dangerous perfect storm in Asia

    In the next few weeks, the Korean Peninsula will face a watershed moment -- one which could upend the United States' alliances in northeast Asia and regional stability as a wh...

    By Duyeon Kim

  • Commentary
    • The Diplomat
    • November 1, 2019
    How American Progressives Think About Asian Security

    Democrats running for the 2020 U.S. presidential nomination implicitly accept – or at least have not rejected – the premise that the United States’ fate is linked to that of t...

    By Van Jackson

  • Commentary
    • October 2, 2019
    Situation Report: U.S.-North Korea Negotiations to Resume This Weekend

    After months of stalled talks, U.S. and North Korean representatives will meet this weekend to resume negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Just this week, ...

    By Duyeon Kim, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Kristine Lee, Van Jackson & ​Neil Bhatiya

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia