This is the advice offered by Michael O’Hanlon and Mike Mochizuki. They contend our current negotiating strategy is flawed because it is mired in gamesmanship over who participates and what the rules of the negotiation will be while simultaneously far too unambitious in its goals.

But the broad plan would go much further than the nuclear question. Consistent with Mr. Bush’s instincts that any deal with North Korea’s current government is unappealing and unpromising, it would seek to begin to change the basic nature of that regime.

One aspect of the broader plan would emphasize human rights issues such as the return of Japanese kidnapped by North Korea decades ago and even the internal practices of the North Korean regime toward its people. And of course Washington would offer a nonaggression pledge, peace treaty and diplomatic relations as well, provided North Korea agrees to the rest of the package.

But the plan’s centerpiece would be a combination of deep conventional arms reductions on the peninsula and assistance to North Korea to help it reform its economy. China, which has navigated the road from a communist command system to an entrepreneurial economy, would provide guidance and advice. China, Japan, South Korea and the United States would provide aid. Mr. Bush talked about such ideas early in his presidency but never fleshed them out. It is time we do so.

I’d like to see this plan fleshed out a bit, but it appears sensible. Bold visions almost always yield better results than trying to tackle issues in a vacuum.

FILED UNDER: World Politics, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. George says:

    Other than the fact that Michael O’Hanlon is a complete idiot. Not be harsh, but go read his writings. He is a “Senior Fellow” but he has the reasoning ability of a child.

    He is consistantly wrong in his predictions and often sees the obvious and calls it something else.

    Don’t get me wrong I am not talking opinions I disagree with, I mean facts. He was in the “operational pause/war plan failed/not enough armor camp.”

    Dunno, to be fair, I did not read the piece but I have been following him for a while and if he is a “Senior Fellow” I should be a nobel laureate.

    If you read his pieces critically I think you will find him only slightly more accurate than R. W. Apple. (OK that was harsh)


  2. James Joyner says:

    Umm, not a very helpful critique. O’Hanlon has a rather impressive resume. Not as prestigious as a position at a&, but still noteworthy. Simply saying he was wrong about one thing–with no analysis of what he actually said–does not indicate that he will likely be wrong about a completely different thing.

  3. George says:

    He might have a fine resume. Hey, he is a “Senior Fellow” ain’t he.

    If you had noticed, I TWICE urged people to read his works to draw a conclusion. In fact I even asked people to “critically” read his work.

    My critique of him is far more helpful than yours of me.

    I could pontificate at length all the things he was wrong about. I did not say his wrongness was limited to a single issue, I only used that as an example. You apparently misread or mischaracterized me.

    In fact, I called him CONSISTENTLY wrong.

    If you would like a catalog of his errors you can pay me by the hour to complie it or you can take my advice and go read for yourself.

    Either will disabuse you of your failed notions.


  4. George says:

    Lemme maybe say it this way…..

    If you read that fine resume that you linked, it says he is a “scholar” and that one of his specialties is “defense transformation.”

    We have seen “defense transformation” up close and personal in the last 60 days. And it is undenyable that Rummy et al were correct and the “old guard” were wrong.

    The reason I cited that one example is that he was on the wrong side. This is a major policy area that is supposedly his specialty.

    If he is to have credibility that he understands “defense transformation” than he should have understood how the military had been transformed. Clearly he did not.

    I don’t care how many letters you have behind your name if you have no clue what you are talking about, they won’t save you.

    Certainly a “scholar” that “thinks” for a living should have known more about the military than I do.

    I cited the one example because it clearly makes my point. I can mention more but to my way of thinking, his credibilty is damned with this one.

    But hey, you read his work and tell me. Personally, I ain’t impressed.


    Hell, gimme a spell checker and I could have his job. 😉

  5. James Joyner says:

    Well, a spell checker, a Princeton PhD, and a couple dozen peer reviewed articles, anyway.