USA foreign policy: North Korea Essay

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USA faces a severe dilemma with respect to the foreign policy regarding the nuclear status of NK. There are two options available. One option is that of adopting an engagement policy, and try to persuade NK to willingly give up its nuclear ambitions, through peaceful means. The second option is to adopt the confrontation policy, which may include military action also. President Clinton adopted the policy of engagement, and tried to understand the NK perspective. His initiatives included a dialogue with the major countries in the region, China, Japan and South Korea.

The Clinton administration showed considerable respect for the views of each country, and proceeded with the support of all countries. It succeeded in its objective of persuading NK to abandon its nuclear program. It was able to bring the two Koreas together and sign a treaty of cooperation. This was a remarkable success. Conversely, the Bush administration adopted a confrontation policy. It did not give any consideration to NKs voice, and did not also respect the views of the countries in the region. As a result, NK challenged USA, and conducted successful

tests to join the league of nuclear powers. Engagement policy with caution is the only and the best option available to USA, in this context. The end of world war II also saw an end to Japanese colonization in the Korean peninsula. The north came under the control of a communist regime and the south under a democratic government. The existence of two powerful neighbors, China and Japan, and a strong military base of USA in south Korea were the main reasons for NK to feel insecure. In fact, these reasons underlie the nuclear ambitions of NK.

On the other hand USA could not ignore the strategic importance of this region. If NKs ambitions succeed, a missile attack could not be ruled out, it feared. Moreover, there was also a danger of NK selling nuclear weapons to terrorist groups, which may cause instability in the region. The third major cause of concern was that it may spring off a nuclear arms race in the region, which can prove disastrous any day. It was necessary in the peaceful interest of the region that NK gives up its nuclear ambition.

USA realized this when its intelligence agencies received satellite images of small reactor on NK soil in 1984, and a big reactor in 1988. ( James & Ozdamar, page 2- A, para 1 ) The images clearly revealed the intention of NK. At this juncture, it was necessary to convince NK to abandon its nuclear ambitions. USA took the lead by approaching Japan, China and South Korea, to achieve this goal. A careful analysis by the Clinton officials revealed that NK regime equipped with nuclear weapons was too dangerous for peace and stability of the region.

It thought that NK considers the pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles as its only path to survival. It was clear that if NK could be ensured of a sense of security, it will be ready to abandon its nuclear program and be open to international inspection of its nuclear facilities, because NK was abandoned by its cold war partners, its economy was almost bankrupt and was currently isolated. ( Hwang J. , 2004, para 5 ) Based on these perceptions, the Clinton administration decided to implement the policy

of engagement. The objective was to convince NK on two fronts. One, to open its nuclear facilities for international inspection and two, abandon its nuclear program altogether. It took the lead in forcing NK to sign the safeguard treaty with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which it did in 1989. The USA announced withdrawal of its tactical nuclear arms from the Korean Peninsula in 1991. This marked the beginning of a bright patch. In the same year NK and South Korea signed a Basic agreement, aimed at peace

through mutual cooperation. Clinton then persuaded NK to give up its nuclear plans and promised supply of heavy oil and supply of light water reactor, through a newly established Korean Peninsula Energy Development Corporation.. Former president Jimmy Carter played a major role in arriving at this settlement. Things were going smooth due to Clintons efforts, and the two Koreas had also agreed to solve the reunification issue. ( James & Ozdamar, 2004, pg. 5-A) A major success of Clintons carrot diplomacy was the signing of Basic

Agreement by the two Koreas, which was focused on bilateral co-operation, in 1991. The Agreed Framework signed between USA and NK was also a milestone, towards a peaceful settlement of the issue. It had also succeeded in achieving its objective. Despite his reasonable success in preventing NK from getting nuclear, Clinton was also criticized for his approach. His critics argued that a rogue state like NK must be dealt with in a strict fashion, and military action would be preferred to negotiation. They

also believed that a strict approach would have worked better because NK was faced with a grave problem of an economy which was almost bankrupt. They also argued that an agreement such as Agreed framework, would set a wrong precedent for other states, to get the US aid. In short, they felt that a heavy price was paid, to achieve the objective. Using a stick instead of a carrot, would have been more beneficial, and would have achieved the goal also, they believed. ( James & Ozdamar, 2004, pg. 9-B )

