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Ends, Ways and Means of Us Policy Towards North Korea Essay

“Ends are defined as the strategic outcomes or the end states desired. Ways are defined as the methods, tactics and procedures, practices, and strategies to achieve the ends. Means are defined as the resources required to achieve the ends, such as troops, weapons systems, money, political will and time. ” MG Dennis J. Laich, USAR, Retired President Obama stated in the 2010 National Security Strategy that his administration “has no greater responsibility than the safety and security of the American people” (Obama, 2010, 4).

In order to successfully safeguard and secure America, the administration must have clear foreign policy delineating how it will deal with the various states across the globe that pose potential threats to America. One of these is North Korea. The US policy ends this essay will focus on are denuclearization and the improvement of North Korea’s human rights record. The Obama Administration inherited a difficult situation with regard to North Korea’s continued attempts to advance its nuclear weapons program.

The ends of US policy regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is successful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula (Obama, 2010, 23). President Obama stated in his 2010 National Security Strategy, “if they [North Korea] ignore their international obligations, we will pursue multiple means to increase their isolation and bring them into compliance” (Ibid, 24). During his first term, President Obama chose to continue the Bush Administration’s policy of direct, bilateral diplomacy in effort to reduce North Korea’s nuclear threat (Klingner, 2009, 1).

This effort included enforcement of existing sanctions, expansion of the Proliferation Security Initiative and demanding North Korean compliance with U. N. Security Council resolutions regarding the dissolution of Pyongyang’s nuclear program (Ibid). The US continues to use U. N. sanctions and diplomatic effort to reduce the nuclear threat North Korea presents. However, US policy does not focus solely on the denuclearization of North Korea. It also addresses other issues North Korea brings to the international stage such as human rights violations posed on the international front as well.

Non-proliferation of nuclear weapons is usually considered the main focus of US policy towards North Korea; however, issues such as North Korea’s illicit activities and human rights violations are also of concern (Chanlett-Avery, 2011). The strategy of the Obama Administration is to influence North Korea to improve its human rights record through international pressure and direct support via the North Korean Human Rights Act (Ibid, 13). The North Korean Human Rights Act (NKHRA) authorizes funds to support human rights efforts in North Korea and improve the flow of information to and from the country.

It also requires the President to appoint a Special Envoy on human rights in North Korea. Additionally, it allows for North Koreans to apply for asylum in the United States (Ibid, 14). As of 2011, relatively few North Korean refugees live in the US, but the program continues to “facilitate the unhindered dissemination of information in North Korea” through Korean language radio broadcasts funded through the NKHRA’s $2M annual budget (Ibid). The ways and means of US policy towards North Korea require dedication, diligence and comprehensive confrontation using a combination of all instruments of national power (Ibid, 9).

Nuclear proliferation may be the main issue between the US and North Korea, but it is not the only one. The US is also engaged with North Korea in effort to improve Pyongyang’s human rights record and improve the way the North Korean government treats its populace. US policy toward North Korea has proven to be similar to dealing with an obstinate, attention seeking child and will require patience and willingness to use all instruments of power should there be no other alternative.


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