Foreign policy is messy--and also incredibly interesting. Every day, decisionmakers must formulate and modify the US’s stance towards states like Russia, China, Germany, Iran, Syria, and Israel and tackle cross-cutting issues that touch on human rights, climate change, poverty, human insecurity, nuclear arms proliferation, and economic collapse. In Contemporary American Foreign Policy: Influences, Challenges, and Opportunities, authors Richard Mansbach (Iowa State University) and Kirsten Taylor (Berry College) examine modern foreign policy problems from a variety of angles, not just through the lens of a so-called “national interest.” In each chapter, they focus on today’s most pressing contemporary challenges, exploring their origins and backgrounds. They systematically shed light on the competing forces that influence them, outline the various policy options available to decisionmakers for addressing them, and explore the potential consequences of those policies. Throughout, they also look at foreign policy at all levels: international, society, government, “role”-specific, and individual.
Chapter 4: America and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
America and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
Kim Jong-un and his generals
Xinhua/KCNA via Corbis
Tensions ran high between America and North Korea in the spring of 2013, as evidence accumulated that North Korea was preparing a third nuclear weapons test. The year had begun with North Korea threatening a “higher level” nuclear test to follow those conducted in 2006 and 2009, along with long-range missile launches and threats that its weapons would target U.S. soil. These warnings came after United Nations (UN) sanctions imposed following a North Korean missile test. That missile, believed to have placed a satellite in orbit, threatened international security for what it represented—North Korea’s progress toward developing long-range missiles that might ...