Blogs: The Skeptics

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Sanctions Feel Good, But They Won't Stop Kim Jong-un

The Skeptics

North Korea is steadily adding to its nuclear weapons and improving its missiles, as well as abusing its population. Current policy, essentially to isolate him, has failed. Instead of trying something new, Washington will confiscate Kim’s nonexistent bank account and consider its work done.

Policymakers must grapple with the tough issues. What should U.S. policy be toward the North as a de facto nuclear power? Why does America remain deeply involved in a conflict best managed by the prosperous and populous surrounding states? Is there any way to win greater assistance from Beijing? Is it worth negotiating with Pyongyang over issues other than denuclearization? There are no easy answers, but Washington’s time would be better spent addressing these issues than in concocting fanciful punishments for the North’s leader.

No one can blame President Barack Obama for not wanting to end up like Sisyphus. However, imposing personal sanctions on Kim looks like an act of desperation: nothing else has worked, so why not try this? Unfortunately, they may make it even harder to find a workable solution to the North Korea problem.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and co-author of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

Image: Mansudae Grand Monument, Pyongyang, North Korea. Flickr/John Pavelka

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No, Bangladesh Isn't Turning into Pakistan

The Skeptics

North Korea is steadily adding to its nuclear weapons and improving its missiles, as well as abusing its population. Current policy, essentially to isolate him, has failed. Instead of trying something new, Washington will confiscate Kim’s nonexistent bank account and consider its work done.

Policymakers must grapple with the tough issues. What should U.S. policy be toward the North as a de facto nuclear power? Why does America remain deeply involved in a conflict best managed by the prosperous and populous surrounding states? Is there any way to win greater assistance from Beijing? Is it worth negotiating with Pyongyang over issues other than denuclearization? There are no easy answers, but Washington’s time would be better spent addressing these issues than in concocting fanciful punishments for the North’s leader.

No one can blame President Barack Obama for not wanting to end up like Sisyphus. However, imposing personal sanctions on Kim looks like an act of desperation: nothing else has worked, so why not try this? Unfortunately, they may make it even harder to find a workable solution to the North Korea problem.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and co-author of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

Image: Mansudae Grand Monument, Pyongyang, North Korea. Flickr/John Pavelka

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America Should Step Back from the Taiwan Time Bomb

The Skeptics

North Korea is steadily adding to its nuclear weapons and improving its missiles, as well as abusing its population. Current policy, essentially to isolate him, has failed. Instead of trying something new, Washington will confiscate Kim’s nonexistent bank account and consider its work done.

Policymakers must grapple with the tough issues. What should U.S. policy be toward the North as a de facto nuclear power? Why does America remain deeply involved in a conflict best managed by the prosperous and populous surrounding states? Is there any way to win greater assistance from Beijing? Is it worth negotiating with Pyongyang over issues other than denuclearization? There are no easy answers, but Washington’s time would be better spent addressing these issues than in concocting fanciful punishments for the North’s leader.

No one can blame President Barack Obama for not wanting to end up like Sisyphus. However, imposing personal sanctions on Kim looks like an act of desperation: nothing else has worked, so why not try this? Unfortunately, they may make it even harder to find a workable solution to the North Korea problem.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and co-author of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

Image: Mansudae Grand Monument, Pyongyang, North Korea. Flickr/John Pavelka

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