The disappointments of disengagement: Assessing obama's north korea policy

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As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama boldly promised to enhance US engagement with North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea; DPRK). But in his first term as president, his administration was determined to significantly lower the foreign policy priority of North Korea and carried out a policy of concerted disengagement, an approach the administration called "strategic patience." The strategy of disengagement showed disappointing results by late 2010, and so the United States made a begrudging, tactical adjustment by starting tentative bilateral talks with the DPRK. When the preliminary result of those talks-the "Leap Day Deal"-fell apart in 2012 over the satellite launch controversy, the wrong lesson was learned: that neither sanctions nor engagement works with Pyongyang. The real lesson of Obama's North Korea policy is the failure of disengagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-182
Number of pages34
JournalAsian Perspective
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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