The U.S. has to accept North Korea as a nuclear power

Alon Ben-Meir writes: To prevent further escalation of the conflict, the United States needs to eventually accept the new reality of a nuclear North Korea just as it had come to terms with both India and Pakistan as nuclear powers, which created mutual deterrence and brought an end to the conventional wars between the two countries.

Indeed, the real threat to the United States and its allies does not emanate from North Korea’s possession of a nuclear arsenal, but from the development and deployment of ICBMs mounted with miniaturized nuclear warheads that could reach not only U.S. allies, but the U.S. mainland itself.

To remove this threat, the United States should negotiate directly with North Korea and reach an agreement that would freeze further development of such technology, which China would certainly support.

North Korea may well accede through negotiations to this demand, as they can still claim to be a nuclear power and receive the recognition and respect of the international community which they desperately crave.

In return, North Korea will require the United States to end its belligerent policy that has been in place since the end of the Korean war; that the United States commits not to seek regime change, which was and still is the main motivator behind their pursuit of a nuclear shield; and that the United States end its war games with South Korea and gradually remove the sanctions. [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “The U.S. has to accept North Korea as a nuclear power

  1. hquain

    The whole discussion seems to me to be shrouded in a remarkable complacency. Here’s an example. One of the big threats in this kind of situation is being hit by a first strike. This means that the actions of the North Koreans (not to mention their antagonists) are tied to the ability to detect a first strike and respond before the blow lands.

    This is an area of inherent instability where we know that nuclear war nearly broke out between the US and the Soviet Union, due to false positives. So even if we predicate that the North Koreans are ‘rational actors’ and always will be game-theoretically ‘rational’, we are left with a palpable probability that they will attack in error, leading to unimaginable catastrophe. For deterrence to work, you must trust both your opponent’s rationality and their technology. Is it believable that the US — not to mention South Korea and Japan –will allow that kind of threat?

  2. Paul Woodward

    Complacency or resignation? The U.S. is up against the limits of its power.

    Consider missile defense and the hundreds of billions that have been spent on it. Here’s the perfect opportunity to swat North Korean missiles out of the sky and yet they continue completing their course. Clearly, the calculus is that the risk of failing to intercept these missiles far outweighs the price of appearing incapable of reining in the adversary by political means. But this in turn renders these expensive defense systems of highly questionable value.

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