While government officials, including a series of American presidents, strategic policy documents and outside analysts have repeatedly noted that North Korea and Iran occupy a similar challenge, the commonality has largely been left unexplored. This book argues that North Korea and Iran are uniquely common in the world today in their illicit nuclear aspirations in violation of their legal commitments made under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The work evaluates alternative arguments, some of which sustain that the two states should be grouped together based on other metrics, such as nuclear powers that sponsor terrorist organizations or nuclear states that violate human rights, and find alternative explanations do not hold up to empirical scrutiny. Drawing on newly declassified documents and Iranian and North Korean sources, the book provides a comprehensive and comparative assessment of the two states’ social, historical, economic, and domestic political structures and situation to make these determinations. Furthermore, it reviews the nuclear issue stemming from Iran and North Korea and the efforts to constrain these programs. The book concludes with specific policy recommendations that apply diplomatic lessons learned from dealing with Iran to North Korea and vice versa.
This book will be of interest to students of nuclear proliferation, international security, foreign policy and International Relations.
Patrick McEachern is a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, Foreign Service Officer, and author of Inside the Red Box: North Korea’s Post-totalitarian Politics (2010). He has a PhD from Louisiana State University.
Jaclyn O’Brien McEachern is a practicing canon lawyer and author of multiple scholarly articles on the West’s relations with Islam. She has a PhD from The Catholic University of America.