Academic journal article Military Review

Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea

Academic journal article Military Review

Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea

Article excerpt

DISARMING STRANGERS: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea, Leon V. Sigal, Princeton University Press, NJ, 1998, 321 pages, $29.95.

Has post-Cold War US strategy toward North Korea been dangerously wrong? Can emphasizing cooperation rather than diplomatic, economic and military coercion elimmate nuclear tension on the Korean peninsula? In his book, Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea, Leon V. Sigal contends that inappropriate US policies for North Korean nuclear disarmament have increased rather than reduced instability and the threat of war in Northeast Asia.

Sigal, a former member of the New York Times Editorial Board, has written more than 60 editorials on the subject of nuclear diplomacy with North Korea. His central thesis is that when dealing with North Korea on the issue of nuclear disarmament, US cooperative gestures-cooperative threat reduction-have consistently proven to be more effective than economic sanctions or military threats-the crime-and-punishment approach.

Sigal supports his argument by examining US-North Korea relations from 1988 to 1995, highlighting North Korea's recurring pattern of "tit-for-tat negotiating behavior." For example, in response to cooperative gestures by the United States, such as the cancellation of the 1992 ROK/US military exercise TEAM SPIRIT, North Korea clearly reciprocated by signing the Safeguards Agreement. US coercion and broken promises during TEAM SPIRIT in 1993 led to North Korea's retaliatory intent to renounce the Nonproliferation Treaty. …

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