In contrast the G. W. Bush administration took the harsh approach, that of confrontation, right from the beginning. It described the officials of NK regime as idiots . ( Hwang J. , 2004, para 3 ) and in 2002, President G. W. Bush committed a colossal mistake by naming NK as a member of the axis of the evil . This was completely unwarranted, and gave a complete U turn to circumstances. NK reacted furiously and situation went out of control for the USA. NK announced withdrawal from NPT in 2003. .( James & Ozdamar, 2004, pg.

10-B ) The Bush administration was firm that it cannot allow NK to possess, use or sell nuclear arms because of its dismal human rights record and state sponsored terrorism. ( Orcutt D. , 2004, goals ). Ultimately nothing can stop from NK becoming a nuclear power in its own right. ( James & Ozdamar, 2004, pg. 10-B ) The two policies adopted by President Clinton and President G. W . Bush, are in complete contrast to each other. The only similarity seems to be in the objective of the policy. While Clinton administration tried to understand and analyze the prevailing

situation in the Northern Pacific region, the Bush administration did not. The former laid special concentration on the reasons for NK aspiring for nuclear arms, when it had so many problems to be resolved at home, mainly an economy which was nearly bankrupt. The Bush administration saw the poor economy as one of the reasons to adopt the confrontation policy, assuming that economic sanctions would force NK to give up its nuclear ambitions. The envoy of President Clinton came back with a sense of respect

towards the ruler of NK, whereas those of Bush administration were rather abusive about him. Efforts made by Clinton not achieved the objective, but went one step ahead to make the two Koreas agree on mutual co-operation. Those of Bush, not only washed off Clintons efforts, but enraged NK so much that it conducted successful tests, to join the nuclear league. A country with a bankrupt economy, challenged the might Bush administration in reply to its confrontation policy, successfully !! The sole objective of US policy is complete, verifiable, and irreversible nuclear

disarmament of NK. The Korean peninsula is of special significance to the USA because of 500, 000 citizens, 100,000 troops, and $ 500 billion in annual trade. ( Orcutt D. , 2004, the epicenter of Northeast Asia ) Clearly, going by the consequences each policy has generated, the engagement policy appears to be stronger and favorable to the US. One of the weak points of Clintons engagement policy was its looseness, in the sense, that the Agreement Framework hardly had any provision for penalties, if either party violated the agreement.

Its contents were limited to NK giving up its nuclear program, against annual supply of heavy oil and two reactors to be delivered by KEDO. As a result, when NK violated by invading the air space of Japan, little action could be taken by USA against this violation. ( James & Ozdamar, 2004, pg. 8-B ) As a matter of fact, the violation of Japans air space by NK was a desperate attempt by NK to get help NK solve the food crisis and deal with a collapsing of economy. USA interpreted this as a threat to the national security of its allies, and concentrated

again on building a military base in the sea of Japan. The Clinton administration gave military response to a problem which required economic solution. ( Feffer J. , 1999, key problems, para 4 ) One important regional development took place in late 90s. This was declaration of the sunshine policy by South Korea, which understood that NK does not desire to become a military superpower by pursuing nuclear weapons, but wanted to address its economic problems by these acts of fascism. This revolutionary policy not only aimed at

economic co-operation but even promised help for industrial development of the peninsula. Hyundai was a pioneering example. It was south Koreas perception that once the economic problems are solved, NK will give up its nuclear ambitions. ( Feffer J. , 1999, Problems with current US Policies, para 5 ) If the weak points of Clintons policy are properly eliminated and support given to South Koreas sunshine policy, by all the parties concerned, the issue may see a long time peaceful settlement.

