Crisis on the Korean Peninsula

How to Deal with a Nuclear North Korea

Michael E. O’Hanlon, Mike M. Mochizuki
Release Date: July 1, 2003

North Korea is among today’s most troubled and troubling nations. This Socialist holdout has used its million-man army and burgeoning nuclear capabilities to disrupt and destabilize world affairs.

Recent political strains between the United States and South Korea over proper North Korea policy have exacerbated the problem. According to U.S. intelligence, North Korea now poses the most serious threat to U.S. regional interests in a generation, and has even hinted that it would sell nuclear materials to other countries or groups if pressed too hard.

In Crisis on the Korean Peninsula, foreign policy scholars and opinion leaders Michael O’Hanlon and Mike Mochizuki introduce a broad and ambitious program designed to answer-once and for all-the stubborn North Korean question. Detailing a “grand bargain” by which the United States and its allies could defuse North Korea’s military threat without resorting to Iraq-style war, this probing and timely examination outlines a step-by-step process that would:

  • Address the nuclear weapons issue that so clouds North Korea’s present and future global status and northeast Asia’s security
  • Reduce conventional military forces, begin to rebuild the nation’s shattered economy, and solve its ongoing humanitarian crisis
  • Provide face-saving and nerve-calming security assurances to North Korea’s embattled leaders, who show signs they might welcome such pledges

North Korea has been a smoldering volcano for far too long. Crisis on the Korean Peninsula provides a convincing, authoritative program for extinguishing that volcano, not only by solving the current and acute nuclear crisis but also by helping North Korea to become a peaceful and constructive member of the world community. Should this peaceful approach fail, the United States would then be in a stronger position to argue to South Korea, China, and Japan that tougher measures are needed.