On North Korea, Trump team needs crash course in ‘art of sanctions’-commentary

While the exact details as well as the physical pressure created by sanctions are also important, both are less so than the principles behind the decision to sanction as well as what the idea could take for them to end.

inside case of North Korea, we presently lack any real sense of the purpose behind the sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration as well as their desired end state.

We know which the Trump Administration – like others before the idea – considers North Korean nuclear weapons unacceptable as well as has said which the idea must eliminate them as well as stop testing missiles. If not, Trump has said “additional major sanctions” will be imposed.

yet, does which mean North Korea could have to abandon all nuclear activities or just bombs? could North Korea have to abandon all missiles or just some? Answers to these questions are important, not least because without them, we don’t know if we are chasing an objective which may prove impossible or if our sanctions are remotely in line with our demands.

by the North Korean side, we have clear statements of intent. Because their rhetoric can be intended to signal continued North Korean resolve inside face of sanctions–in addition to undermining the international coalition imposing sanctions on the country–the idea can be hard to tell how far to take its statements. yet, North Korea can be producing the idea clear which the idea has no intention of backing down.

On November 17, North Korea’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva underscored in an interview with Reuters which North Korea’s nuclear weapons are not on the table for negotiations, citing the need for “the nuclear deterrent to cope with the nuclear threat by America.”

Worse, though Han also dismissed the idea of a “freeze for freeze” or trading the nuclear as well as missile program for sanctions relief, Han stated which, “the idea can be obvious which the aim of the sanctions can be to overthrow the system of my country by isolating as well as stifling the idea as well as to intentionally bring about humanitarian disaster instead of preventing weapons development as claimed by the U.S. as well as its followers.”

This kind of comment underscores which North Korea’s government perceives a different intent behind U.S. as well as UN sanctions against the country than which of dealing its weapons programs as well as human rights violations.

This kind of can be a big problem, yet not insurmountable. Communication as well as clarity of purpose are key.

among the lead architects of the U.S. as well as international sanctions regime against Iran, as well as a negotiator for the resulting nuclear deal, I think the history of sanctions with Iran can be instructive for U.S. policy toward North Korea.

Despite a decade of increasingly tough sanctions, the United States was unable to secure Iran’s agreement to take the kinds of steps necessary to permanently resolve concerns with its nuclear program.

The agreement reached in July 2015 instead intended to resolve those concerns for an extended period of time, permitting both greater confidence to be built by Iran as to its intentions as well as a foundation to be built for perhaps a longer term solution to the problem inside future.

The jury can be still out as to whether the agreement will survive long enough for these propositions to be tested. yet, the idea was built on a framework of clear communication by the United States.

Its objectives were to address concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, as well as to receive communication as well as assurance by Iran as to its willingness to resolve those concerns, along with its limits in doing so. by This kind of, we obtained restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program as well as transparency into the idea, yet with sunsets attached to many of these provisions which will lapse in 10-20 years.

If sanctions continue to be the policy tool of choice, then Trump as well as his team must commit to open dialogue with North Koreans to explore what may be possible. Sanctions do not work without being attached to a political as well as diplomatic strategy.

Secretary of State Tillerson has implied which there are ongoing, back channel talks with as well as about North Korea. Hopefully, in those talks, there can be greater clarity being offered about why sanctions are being pursued as well as what the United States could expect as well as demand to begin their removal. Absent which, sanctions lose much of their diplomatic value.

They may still deprive North Korea of resources as well as freedom of action, which has its own utility. yet, part of the art of sanctions can be their contribution to long term political solutions, for which clarity as well as communication are key.

Commentary by Richard Nephew, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy as well as the author of the brand new book, The Art of Sanctions: A View by the Field, by Columbia University Press. He was the former principal deputy coordinator for sanctions policy at the Department of State as well as former lead sanctions expert for the U.S. team negotiating with Iran. Follow him on Twitter @RichardMNephew.

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