North Korea Situation Analysis

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The Obama Administration desires to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula by working with allies to deter and defend against North Korean provocation. Currently, the U.S. posture is “strategic patience” in hopes that North Korea changes its irrational behavior. Assuming North Korea continues its provocations, policymakers should consider three alternative options: contain by normalizing relations, destroy capability by military force, or compel regime change with efforts to reunify the Peninsula. While all options could realize a peaceful end state, the bedrock of option one is peace.
If the U.S. strategic end is to contain North Korea’s capabilities, a way to do so is through diplomacy, specifically bilateral negotiations with
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Allies and regional actors will question the efficacy of air strikes. Collateral damage to civilians, and the release of radiation, is possible. Most importantly, North Korea could retaliate against South Korea, which could escalate to war. Therefore, the U.S. will need to reassure allies of its commitment to preserving regional security. The U.S. should make it very clear that these strikes are limited in scope, the strikes are in defense of North Korean threats, and the U.S. will not seek regime change. The U.S. would also need to persuade China to assist in preventing North Korean military escalations. Although Kim Jong-un may retaliate on a small scale, he understands that war will ultimately lead to the demise of his regime. The above preconditions are a starting point to make this a supportable option. Compelling regime change is also an …show more content…
All three have the potential to achieve the Administration’s policy of peace by working with allies to deter and defend. Most importantly, they are alternatives to “strategic patience”, which has not changed North Korean behavior. Considering Obama’s propensity for diplomacy, and desire to absolve the U.S. from prolonged stability operations, perhaps a wise path forward is to favor option one. If it fails, consider the remaining

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