September 28, 2022

Engagement and its geopolitical context

Consider assymetrical power relationship when broaching U.S., N. Korean dialogue

This is the second in a two-part series on why the U.S. has not engaged with North Korea. The first can be found here

Back in 2010 U.S. political scientist Mel Gurtov asked, in an article in the Seoul journal Global Asia, “Is He Serious About Engagement?” The “he,” of course, referred to President Barack Obama, and Gurtov was asking him to honor his campaign pledges to engage “adversaries such as North Korea and Iran.” Since then the U.S., for various reasons, has been involved in negotiations with Iran and with the sudden rise of the Islamic State there may actually be some movement. However, the prospect of negotiations with North Korea have been stymied by the demand for pre-conditions which are clearly, and predictably, unacceptable to Pyongyang. These were most recently reiterated by Glyn Davies, Obama’s Special Representative for North Korea Policy, in testimony to Congress on July 30. Accordingly Gurtov has returned to the fray with a substantial article, “Why the U.S. Should Engage North Korea Right Now,” published August 13.