From Publishers Weekly
The authors of this study have a worthy goal: to completely transform the nature of the world's relationship with North Korea. Although appreciative of previous attempts to freeze the North's provocative nuclear program, O'Hanlon and Mochizuki see the faults in past efforts, and make a strong case for a new way to bring a stable peace to the peninsula and to introduce the so-called Hermit Kingdom to the international community. Few are more qualified to address the issue than "[t]he two Mikes," as they are dubbed in the foreword by Brookings Institution president Strobe Talbott. The pair have passed their careers in many of the nation's best think tanks and universities, and have spent much ink on the topic of East Asian security. In this instance, they propose a clear, reasoned and, most important, achievable "grand bargain" with the North that would involve a broad range of demands while offering specific incentives to reform. To readers unfamiliar with the nuclear crisis that has unfolded since October of last year, when North Korea allegedly admitted it possessed a uranium-enrichment program, the book can be unforgiving; O'Hanlon and Mochizuki launch right into their nuanced approach to defuse the crisis. After they outline their proposal, however, the book becomes a comprehensive, must-read introductory text to the conflict, and the subject is bizarre enough to hold anyone's attention, or at least anyone who thinks a leader said to have been born amid the appearance of double rainbows and able to write up to 1,000 books a day is bizarre.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Even if one discounts North Korea's ongoing program to develop nuclear weapons, the Korean peninsula remains a highly dangerous place. North Korea maintains around a million troops in forward positions close to the demilitarized zone, supported by a vast array of artillery capable of quickly reducing Seoul to rubble. But North Korea probably does have two nuclear weapons, and they are striving to develop more. Can the U.S. tolerate such destructive power in the hands of perhaps the most repressive, isolated, and even paranoid regime on earth? O'Hanlon is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and adjunct professor at Columbia University; Mochizuki is director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and teacher at George Washington University. They have provided a vital service in describing in coherent, easily digestible form the nature of the crisis, including analyses of North Korean conventional capabilities and the often inscrutable motivations behind their government's provocative actions. Their proposals for dealing with this threat, which they dub the "grand bargain," include a variety of demands upon North Korea to limit their conventional forces and completely dismantle their nuclear capability. In return, the U.S., our allies, and China would provide economic aid and guarantees of military security. The plan seems rational, but it assumes we are dealing with a rational regime. Still their proposals are worthy of consideration, as the U.S. is soon to be faced with a belligerent, unpredictable adversary armed with nuclear weapons and the delivery systems to threaten our troops and allies throughout East Asia. Jay FreemanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved