The current situation is at an impasse...a new idea is needed. The Bush administration's proposal, which demands broad concessions from North Korea, especially on the nuclear weapons front, without offering any concrete incentives in return and which resists bilateral negotiations with Pyongyang, is probably not that new idea. It stands little chance of convincing Pyongyang to change course. Coercion is unlikely to bring about North Korea's collapse or to convince Pyongyang to change its policy quickly enough to prevent a major nuclear crisis in Northeast Asia. Furthermore, this approach elicits little support from key U.S. security partners in the region. South Korea under the Roh government certainly prefers diplomatic engagement over coercion, and although Japan has recently become tougher by stopping North Korean shipping and considering tighter economic sanctions, it still wants to avoid a military crisis that risks war on the Korean peninsula.
Aiming for a larger bargain in which more is offered to North Korea but more is also demanded in return risks little except a bit of money. On the upside, it has the potential to break the current impasse in Northeast Asia, just as broad visions or road maps have guided other recent peace negotiations in the Balkans and the Middle East (with many obvious limitations and setbacks, but some real successes to date as well). The grand bargain approach can benefit both sides. The United States and its allies can reduce the DPRK threat across the board and begin to turn that police state away from a policy of reflexive confrontation and blackmail, while North Korea can gain greater levels of assistance over time and perhaps can begin to reform its economy in the way China did...
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.