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Nuclear Crises with North Korea and Iran: From Transformational to Transactional Diplomacy

Books@Wilson logoNuclear Crises with North Korea and Iran: From Transformational to Transactional Diplomacy

Publisher

Woodrow Wilson Center, 2019

ISBN

978-1-938027-85-7
Books@Wilson logoNuclear Crises with North Korea and Iran: From Transformational to Transactional Diplomacy

Nuclear Crises with North Korea and Iran: From Transformational to Transactional Diplomacy

The ongoing nuclear impasses with both North Korea and Iran reflect a persisting tension in U.S. policy—whether the objective toward “rogue” states should be to change their regimes’ behavior or to change the regimes themselves. Should nuclear diplomacy be transactional, focused narrowly on the discrete nuclear challenge, or transformational, comprehensively addressing these regimes’ objectionable behavior? Rhetorically, with both North Korea and Iran, the Trump administration aspires for the transformational.

To break the impasses, the Trump administration should pivot from a transformational strategy to the transactional. The current transformational approach relies on maximalist goals that cannot be attained short of regime change. Transactional diplomacy with discrete, limited objectives offers a plausible pathway for constraining, not eliminating, these states’ threatening capabilities.

About the Author

Robert S. Litwak image

Robert S. Litwak

Senior Vice President and Director of International Security Studies
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