On April 18, 2017, Asia Society Policy Institute’s Director of Asian Security, Lindsey Ford went on MSNBC to discuss the Trump administration’s approach to North Korea. She was joined on the show by Michael Allen, Managing Director of Beacon Global Strategies and former Senior Director for Non Proliferation in the George W. Bush White House.
Ford told MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi that, though the administration has declared that it is taking a different approach toward North Korea, “what you see is really some of… the same” from what the Obama and Bush administrations tried. This included applying “increased economic sanctions” and exerting “more pressure on China” to get it to ratchet down on North Korea.
The one difference Ford notices “is the degree to which we see this administration openly discussing that military options may be on the table. They have always been on the table,” but this Administration is making that clearer.
Ford cautioned against comparing the North Korean challenge with the one Iran’s nuclear program posed. Iran’s leadership was ultimately one “you could deal with,” but that is unclear in the North Korea case, she explained. She also pointed out that in the Iran case there was “a wider degree of international ability to pressure the Iranian regime.” With North Korea, the Chinese are the only entity that has clear pressure points. (7 min., 8 sec.)