AEI’s Nicholas Eberstadt, the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy, shares his insights on North Korea’s recent nuclear threats, the sustainability of the current North Korean regime, and how the United States should proceed in terms of policy and defense.
Should the escalation of the North Korea situation come as a surprise to America?
Eberstadt explains that this emergence of crises is part of a “very familiar dance” on North Korea’s behalf. This kind of diplomacy is familiar to them, but not familiar to the US.
In the 21st century, given the global political landscape, how sustainable is the North Korean regime?
Eberstadt explains that the “cult of personality” and the aspects of North Korea that seem bizarre promotes the view that they’re “insane”. In fact, their leadership is not insane, since the regime has lasted since 1948. The priority of the government is the regime’s survival. North Korea sees itself as a nuclear power comparable to the US, despite bouts of famine and poverty.
How should the US proceed with regard to North Korea?
Eberstadt has argued that the North Korean government has been preparing to fight and win a limited nuclear war against the US in the Korean Peninsula. In terms of policy, there needs to be a focus on North Korea threat reduction and preparation for a post-DPRK Korean Peninsula.