The CSS Blog Network

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2020

Image courtesy of Adrian Weale/DVIDS.

This article was originally published by the International Crisis Group on 27 December 2019.

Friends and foes alike no longer know where the United States stands. As Washington overpromises and underdelivers, regional powers are seeking solutions on their own – both through violence and diplomacy.

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American Credibility is Dangerously Low: Just Not for the Reasons You May Think

Image courtesy of Joshua Hoehne/Unsplash.

This article was originally published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) on 31 July 2019.

In the field of international relations, a nation’s credibility is often thought to be calculated by evaluating its historical record of following through on threats of punishment issued to adversaries. In contrast, today, the larger challenge to U.S. global credibility arises not from questions about its ability to inflict pain on rivals, but rather from the demonstrated failure of U.S. policymakers to make good on incentives promised to rivals in exchange for constructive changes in their behaviors.

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What’s in a Name? North Korea and the Contested Politics of ‘Nuclear Weapons States’

Image courtesy of The White House/Flickr

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 6 March 2019.

The second nuclear summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended abruptly last week with no deal and no plan for North Korean denuclearization. When asked how he had discussed the matter with Kim, Trump responded by noting, “denuclearization is a very important word, has become a very well-used word. A lot of people don’t know what it means but to me it’s pretty obvious we have to get rid of the nukes.”

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Whence Korean Denuclearization

Image courtesy of US Department of State/Flickr.

This article was originally published by the Pacific Forum on 14 January 2019.

North Korea’s state-owned news agency ran a wire story with tremendous significance just before Christmas, making clear that unilateral denuclearization is not going to happen. As part of a detailed explanation of Pyongyang’s position, it said: “When we refer to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, it, therefore, means removing all elements of nuclear threats from the areas of both the north and the south of Korea and also from surrounding areas from where the Korean peninsula is targeted. This should be clearly understood.” The text also states that “the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula means ‘completely removing the nuclear threats of the U.S. to the DPRK.’”

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Kim Jong Un’s Long Game

Image courtesy of U.S. Department of State/Flickr. Public Domain

This article was originally published by Pacific Forum CSIS on 11 July 2018.

Welcome to North Korean Negotiations 101. North Korea’s reaction to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to Pyongyang was expected and does not signal the end of the diplomatic process; it just shows us it will be a long and difficult one. On top of dealing with North Korean-style negotiations, President Donald Trump already made important concessions too soon before concrete North Korean denuclearization steps while Kim is playing a long game, looking 40 to 50 years down the road. Trump, on the other hand, seems to be focused on the next 2.5 years, until the next US presidential election in 2020.

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