Former Brookings Expert
Richard O. Lempert was a nonresident senior fellow with Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. During 2012-2013, he was a visiting fellow in Governence Studies at the Brookings Institution. From June 2008 until July 2011, he served as chief scientist in the Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division of the Science and Technology Directorate in the Department of Homeland Security; and from June 2002 through May 2006, he took leave from the University of Michigan to serve as the division director for the Social and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation. His research interests are broad, encompassing, among other things, matters related to national security, government bureaucracy, juries, race relations and social science methods.
The goal that North Korea has here is less improved inter-Korean relations per se. Their real goal, I think, would be, to the extent possible, to delink [South Korea] from the alliance with the United States. [What is to be avoided] is the situation where it appears as if South Korea and the United States are taking steps that seem to be in contradiction to one another.
[South Korea must be] realistic about [ inter-Korea talks] rather than make wildly optimistic conclusions about what the possibilities might be. There's always a danger in being too far forward-leaning toward North Korea, because it's entirely possible that North Korea will see that as a sign of weakness.
[Targeting Rouhani’s brother] is a very convenient way to cause pain to the family without necessarily provoking a crisis of office. The general message that the rest of the system is trying to send to Rouhani is not to get too far ahead of himself, to not allow his decisive election victory to give him illusions of greater autonomy and authority than his position actually has.