On October 16th, United States Institute of Peace Director for China Programs, Jennifer Staats and former Deputy Commander, US Forces Korea, Lt. General (Ret.) Jan-Marc Jouas discussed options to address the North Korean crisis and ideas for potential areas of cooperation or coordination between the U.S. and China.
Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board member and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discussed the North Korea crisis and her experiences as a top U.S. diplomat with Minister Kyung-wha Kang (Republic of Korea) and Victor Cha (Senior Adviser & Korea Chair, CSIS).
Albright on North Korea
Secretary Albright opened with her thoughts on how the relationship between Washington and Pyongyang has evolved in recent years. She emphasized that the relationship between the two countries has never been easy, and described how the U.S. and Kim Jong Il had discussed production of nuclear materials, Japanese and South Korean actions in the region, and whether U.S. was staying true to its promises. When Albright served as US ambassador to the United Nations, North Korea was threatening to pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, when she served as Secretary of State, the U.S. and North Korea managed to sign a mutual “no-hostile-intent agreement”, which she believes was a remarkable step forward. According to Secretary Albright, the Washington-Pyongyang relationship took a turn when the Bush administration opted for a more aggressive and unwavering approach towards the North Korean regime.
Hopes for Future Diplomacy
Albright and Minister Kang both agreed on the direction that the U.S. and the international community should pursue when dealing with Kim Jong Un. Both believe that the pursuit of diplomatic strategies should be a top priority; Albright added that the U.S government should aim to “lower the temperature” and calm its rhetoric in order to get a conversation started. Albright is a staunch believer that there is room for peaceful diplomacy, however she acknowledges that time is running out. When asked about whether economic sanctions were working on North Korea, Albright responded by reiterating the need for a concerted effort from the international community to achieve multilateral consensus. The former Secretary of State also believes that the Chinese and Russians should be involved due to their proximity and economic interest in the region. Although the impact of sanctions is not immediately apparent, Albright is optimistic about their potential to pressure the North Korean government holistically.
Secretary of State: The Female Perspective
As the first female Secretary of State, Albright recalls how she managed to overcome the social pressures that came with the position. “I had more problems with the men in our own government”, Albright said jokingly. During discussions at the principals committee, Albright found herself taking over by demanding respect and speaking up. In addition, she assured the public that her gender did not prevent her from dealing with foreign diplomats. She stated, “if they were to have foreign policy discussions with the U.S., they had to go through me.” With Minister Kang present, Secretary Albright took the opportunity to share some advice. She assured her that if she is knowledgeable about the issues, speaks up early in meetings, surrounds herself with the best minds, and listens to outsider opinions, her life as the top South Korean diplomat will be full of successes and accomplishments.
Partnership for a Secure America is excited to announce a new partnership with the Embassies of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for 2017 titled The Worldview Series: Baltic States. This is the third installment of PSA’s program, The Worldview Series which aims to build deeper understanding of the important decisions American policy-makers face regarding U.S. foreign policy. The Embassies and PSA have designed this program to improve congressional insight on the Baltic States to better inform U.S. foreign policy decisions on Capitol Hill.
The series features off-the-record events with leading transatlantic experts from government, think tank, and business arenas. Focusing on a holistic understanding of the Baltic States’ histories, relations with the United States, and security situation, this program aims to build understanding of the important decisions American policy-makers face regarding US-Baltic relations.
The Embassies of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are educational participants in the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act, authorized by the U.S. Department of State.
Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board member and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discussed the role of the United States in the world today with Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) at the Capitol Hill National Security Forum. Albright discussed bipartisanship, the role of the United States in the world, China, and Russia and NATO.
Albright on Bipartisanship
Madeleine Albright began by emphasizing the importance of bipartisanship in resolving national security threats. She explained that bipartisanship is essential for success, calling it the “hallmark of American foreign policy.” On this point, she acknowledged the important role of congressional staffers in advancing bipartisan solutions. Most of all, Albright recommended staffers form relationships and travel on delegation trips with other staffers in order to advance bipartisan solutions. She pointed towards her own friendship with Senator Jesse Helms, which allowed her to produce agreements on foreign policy. Albright finished her remarks by stating that bipartisan solutions would “make the Senate great again.”
America’s Role in the World
Albright promoted the need for a rule-based world order as it prevents the world from devolving into chaos. She explained the consistent involvement of the United States in creating these rules, but she warned that not following through with our self-created rules can weaken our position and image in the international community. When questioned on the topic of advancing human rights in the world, Albright responded, “Why should we worry about people in far away places?…Because our way of life depends on what happens in these other countries,” expressing the necessity of human rights in global peace and security.
