Magazine Article - Foreign Policy

Don't Play Nuclear Chicken with a Desperate Pariah

| June 19, 2009

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"In retaliation for tightened U.N. sanctions following North Korea's May 25 nuclear test and subsequent missile tests, Pyongyang defiantly upped the ante on Saturday, June 13. North Korea said it will move forward with its plans to build a nuclear arsenal, begin a program of uranium enrichment, and take 'resolute military actions' against the United States and its regional allies. Then on Thursday, June 18, news surfaced that the next missile test might be pointed toward Hawaii (the missiles in question don't have the range to actually reach the islands — only head that way). Pyongyang is also reportedly preparing another nuclear test.

This game of escalation will go on and on until North Korea gets what it desires most from Washington: a reliable security assurance. Of course, no one likes to yield to dictators. But ultimately, playing chicken with a desperate and nuclear-armed North Korea is too risky to endeavor. The more isolated the North Koreans become, the more likely they will be to use the nuclear card in threatening two hostages: South Korea and Japan. Everyone loses that game...."

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For Academic Citation: Zhang, Hui. “Don't Play Nuclear Chicken with a Desperate Pariah.” Foreign Policy, June 19, 2009.