By most accounts, you were shocked when President Obama told you during the transition that North Korea would pose the most serious threat to U.S. security confronting your administration. You couldn’t understand how past Presidents had failed to eliminate this threat, and now the buck was being passed to you. By pursuing your own instincts now rather than allowing yourself to be bogged down and snookered by others, you won’t have to pass the buck and will leave the world a more peaceful place when your presidency is over.
Joel S. Wit is a senior fellow at the Henry L. Stimson Center and Director of 38 North. Wit is an internationally recognized expert on Northeast Asia security issues. As a U.S. State Department official, he helped negotiate the 1994 U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework and was subsequently in charge of its implementation until he left the government in 2002, holding countless talks with North Korean officials, including the military and nuclear establishments.
Richard Sokolsky is currently a nonresident senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a senior editor at 38 North. He was a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Office from 2005–2015 and served in the State Department in six administrations. He has also been a senior fellow at Carnegie, the RAND Corporation, and the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.