Conversely, the stipulated results of confrontation are very brutal, if not hair raising. NK became a nuclear power, because of the confrontation policy. If the US still continues with it, the Asian allies, namely China and Japan, who are already against any type of military action against NK, may go against the US. China has a commendable influence on NK, and loosing the support of mighty powers like China and Japan, may prove disastrous for the US. It has been proved now that the US is grossly poor in estimating the strength of its

opponents. Iraq is a very recent example. Even though the nuclear threat was not present in the Iraq war, the US has not been able to bring an end to it, till today. The loss of human lives, inclusive that of the US soldiers, property and monetary losses are colossal. In comparison, the northern pacific region is far more volatile, because all the nations have the nuclear capabilities, and the US military built-up is heavy. A small spark can lead to a nuclear war. Its consequences will be unimaginable misery, never witnessed in

the human history. The US presence alone in this region consists of 100,000 troops and sophisticated weaponry worth billions of dollars ( Feffer J. , 1999, Problems with current US Policies, para 5 ) One event proves that south Korea was right in its assumption while formulating the sunshine policy and NK does not really want to become a military supremo, but is just wanting to solve its food and economy problems. NK has already offered to stop export of nuclear arms, for an exchange of $ 10 billion annually.

( Feffer J. , 1999, Toward a new foreign policy, para 4 ) This is a clear sign that NK could be convinced by engagement only. NK has given enough indications that it is ready to abandon its nuclear weapons in exchange of monetary help. As per the agreement signed on 13 Feb 07 at a six nation meeting hosted by China in Beijing, NK agreed to shut down and seal its main nuclear reactor, within 60 days, and allow international inspectors to return. In return NK would receive energy and other aid worth $400 billion.

( MacLeod C. , 13 Feb 07, N. Korea, para 7 ) One more incident proves the same point.. After conducting the nuclear tests successfully in October 2006, it again agreed to dismantle its nuclear facilities. It signed an agreement to this effect in Feb 2007, against a cash consideration of $ 250 million. The US authorities have discovered some fraudulent practices by the bank through which this amount was to be transferred to NK. There was a freeze on this amount for almost 18 months, which has again delayed the disarmament of NK.

The question is whether NK will be able to meet its deadline by the week ending on 13 April 07 ? ( Greenless & Lague, 11 April 2007, pg. 1, para 19 ) The NK foreign policy issue is a small extension of a broader cause. That cause is dominance of USA over the global affairs. If USA can develop arms of mass destruction, why should any other country not ? It is, in fact the right of every nation to develop nuclear arms, if USA has the right to do it. Second, reactions are offered by the USA even before actions take place.

Has NK so far hurt any nation with its capacity ? The entire campaign of USA is based on assumptions, rather than reality. What does the world community know about the security related activities of USA? Where is NPT and IAEA doing in this case ? On a wider scale, Osama, Saddam and NK are creations of USA policies to dominate the world affairs in an unjust way. This has to change, if true global peace has to be achieved. Such a dream can be a reality only and only if a ban on any type of development

of weapons of mass destruction is mandatory for all countries, including the US and the other developed nations. The main issue in this case is : who will bell the cat ? Conclusively it can be said that if global peace for a long time is to be achieved, total disarmament by all the countries is mandatory. The mighty nations like the USA have to take the lead not in dominating over smaller nations but disarming itself. Others would automatically follow. With regards to NK, the only option available to the US is that of adopting a

engagement policy. It proves to be a very safe gamble with minimal risk and a reasonable guarantee of achieving the objective. This has to be exercised with caution. The inherent danger is that it may set a wrong precedent to other nations, who may become rogue to get the massive US aid. It also needs to have strict penalty clauses if NK does not comply with the terms of the agreement. The other option of confrontation has very high risks, and yet not likely to achieve its objective.

Works-cited  page

James  Patrick, Ozdamar  Ozgur, [”-     ] The  Unites  States  and  North  Korea:     avoiding  a  worst  scenario,  ( Pls insert name and volume dated of your source)      Retrieved  on  19  April  07.Major  Dan  Orcutt,  [June  2004] Korea: A  US  foreign  policy  side  show, strategic Insights,  Volume  III, Issue  6  (June 2004), Center  for  Contemporary  conflict,     Retrieved  on  19  April  07  from :< >

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