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Thursday, October 26, 2006

What to do about North Korea

Use carrots, not just sticks, says Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek. Zakaria writes:
Consider the countries that have chosen to give up either their nuclear weapons or a nuclear program: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina. In all these cases what worked was mainly a positive incentive, not a punishment. These countries agreed to give up their nuclear status because they got something in return. On the other hand, punishment—decades of sanctions—had no effect on India or Pakistan. So far it has had no effect on Iran or North Korea.

The most recent case of denuclearization is Libya.
Contrary to much rhetoric, says Zakaria, getting Libya to give up its nuclear ambitions had as much to do with negotiations as with intimidation. The trouble here is the dissonance between the moral and utilitarian aspects of dealing with people like Kim Jong Il. On one hand, the prospect of guaranteeing the safety of such brutal regimes, and giving such mad dictators everything they ask for is a repulsive notion. On the other hand, to keep them from going berserk, perhaps it is necessary to pander to them. Both affect the lives of millions of people, and the tradeoff is a difficult one to make -- until nuclear weapons come into the picture.

Of course, it is entirely possible that a solution doesn't exist at all, and we're all screwed. In the meantime, we might as well pontificate meaningfully, and feel self-important. Blah-di-blah-di-blah. Then Boom!
amit varma, 6:19 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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