US making same foreign policy mistakes with North Korea

I wrote earlier about the recent deal between the US and North Korea to continue to provide food aid in exchange for halting production at Yongbyon. I was cautiously optimistic as many previous talks had failed and led to the rogue nuclear state we have today, but Obama has had some foreign policy victories that eluded the more stubborn George Bush.

Andrew Natsios, Human Rights in North Korea board member, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post saying that tying aid with nuclear talks is a bad idea, and explains why. North Korea is more likely to get aid if it develops weapons and compels the US to talk about nuclear proliferation, he says, and if they give up nukes they are more vulnerable to external overthrow as was the case in Libya. Here’s the article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/us-food-aid-to-n-korea-sends-the-wrong-messages/2012/03/07/gIQA6MM1zR_story.html

I agree with his analysis, since we aren’t really thinking about things from the North Korean leadership’s perspective. People respond to incentives, and what the US and other major players in the region are doing only encourages the North to keep developing. As is the case with Iran, we must see things from their perspective if we have any hope of successfully denuclearizing their country.

 

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