Secretary Albright emphasized the dangers of not following internationally-accepted rules by pointing towards China, whose actions in the South China Sea are eroding the rule-based world order. China’s island-building, which was deemed illegal, has created more instability in the region. She highlighted that the instability caused by China’s actions supports the need for a rule-based order throughout the world.
Russia and NATO
On the topic of Russia, Albright reaffirmed the importance of NATO as leverage against Russia. With the rising threat that Russia poses to liberal alliances and institutions, Albright underscored that NATO is necessary for defending against armed attacks, but also for advancing the common goals of liberal democracies. She pointed towards Ukraine and Georgia, which have gained confidence in promoting the goals and values of liberal democracies simply by being affiliated with NATO, despite lacking membership.
Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board member Paula Dobriansky, former Under Secretary of State, spoke at the Capitol Hill National Security Forum on June 23rd alongside Kristen Silberberg, Charles Kupchan, and Julianne Smith. They came together to discuss ‘Restoring Transatlantic Alliances.’ The group examined the liberal world order, the EU, and the recent decision of President Trump to pull out of the Paris Agreement. The panelists often came to agreement, but also expressed many differences in opinions, especially on the Paris Agreement.
Liberal World Order
From the start, the panelists were in consensus that it was not the end of the “post-World War Two world order.” However, they also agreed that this order was indeed being challenged. Dobriansky, specifically, spoke on Russia’s recent aggression, explaining how Putin is challenging liberal values, alliances, institutions, and ideals. On this point, Kupchan argued that external threats have always been present and that the greater threat are new internal weaknesses. The panelists agreed that the system was under a great amount of strain and that the United States should promote dialogue between other states in order to work together on fixing the mounting issues.
The European Union
The panelists all expressed concern over the future of American influence within the European Union, especially due to the instability it is currently facing as a result of Brexit, mass immigration, and terrorism. Brexit was the greatest concern among the panelists, as the United Kingdom had consistently been the biggest champion of American interests. Smith suggested that, following Brexit, the United States should establish trade agreements between the European Union and the United Kingdom. On this point, Silverman expressed the need for trilateral talks until Brexit is officially carried out. Dobriansky acknowledged that the European Union needs reform, pointing to the inflexibility of its regulations as a point of contention between member states.
Dobriansky Disagrees on Paris Climate Agreement
Regarding the Paris Climate Agreement. the panelists were split over the implications of the U.S. withdrawal. Smith expressed concern that the withdrawal of the U.S. from such a popular agreement could cast doubt on our relationship with the European Union. On this point, Kupchan voice his concern over the effect our withdrawal will have on Europe’s willingness to advance the American agenda in the future, since climate change is an area of great concern for the European Union. Dobriansky, however, pointed to the Kyoto Protocol of 1992, which the United States did not accept, explaining that our relationship with Europe was not harmed, especially in matters of security. Despite some disagreement, the panelists agreed that the implications of our withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement remain to be seen.
Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board members William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense, and Richard Lugar, former Senator (R-IN), recently spoke at the Hoover Institution on the future of North Korea, suggesting proposals on how to approach the North Korean threat. The PSA Advisory Board members joined Michael Auslin, Resident Scholar and Director of Japan Studies at AEI, on the bipartisan panel. The panelists agreed that Kim Jong Un is a rational and successful leader who will not attack unprovoked. They also suggested that this rationality will allow the United States to take a diplomatic approach to North Korea. Diplomacy requires cooperation between South Korea, Japan, Russia, and, most importantly, China, which will be the greatest challenge in this approach.
The Kim Regime
First, the panelists discussed the Kim regime, agreeing on Kim’s rationality and success as a leader. Perry, specifically, warned against calling Kim Jong Un ‘crazy’ and ‘irrational.’ Michael Auslin supported this claim, noting Kim’s successes in stabilizing the economy, developing new technology and weaponry, and securing the future of the regime more so than in the past. The panelists agreed that Kim’s main objective is to secure his regime’s power, which indicates that Kim is rational and understands that an unprovoked attack would be suicidal for both his regime and North Korea.
