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Denuclearizing North Korea: Time for Plan B

by Sung-han Kim and Scott A. Snyder

With the window of opportunity created by Trump-Kim summitry closing, it is time to seriously consider pursuing a “proactive containment” strategy toward North Korea, strengthening extended deterrence for South Korea and Japan, extending economic sanctions, and reinforcing a forward-deployed onshore strategic posture.

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Strategic Patience Revisited: The Counterforce Effect

by Jan Ludvik

The most promising policy toward North Korea now is a return to strategic patience, this time grounded in emerging counterforce technologies that will likely make North Korea’s nuclear arsenal irrelevant.

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Déjà Vu in South Korea? Lessons from the 1992 Philippines Withdrawal

by Jung-Hoon Lee and Joe Phillips

Nearly 30 years ago, a misleading, short-term decline in threat perception, impulsive nationalism, and diminished mutual accommodation rendered the long-standing US-Philippines partnership vulnerable, to the detriment of both countries. An eerie sequel is unfolding in US-South Korea relations; Washington and Seoul should pay attention to the similarities, risks, and lessons.

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Behind the Headlines

Insights from previous issues

Perils of Polarization for US Foreign Policy

by Kenneth A. Schultz

The long-term trend of partisan polarization in US politics has made it more difficult for the United States to conduct foreign policy and wield its diplomatic and military power in the world. How can we mitigate the worst effects? From our Winter 2017 issue.

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The Changing Fundamentals of US-China Relations

by Evan S. Medeiros

US-China competition has become more of a condition than a strategy, leading the former NSC senior director for Asia to argue that calling for competition with China is not enough; the key debates are how the United States competes—with what tools, on what issues, and at what costs. From our Fall 2019 issue.

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Presidential Alliance Powers

by Mira Rapp-Hooper and Matthew C. Waxman

The US president wields vast powers that can weaken alliances from within, undermining American treaty guarantees through action or inaction. Congress, however, can influence US alliance management and protect them from eroding. From our Summer 2019 issue.

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Economic Statecraft in the Age of Trump

by Daniel W. Drezner

A statecraft gap is emerging, with the United States getting worse at economic diplomacy just as other countries are getting better. The United States needs to develop a reliable doctrine on when to threaten networked sanctions, how to resist being the target of other actors’ efforts to weaponize interdependence, and how to use carrots as well as sticks. From our Fall 2019 issue.

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Will Europe Get Its Own Bomb?

by Bruno Tertrais

The context for a “European nuclear deterrent” is changing. The vague expression, which this paper seeks to define, is clouded by intellectual and political confusion about realistic options. Now would be a good time for all Europeans to re-engage in this nuclear policy debate. From our Summer 2019 issue.

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South Korea's Nuclear Hedging

by Lami Kim

Given the enormous potential security and economic costs of obtaining nuclear weapons, Seoul is more likely to pursue nuclear hedging and latency. South Korean President Moon Jae-in's pursuit of nuclear-powered submarines may be part of such a hedging strategy in Seoul. From our Spring 2018 issue.

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Provocations

The Grandiosity of Grand Strategy

by Richard K. Betts 

“Grand strategy” is in vogue, but there is less to this concept than meets the eye. It is more a fixation of intellectuals looking for rationality in practice than a concern of actual practitioners. The term has simply come to be overused and the concept overvalued as a standard.

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Flagrant Foul: China's Predatory Liberalism

by Victor Cha and Andy Lim

The October 2019 NBA row over Hong Kong is just one example of China’s frequent practice of “predatory liberalism,” or undermining the promise of interdependence and leveraging vulnerabilities for political goals. But has China chosen the wrong target in the NBA?

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Domestic Hurdles to a Grand Strategy of Restraint

by C. William Walldorf, Jr. and Andrew Yeo

Advocates of a restraint-related grand strategy, which includes offshore balancing and retrenchment, have been gaining traction in principle. But can such a strategy be pursued politically? At least three domestic political challenges need to be addressed, potentially tilting the strategy toward a more pragmatic version.

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A Financial Sanctions Dilemma

by Aaron Arnold

Imposing financial sanctions to support economic statecraft (for non-financial goals) risks undermining US credibility to uphold international banking rules and norms, sending mixed signals to adversaries as well as allies. Washington needs to reconcile its national security interests with its role as defender of the global financial system.

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Are Global Proxy Wars Returning?

Europe's Authoritarian Challenge

by Jessica Brandt and Torrey Taussig

To defend democratic institutions and values at home, policymakers and the public must first cut through the myriad of Russia’s and China’s distinct economic, political, information and cyber tactics to see the cumulative and detrimental effects they are having on European democracy.

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Russia’s Back in Africa: Is the Cold War Returning?

by Kimberly Marten

Over the past few years, Russia has come roaring back on the African continent, which Washington sees as a strategic challenge. But it is important not to fall for Moscow’s own hype about its activities and remember at least four key factors limiting Russian influence in Africa.

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Defensive Defense: A Better Way to Protect US Allies in Asia

by Eugene Gholz, Benjamin Friedman, and Enea Gjoza

US strategy in East Asia is defensive, but its military operational plans in service of that strategy are largely offensive, and thus more expensive, more dangerous, and less effective than an alternative “defensive defense” operational concept outlined here.

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