Blogs: The Skeptics

Foreign Policy Failure: America Has Not Learned from Its Wars

The Kim-Moon Summit Was All Sizzle and No Substance

The Skeptics

– Is it possible to create an inspection regime that can certify to Washington’s satisfaction the elimination of unknown nuclear weapons and unknown missiles from unknown locations? Would such an intrusive system, so inconsistent with the North’s past emphasis on independence, be acceptable to Pyongyang? Could the Republic of Korea, the United States, Japan and other nations ever be certain that the DPRK had eliminated its nuclear and missile capabilities?

– If the Big Nuclear Deal proves beyond reach, then are the two leaders willing to settle on a more modest agenda? Would they consider beginning small, with a shared commitment to common goals accompanied by small steps forward to expand cooperation and build confidence? Are Kim and Trump willing to consider intermediate steps which would leave the North a nuclear power but nevertheless make both nations—as well as South Korea and neighboring states—more secure?

– If the Trump-Kim summit fails to occur or ends in failure, then can Kim and Moon develop a relationship and implement policy to keep the peace if Trump returns to threatening war? Accounts differ on the details, but apparently Clinton considered military action against North Korea and was in part dissuaded from doing so by South Korean president Kim Young-sam. Could Moon find a path to peace if it turns out there is none to denuclearization?

– Is the United States willing to step back and invite China forward if doing so increases Pyongyang’s willingness to denuclearize and Beijing’s willingness to offer security guarantees for North Korean disarmament? Is Washington prepared to forego hopes to forever use South Korea as a base with which to contain the People’s Republic of China? Will Trump put America truly first by choosing peace rather than attempting to maintain U.S. dominance?

The Kim-Moon summit was a positive affair, but it was little more than an appetizer. The main meal is yet to come. Much more remains to do to yield a different result than in the past, when hope for peace seemed to fill the peninsula.

It is important to remember that the focus of Washington and other states should not be the upcoming summit. The principal objective for all should be keeping the peace. Denuclearization is but a means to that end. There may be a better chance than ever before of eliminating North Korea’s nukes, but there are important reasons to be skeptical that Trump will achieve that result—and the DPRK’s Kim does not pose the only barrier. If denuclearization fails, then there still will be a peace to keep.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and coauthor of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

Image: Reuters

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Where Should the Kim-Trump Summit Take Place?

The Skeptics

– Is it possible to create an inspection regime that can certify to Washington’s satisfaction the elimination of unknown nuclear weapons and unknown missiles from unknown locations? Would such an intrusive system, so inconsistent with the North’s past emphasis on independence, be acceptable to Pyongyang? Could the Republic of Korea, the United States, Japan and other nations ever be certain that the DPRK had eliminated its nuclear and missile capabilities?

– If the Big Nuclear Deal proves beyond reach, then are the two leaders willing to settle on a more modest agenda? Would they consider beginning small, with a shared commitment to common goals accompanied by small steps forward to expand cooperation and build confidence? Are Kim and Trump willing to consider intermediate steps which would leave the North a nuclear power but nevertheless make both nations—as well as South Korea and neighboring states—more secure?

– If the Trump-Kim summit fails to occur or ends in failure, then can Kim and Moon develop a relationship and implement policy to keep the peace if Trump returns to threatening war? Accounts differ on the details, but apparently Clinton considered military action against North Korea and was in part dissuaded from doing so by South Korean president Kim Young-sam. Could Moon find a path to peace if it turns out there is none to denuclearization?

– Is the United States willing to step back and invite China forward if doing so increases Pyongyang’s willingness to denuclearize and Beijing’s willingness to offer security guarantees for North Korean disarmament? Is Washington prepared to forego hopes to forever use South Korea as a base with which to contain the People’s Republic of China? Will Trump put America truly first by choosing peace rather than attempting to maintain U.S. dominance?

The Kim-Moon summit was a positive affair, but it was little more than an appetizer. The main meal is yet to come. Much more remains to do to yield a different result than in the past, when hope for peace seemed to fill the peninsula.

