Crisis on the Korean Peninsula
North Korea has been the most publicized nation in the last ten years regarding nuclear proliferation. They are often debated in the highest political circles and are considered by many in the United States the US’s greatest threat. However, many politicians and critics are divided on how to deal with North Korea, and the nuclear threat it poses to the rest of the world. In my research I stumbled upon a fascinating book entitled Crisis on the Korean Peninsula that deals precisely with this issue. The book written by, opinion leaders and foreign policy scholars Michael O’Hanlon and Mike Mochizuki, introduces an ambitious strategy that attempts to answer ...view middle of the document...
Confrontation capabilities, and 3. Bargaining possibilities. These sections serve as a road map ultimately conveying both the situation of nuclear proliferation in North Korea in their strongest arguments to the reader. Furthermore, as the authors follow these guidelines so will I with my research of their information. I will include in these sections ideas from other papers and authors as well as a section in which I provide some of my own analysis.
Crisis on the Korean Peninsula opens with a quick history background of the country through the twentieth century. In this background check O’Hanlon and Mochizuki cover the history of the country following the split of Korea after World War II. In this unglamorous review of the country’s history O’Hanlon and Mochizuki mention failed agriculture, famine, brainwashing propaganda, restrictions of freedoms, and make the comparison of Kim Jong II and his political hierarchy to that of Stalin. They go on to explain that the above mentioned struggles following WWII are a result of a military state that prides itself in an excess of troops and military spending on items such as nuclear material. Accordingly, O’Hanlon and Mochizuki follow this brief history with their first important question of the book; Is North Korea trying to mend its Ways?
O’Hanlon and Mochizuki answer this question in a broad outlook. They argue that due to the financial circumstances that have strapped the country since the end of the Cold War many changes have had to be made. “Meanwhile, his heavy industries are falling into disrepair, a half century of abuse has destroyed much of his country’s farmland, and a half century of brain washing and suppression have left the North Korean people ill-equipped to compete in the modern global economy.” As a result of this faltering economy Jong II has had to make some alterations in order to keep the country together and under his power. The provisions mentioned in the chapter refer to the lifting of price controls, increased wages, reduction of terrorism and arm sales, and the signing of the Agreed Framework with the United States, which capped its fledgling nuclear capabilities. All of these provisions were made in the 90’s and seemed to promote a more positive view of the situation in North Korea. Unfortunately, O’Hanlon and Mochizuki go on to explain how this little progress, made during the 90’s, has recently been marred by the discovery of North Korea’s resuscitated nuclear program.
The U.S. discovery of North Korea’s recent nuclear activity has set back any progress made by Jong II, claims O’Hanlon and Mochizuki, and has clearly violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Agreed Framework, and an accord between North Korea and South Korea which was signed in 1991. They also detailed many of the violations. The reprocessing of spent chemical fuel rods, the restart of a small research reactor and even hinted at the idea of testing a...