North Korea: The Myth of Maxed-Out Sanctions article

Here is a great new article in the Fletcher Security Review by Joshua Stanton about North Korean sanctions:!stanton/c1vgi

On December 19, 2014, President Obama publicly blamed North Korea for the cyberattack against Sony Pictures and for the subsequent cyberterrorism against the American people, and promised to “respond proportionally.” Almost immediately thereafter, one could hear a familiar narrative repeated, typified by New York Times correspondent David Sanger, who wrote that “North Korea is under so many sanctions already that adding more seems futile.” One could have heard similar arguments in 2006, after North Korea’s first nuclear test, and in 2013, after its third nuclear test. Avariation of this argument is that “Washington … can do little … without the cooperation of China.”

For years, journalists have quoted “experts” who insisted that U.S. sanctions options against North Korea were exhausted and had failed as an instrument of policy. As a matter of both fact and law, however, that is false; it even suggests that these experts have not read and understood the sanctions authorities. Why does this view persist, then? Some scholars may accept and propagate it because they oppose sanctions as a matter of policy. Others have simply ceased to question a myth that has entered the received wisdom.

 More at the link.


About Leon Whyte

I'm a recent graduate of the Fletcher school of Law and Diplomacy. My interests include Pacific Asia and Security. I am looking for related opportunities.
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