Changing Pyongyang’s Mind

21 Apr

66900768.gif Scott Snyder argued, before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, that the United States’s current policy toward North Korea is flawed and that the U.S. should “…create an environment in which North Korea recognizes that its only way forward will require abandonment of the nuclear path.” (via Sino-NK)

The Obama administration’s mistakes include:

  1. “[I]t was a mistake to allow food aid to be brought directly into the negotiations a quid pro quo for North Korea actions, and referring to such U.S. assistance as evidence of non-hostility.” This has resulted in a most undesirable situation of linkage between food aid and politics. Thus, due to the linkage, the North Koreans are likely to accuse the US of hostile action because food aid is not delivered.
  2. Once the US decided to act unilaterally with North Korea, “there should have been an effort to remove ambiguity from the U.S. statement to the extent possible.” More specifically, “the United States should have been more explicit that ‘long-range missiles’ also include satellites.” This is, as Jeffery Lewis pointed out, the “loop hole big enough to fly a Taepodong missile through.”

Snyder recommends a three-track strategy:

  1. Strengthened Alliance-Based Efforts to Hold North Korea Accountable for its Actions
  2. Securing Chinese Cooperation While Minimizing Dependence on China for Results
  3. Exploit North Korea’s Partial Integration With its Neighbors

The problem is, that cooperation with South Korea and Japan will crash on the rocks of South Korean indifference and R.O.K.-Japan distrust. The only way to facilitate that rapproachement is to redeploy American forces, principally to adapt to China’s strategic deployments, but, secondarily, to convince both Japan and South Korea, that military cooperation between their two states is both necessary and beneficial, indeed inevitable.

And then, there is India, too.

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