North Korea's fifth nuclear test, ostensibly to perfect the design of a device capable of being deployed on a wide-range of ballistic missiles, has sent ripples throughout the American national security policy community, which continues to wrestle with the question of how best to deal with the issue of a nuclear-armed North Korea. The policy options available to protecting American national interests while reducing the threat posed by North Korea to the region and the United States have been historically synthesized by American policy makers into two basic tracks. The first uses classic quid pro quo engagement that seeks the termination of North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs in exchange for the promise of eventual economic and political reengagement with North Korea's regional neighbors and the United States. The second is to contain the threat posed by North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs by using any and all measures necessary, up to and including the threat of preemptive nuclear attack.
There is no debate that the American current policy of turning to economic sanctions against North Korea in an effort to compel that nation into halting its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs has been a failure; North Korea is not responding to the pressures of economic sanctions. It is ...
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