Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Denuclearization of North Korea: A Search for New Alternatives

In the ‘The Mouse that Roared
’ a 1955 novel by Irish writer Leonard Wibberley is about a  tiny country in Europe that feels compelled to declare war against the United States in order to be defeated and get aid.  Instead, through a series of mishappenings, Fenwick acquires a prototype doomsday device—the Q Bomb—and defeats the United States. 
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (hereinafter “North Korea”) is indeed a modern-day Fenwick, a mouse that roars in the international arena, except that (i) it is very much real; (ii) regime defeat is not an option; and (iii) its “Q Bomb” arsenal of real nuclear weapons is not humorous. But will it accept denuclearization if the ‘price’ is right?

U. S. President George W. Bush came close to drawing a red line on the North Korean nuclear issue in May 2003, when he declared that the United States and South Korea “will not tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea.”[1]  Three years later President Bush’s tolerance had grown…

It is the responsibility of U.S. policymakers is to secure the safety of the homeland.  If a nuclear North Korea is seen as a threat to the vital security interests of the United States, it is a problem that must be addressed in earnest.[2

The United States ought to seek the assistance/good offices of Kazakhstan to assist us in denuclearization of North Korea, and even let the Kazakhs to lead in the effort. This, of course, assumes Kazakhstan’s willingness to do so.  Kazakhstan is one of the few countries to have successfully given up its nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees, economic incentives, and a leading role in this endeavor.  Moreover, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazerbayev’s call for a nuclear-free Central Asia and the Silk Road initiatives provide a tailor-made institutional framework to incorporate North Korea into a larger Central-East Asian security mantle, thus lessening North Korea’s security fears and weans it from a nuclear-weapons-based security.

Kazakhstan is a model to North Korea of a nuclear state who has successfully removed all nuclear weapons inherited from the former Soviet Union from its territory and terminated all nuclear weapon programs. 

[1] David E. Sanger, “For U.S., a Strategic Jolt After North Korea’s Test”, The New York Times, October 11, 2006 http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/featured_articles/20061011wednesday.html (accessed on December 26, 2016)
[2] Other views contend that after the fall of the Soviet Union, we are in search of enemies.  If North Koreans did not exist, we would have invented them. For purposes of this paper, I assume North Korea nuclear weapons to be a vital security threat to the United States.

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