Assessments

The U.S. and North Korea Race Against the Clock

Jul 18, 2017 | 09:15 GMT
Soldiers in North Korea survey the South from across the Demilitarized Zone in late 2011.
(Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

The United States and North Korea appear to be on a collision course. Their differing interests are reaching a point of irreconcilability, and each side sees in the other a significant threat to its national interests. To understand the rapidly shrinking timeline for a potential conflict between the two, we must first state a few assumptions about each country's view of the other. The assumptions are based on more than just statements by individual leaders, which often are more about subjective desire than about objective reality. Instead, they are founded on a geopolitical analysis and intelligence study of the United States and North Korea drawing from assessments of history and strategic culture as well as studies of politics, economics and past behavior. Assumptions, of course, can be wrong and must be constantly tested; they also evolve over time, as circumstances and evidence change. But for now, these are our baseline assumptions...

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