North Korea: New Policy for East Asian Security and Stability

  • Colonel Stephen H. Bales

The challenge of North Korea’s drive for a nuclear arsenal represents a wicked problem for the United States, its allies, and the international community. Solving this problem requires critical thinking that addresses the interests of all parties, addresses divergent points of view within the context of the history of the Korean peninsula, and correctly assesses the implications of a selected policy and strategies. The current United States policy of complete and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea will not achieve its end. This stalemate requires a new policy approach. After an analysis of the history of conflict on the Korean peninsula and the current five-decade long stalemate, analysis of the Kim regime, and a review of national interests; this paper will propose a new policy. This new policy, a New Détente, will in the short-term achieve stability of North Korea, improve security and stability in the Northeast Asia-Pacific region, and in the long-term provide a path to peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This new policy offers the greatest possibility of securing United States’ national interests while supporting the interests of North Korea, China, and United States allies and partners in the Northeast Asia–Pacific region.