03 June 2009

North Korea: time to win the nuclear game

Peter Hayes, Executive Director of the Nautilus Institute, and Scott Bruce, Director of the Institute's San Francisco office, have posted an essay on the problem of North Korea’s emerging nuclear capability in which they say:

It is time to win the game, not play it forever. This is within President Obama's reach, but only if he rises above emotional and unrealistic talk of punishing North Korea and focuses on the big picture changes to the strategic landscape that would be necessary to strike a deal with Kim Jong Il worth having.

Aside from covering North Korea’s motives and the unattractive prospect of North Korea as nuclear power, they deal with what could lie even more dangerously at the other end of the spectrum – collapse of the North Korean state, which fortunately they assess as unlikely.

They conclude that it is a priority for the Obama Administration to develop a game-plan to deal with North Korea’s nuclear challenge. This is likely to require that President Obama be prepared to deal directly with Kim Jong-Il, which should be seen not as a reward for bad behaviour but as an indication of an open mind and a willingness to talk tough about the issues that drive policy in both countries rather than making unrealistic threats. In short, they say, it is time to win the game, not play it forever.

Read their whole essay here.

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