Leon Sigal on Recommendations for the Next Administration's North Korea Policy

January 17, 2017

In an article for Arms Control Today, Social Science Research Council's Leon Sigal, parses through clues to the next administration's North Korea policy and suggests that Trump should follow through on his impulse to engage in talks with North Korea, rather than the recommendations Trump will likely receive to continue a policy of "strategic patience." 

Lost in the countryside, a city slicker stops to ask a farmer for directions. The farmer replies laconically, “Well, I wouldn’t start from here.” Starting from here is the sort of advice President Donald Trump is likely to get when he asks about North Korea. 

He will be urged to pick up where his predecessor left off: refuse to enter into negotiations unless the North first commits to denuclearizing completely and takes steps to demonstrate it is serious about that commitment. He also will be told to continue ratcheting up sanctions in a vain effort to force Pyongyang to the negotiating table on U.S. terms.

That advice is tantamount to wishing away Washington’s current predicament in hopes of somehow going back to the future.