June 03, 2023

Book review: When ideology and politics trump a rational North Korea policy

In ‘Hinge Points,’ nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker chronicles missed US chances to engage and his Track 2 diplomacy

While North Korea’s nuclear scientists were hard at work, carefully pushing the limits at the Yongbyon research facility, the Bush administration was twisting intelligence reports and finding non-existent weapons in Iraq as a pretext for invasion, war and regime change. 

The nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker gives this account of Bush-era policy in his new book “Hinge Points: An Inside Look at North Korea’s Nuclear Program,” which takes a hard look at Washington’s approach to the DPRK over the years and finds that it has often been to the detriment of U.S. security. Rational decision-making, he argues, has been ignored in favor of politics.