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How Not to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

A Realistic Approach for Dealing with North Korea's Nuclear Weapons

by David A. Shlapak

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Early indications are that the Joe Biden administration will continue with the same failed approach to dealing with North Korea's nuclear weapon program that previous administrations have pursued. In this paper, the author argues that, instead of persisting in a doomed quest to denuclearize North Korea, the United States and its allies should adopt a "something-for-something" strategy that gradually establishes a framework for managing Pyongyang's nuclear capability in a way that improves stability and the chance for peace in East Asia.

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Funding for this project was provided by the generous contributions of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy (CAPP) Advisory Board. This work was conducted within CAPP, which is part of International Programs at the RAND Corporation.

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