US Sanctions on North Korea: A Shared Security Analysis

A historical analysis of sanctions challenges the assumption that they are a humane alternative to military force. A quick historical survey shows that less than 1 in 4 sanctions saw any success in the 1970s and 1980s, even fewer when the US acted unilaterally. US relations with Cuba, a country with a long history of US imposed sanctions, saw a historic shift in December 2014. President Obama stated that isolation had failed for five decades, and that American interests could not be served by pushing Cuba towards collapse. This argument can essentially be applied to the failed sanctions regime against North Korea. The policy of ‘strategic patience’, based on the premise that the US could afford to wait for North Korea to make its decision to denuclearize, and that North Korea’s provocations would lead to self-isolation from its neighbors, has proven to be unsuccessful. Keeping in mind the important lessons from Cuba, it is time for a policy of diplomatic engagement rather than continued isolation. Full paper available here

Study Guide

This discussion guide (available here as a PDF) is intended to help Friends begin conversations around the AFSC-FCNL joint publication, Shared Security, within their meetings and churches or with like-minded groups. It provides queries and suggestions for using the document. We approach these issues first from our own faith and practice. From there, this publication seeks to stimulate discussion on what a new U.S. global policy would look like.

By opening a dialogue about the challenges and opportunities for reshaping U.S. policy toward a vision of shared security, we hope Friends and others can improve upon the ideas in the document, stimulate new thinking, and develop specific ideas for action within their communities and with policymakers.

This document is a beginning, not an end. We do not have all the answers. We hope to encourage a creative and humble discussion about how the U.S. can engage with the world as we seek to find shared solutions to shared problems. We hope to explore alternatives to militarism as a foreign policy. We hope these conversations will inspire action and encourage new initiatives to reshape U.S. foreign policy in a world dominated by war and hungry for peace.

We invite you to help envision—and create—a new U.S. global policy for living in the world we seek. We hope to stimulate dialogue, spark new ideas, confirm long-held beliefs, raise new questions, and encourage action to help change the policies and actions of our government. We encourage you to let us know your feedback, share the pamphlet with others, and bring these proposals directly to policymakers.

Have a Comment or Question?

Please see the Submit a Response page to share your reactions to the Shared Security document or project.


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