It is important to remember that the focus of Washington and other states should not be the upcoming summit. The principal objective for all should be keeping the peace. Denuclearization is but a means to that end. There may be a better chance than ever before of eliminating North Korea’s nukes, but there are important reasons to be skeptical that Trump will achieve that result—and the DPRK’s Kim does not pose the only barrier. If denuclearization fails, then there still will be a peace to keep.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and coauthor of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

Image: Reuters

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3 Big Questions for the Two North Korea Summits

The Skeptics

– Is it possible to create an inspection regime that can certify to Washington’s satisfaction the elimination of unknown nuclear weapons and unknown missiles from unknown locations? Would such an intrusive system, so inconsistent with the North’s past emphasis on independence, be acceptable to Pyongyang? Could the Republic of Korea, the United States, Japan and other nations ever be certain that the DPRK had eliminated its nuclear and missile capabilities?

– If the Big Nuclear Deal proves beyond reach, then are the two leaders willing to settle on a more modest agenda? Would they consider beginning small, with a shared commitment to common goals accompanied by small steps forward to expand cooperation and build confidence? Are Kim and Trump willing to consider intermediate steps which would leave the North a nuclear power but nevertheless make both nations—as well as South Korea and neighboring states—more secure?

– If the Trump-Kim summit fails to occur or ends in failure, then can Kim and Moon develop a relationship and implement policy to keep the peace if Trump returns to threatening war? Accounts differ on the details, but apparently Clinton considered military action against North Korea and was in part dissuaded from doing so by South Korean president Kim Young-sam. Could Moon find a path to peace if it turns out there is none to denuclearization?

– Is the United States willing to step back and invite China forward if doing so increases Pyongyang’s willingness to denuclearize and Beijing’s willingness to offer security guarantees for North Korean disarmament? Is Washington prepared to forego hopes to forever use South Korea as a base with which to contain the People’s Republic of China? Will Trump put America truly first by choosing peace rather than attempting to maintain U.S. dominance?

The Kim-Moon summit was a positive affair, but it was little more than an appetizer. The main meal is yet to come. Much more remains to do to yield a different result than in the past, when hope for peace seemed to fill the peninsula.

It is important to remember that the focus of Washington and other states should not be the upcoming summit. The principal objective for all should be keeping the peace. Denuclearization is but a means to that end. There may be a better chance than ever before of eliminating North Korea’s nukes, but there are important reasons to be skeptical that Trump will achieve that result—and the DPRK’s Kim does not pose the only barrier. If denuclearization fails, then there still will be a peace to keep.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and coauthor of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

Image: Reuters

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Syria: A Preview of What Is to Come in North Korea?

The Skeptics

– Is it possible to create an inspection regime that can certify to Washington’s satisfaction the elimination of unknown nuclear weapons and unknown missiles from unknown locations? Would such an intrusive system, so inconsistent with the North’s past emphasis on independence, be acceptable to Pyongyang? Could the Republic of Korea, the United States, Japan and other nations ever be certain that the DPRK had eliminated its nuclear and missile capabilities?

– If the Big Nuclear Deal proves beyond reach, then are the two leaders willing to settle on a more modest agenda? Would they consider beginning small, with a shared commitment to common goals accompanied by small steps forward to expand cooperation and build confidence? Are Kim and Trump willing to consider intermediate steps which would leave the North a nuclear power but nevertheless make both nations—as well as South Korea and neighboring states—more secure?

– If the Trump-Kim summit fails to occur or ends in failure, then can Kim and Moon develop a relationship and implement policy to keep the peace if Trump returns to threatening war? Accounts differ on the details, but apparently Clinton considered military action against North Korea and was in part dissuaded from doing so by South Korean president Kim Young-sam. Could Moon find a path to peace if it turns out there is none to denuclearization?

– Is the United States willing to step back and invite China forward if doing so increases Pyongyang’s willingness to denuclearize and Beijing’s willingness to offer security guarantees for North Korean disarmament? Is Washington prepared to forego hopes to forever use South Korea as a base with which to contain the People’s Republic of China? Will Trump put America truly first by choosing peace rather than attempting to maintain U.S. dominance?

The Kim-Moon summit was a positive affair, but it was little more than an appetizer. The main meal is yet to come. Much more remains to do to yield a different result than in the past, when hope for peace seemed to fill the peninsula.

It is important to remember that the focus of Washington and other states should not be the upcoming summit. The principal objective for all should be keeping the peace. Denuclearization is but a means to that end. There may be a better chance than ever before of eliminating North Korea’s nukes, but there are important reasons to be skeptical that Trump will achieve that result—and the DPRK’s Kim does not pose the only barrier. If denuclearization fails, then there still will be a peace to keep.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and coauthor of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

Image: Reuters

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