North Korea Heading for the Abyss

by Bruce Klingner
The United States and its allies should have no illusions about Kim Jong-un. He is just as dangerous as his father, and less predictable. We can debate how best to address the situation, but should not misunderstand the seriousness of just how dangerous it could soon become.

The United States and South Korea: Who Does What if the North Fails?

by Kent Harrington and Bennett Ramberg
Dealing with the perennial risk of North Korea’s potential demise presents unanticipated challenges including but not limited to its nuclear arsenal. Should the United States remain the centerpiece in dealing with North Korea’s potential collapse? It’s time for a public debate.

The Key to the North Korean Targeted Sanctions Puzzle

by John S. Park
Examining financial sanctions, now the dominant counterproliferation policy instrument, from the target’s perspective reveals that sanctions have had the unintended net effect of actually strengthening North Korean procurement networks through state trading companies.

Breaking the North Korean Nuclear Deadlock: a Global Action Plan

by Duk-min Yun and Wooseon Choi
Washington and Beijing seem to be experiencing fatigue with North Korea, creating an expectation that Seoul should take the initiative. Two South Korean authors argue it is not too late for Seoul to try a bold and creative initiative to pursue a new framework for denuclearization.


Fall 2014 | Volume 37 | Number 3


Drawing Red Lines Right

by Bruno Tertrais
In the past two years, ‘‘red lines’’ have risked becoming punch lines, having been invoked so frequently in places like Iran, Syria, and Ukraine. Yet, they remain powerful policy instruments if used properly. Here’s how...

Revitalizing the Rebalance: How to Keep U.S. Focus on Asia

by Michael J. Green and Zack Cooper
The perception in Asia is that the United States and its rebalance to the region have lost some steam. Why? And what can be done to reinvigorate the rebalance and keep U.S. focus on Asia?

Less is More: The Future of the U.S. Military in the Persian Gulf

by Joshua Rovner and Caitlin Talmadge
It’s almost conventional wisdom that a precipitous U.S. military drawdown is creating a security vacuum and political breakdown in the Gulf, but that is wrong. History, a favorable situation in the Gulf, and analysis demonstrate that the United States can protect its core interest in the free flow of oil without having to commit a large and enduring naval or ground presence.

The Fool’s Errand for a Perfect Deal with Iran

by Sven-Eric Fikenscher and Robert J. Reardon
Washington is in danger of losing a good deal in the pursuit of a perfect but unachievable one. The P5+1 should set aside the effort to craft an all-at-once comprehensive bargain and instead adopt a strategy of negotiating incremental agreements with Iran.

Has India Peaked?

by John R. Schmidt
On the heels of its stunning spring 2014 electoral victory, the BJP government could have the last best chance India will ever have to enact labor law reform. If it fails to seize the moment, it is hard to see how India will lift the majority of its population out of poverty, and it very well could have already economically peaked.

Modi’s Unexpected Boost to India-U.S. Relations

by Harsh V. Pant
New Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rise has both fundamentally transformed Indian domestic politics and renewed efforts in Delhi as well as Washington to strengthen ties. Ironically, the man once banned from traveling to the United States may already have imparted a sorely needed new dynamic to bilateral relations.

Beyond Putin? Nationalism and Xenophobia in Russian Public Opinion

by Theodore P. Gerber
Is Russian public support for Putin’s policies in Crimea and Ukraine fleeting or a deeper tendency toward nationalism and xenophobia? Original public opinion survey results here reveal an uncertain, complex, and heterogeneous society far from a unified, coherent nationalist worldview.

Is Brazil a ‘Responsible Stakeholder’ or a Naysayer?

by Esther D. Brimmer
This current global order rests on promoting and maintaining five pillars. Is Brazil a stakeholder in, or a naysayer against, the current system in these areas? And what will happen when Brazilian interests diverge from the global order?

Between Aspiration and Reality: Indonesian Foreign Policy After the 2014 Elections

by Prashanth Parameswaran
In translating Indonesia’s expanding foreign policy aspirations into reality, new President Joko Widodo will confront major challenges ranging from nagging resource constraints at home to incomplete political transitions and rising nationalism among Indonesia’s neighbors abroad.


Behind the Headlines

Afghanistan’s Legacy: Emerging Lessons of an Ongoing War

by Stephen Biddle
In an important sense, emerging debates on the war’s lessons are premature. The war in Afghanistan is not over; nor is it ending anytime soon. Nevertheless, before conventional wisdom consolidates, two observations on counterinsurgency are worth considering now: whether it can work and how to approach governance reform.

China’s Free Trade Agreement Strategies

by Guoyou Song and Wen Jin Yuan
Many in China fear that the United States’ Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) framework seeks to coopt or destroy regional economic cooperation, leading Beijing to devise strategies to respond, including constructing its own regional web of FTAs or even joining TPP itself.

Rebalancing to Asia with an Insecure China

Ely Ratner
The U.S. shift toward Asia should and will continue, but Washington must both account for an insecure China for rebalancing to achieve its intended aims and must sustain its commitment to intensive high-level engagement with Beijing to cope with inevitable crises.

Unlocking the Alawite Conundrum in Syria

by Jomana Qaddour
Alawites surely recognize that their long-term interests do not lie with the Assad regime, but they are frightened by the precedent set by de-Ba’athification in Iraq. The opposition and international community must acknowledge four major issues to help assuage their concerns and construct a post-Assad Syrian state.

Prague as the Nonproliferation Pivot

by C. Raja Mohan
The Prague Agenda was the last gasp of arms control theology from another era. Washington must recognize that the rest of the world does not view WMD proliferation in as dire terms as it does, while nonproliferation will have to come to terms with the new constraints on the exercise of U.S. power.

Sifting through Interdependence

by Thomas Wright
States have increasingly begun to hedge against the risks and volatility of interdependence. With these efforts likely to accelerate over the next decade, how should integration and interdependence be strategically managed--encouraging positive elements like trade ties while mitigating negative ones--to help produce a stronger and more sustainable international order?