It’s time to talk to North Korea

Fred Kaplan writes: The complaint about the U.N. Security Council’s new sanctions against North Korea is that they aren’t strict enough to force Kim Jong-un to dismantle his nuclear program. But here’s the thing: Nothing is going to force him to do that.

It’s time to recognize that North Korea is a nuclear power—small and not fully tested but a nuclear power nonetheless—and that, as with other nuclear powers, the most effective ways to deal with it are through deterrence and diplomacy. Any other course is the stuff of delusions.

There are several reasons why Kim would be loath to give up his nukes. First, they are all he has. For a tiny, impoverished country amid several large, rich ones (“a shrimp among whales,” as Kim Il-sung, the country’s founder and Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, put it), nukes can stave off a wide range of threats. [Continue reading…]

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