On March 10, Foreign Policy published its biweekly “It’s Debatable” column featuring Scowcroft Center Vice President and Senior Director Matthew Kroenig and Emma Ashford assessing the latest news in international affairs.
In their latest column, they discuss the recent leak of sensitive government documents, the ongoing conflict in Sudan, and North Korea’s recent advancements in nuclear weapon capabilities. Specifically, in light of the developments in North Korea, the pair debate the utility and feasibility of nuclear disarmament.
Washington should stick to its long-standing policy that North Korea must completely disarm. Striking an arms control agreement is contrary to that principle. It would essentially say that the world is willing to live with a nuclear North Korea. It would also undermine nuclear nonproliferation more broadly.
North Korean disarmament is a nonstarter, at least while the Kim family regime rules. And the result has been bad when it comes to proliferation: It shows that a determined state can succeed in building a nuclear program under sanctions; it creates a bad actor willing to sell its technology to other states for hard currency; and it has prompted debate in South Korea about whether it needs to develop its own nuclear program in response.