Diplomacy with North Korea
Coming to a consensus on the rationality of the Kim regime, the panelists noted that the current conditions are ideal for a diplomatic strategy. Perry noted that military action can no longer eliminate the nuclear program due to mobile missiles and secrecy within the country. He suggested that the President should appoint a special envoy to meet with North Korea, but proposed that the ideal diplomatic package must include China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia. Lugar suggested that the first steps in reaching diplomatic negotiations should be weakening the regime through economic means and helping North Korean citizens become better informed, noting that a better informed public would open up opportunities to work together in ways different from diplomatic negotiations. When questioned about Dennis Rodman’s role in diplomacy, Lugar joked that Rodman’s unlikely friendship could be considered this era’s ‘ping-pong diplomacy.’
Challenges of Diplomacy
The panelists agreed that one of the greatest challenges with diplomacy would be finding common ground with the various countries in the region, specifically China. Lugar compared the challenging nature of future negotiations with the Kim regime to negotiations in the past between the United States and the Soviet Union. Auslin highlighted that the United States must work harder to understand the different goals, perspectives, and capabilities of the different countries, but suggested that they can likely find common ground on nuclear nonproliferation. Perry, however, warned that the influence of the United States may be weakening as a result of our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership as it will allow China to take on a more dominant role within the region.
Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) is pleased to announce a new grant award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY) to continue its bipartisan congressional education and training program. The two-year grant will support PSA’s Congressional Partnership Program (CPP), providing expert seminars on current national security and foreign affairs issues, formal negotiation training, and bipartisan policy workshops.
“We are pleased to continue PSA’s important efforts on Capitol Hill thanks to the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s generous support. As the United States faces unprecedented challenges from around the globe, we must restore a commitment to bipartisan cooperation beyond ‘the water’s edge’ to protect our nation and the core principles which unite us,” said Nathan Sermonis, PSA Executive Director.
Since 2009, the CPP has convened hundreds of congressional staff members, equipping foreign policy and security advisers to assess global challenges, build common ground across political parties, and achieve U.S. national interests. Carnegie Corporation of New York has provided support since the program’s inception.
Carnegie Corporation of New York is America’s oldest grant making foundation, established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation’s work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.
Nuclear arms control is a critical pillar of America’s national security. Negotiated agreements to reduce the threat posed by the Cold War nuclear arms race have always enjoyed strong bipartisan support in the U.S.
In 1982, President Reagan proposed that the U.S. and the Soviet Union reduce their nuclear arsenals by thousands of warheads each. This proposal became the basis for the 1991 START I treaty. Since that time, every U.S. President, in concert with Russia, has advanced President Reagan’s legacy through steady and prudent reductions of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals, including the 2002 Treaty of Moscow, signed by Presidents Bush and Putin.
On April 8, 2010, Presidents Obama and Medvedev signed the new START treaty, agreeing to further reduce both sides’ arsenals and bring into force a new regime for inspections and verification. This was a necessary and appropriate step toward safeguarding our national security. Without the new START, the U.S. has no legally binding ability to conduct inspections of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, and would be in a far weaker position to lead the world in stopping nuclear proliferation.
Now is the time for a thorough and balanced national discussion about nuclear arms control and nonproliferation. But we must remember that a world without a binding U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons agreement is a much more dangerous world. We, the undersigned Republicans and Democrats, support the new START treaty because we believe that it:
- Enhances stability, transparency and predictability between the world’s two largest nuclear powers, which together possess about 95 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons
- Contains verification and inspection measures essential to U.S. national security and nuclear threat reduction as it relates to Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons
- Addresses our Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations and therefore assists in gaining cooperation from other countries on key nonproliferation priorities
- Helps strengthen broader U.S.–Russia cooperation, which is important in responding to proliferation challenges from Iran and North Korea
- Does not inhibit our ability to maintain an effective and reliable nuclear arsenal
- Does not constrain our ability to develop and deploy missile defense systems
Madeleine Albright Secretary of State 1997-2001
Howard Baker US Senator (R-TN) 1967-85
Samuel Berger National Security Advisor 1997-2001
Linton Brooks Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration 2002-07
Harold Brown Secretary of Defense 1977-81
Frank Carlucci Secretary of Defense 1987-89
Warren Christopher Secretary of State 1993-97
William Cohen Secretary of Defense 1997-2001
John C. Danforth US Senator (R-MO) 1977-95
Kenneth M. Duberstein White House Chief of Staff 1988-89
Chuck Hagel US Senator (R-NE) 1997-2009
Lee Hamilton US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99; Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board
Gary Hart US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87
Rita E. Hauser Chair, International Peace Institute
Carla Hills US Trade Representative 1989-93
Nancy Kassebaum-Baker US Senator (R-KS) 1978-97
Thomas Kean Governor (R-NJ) 1982-90; 9/11 Commission Chair
Richard Leone President, The Century Foundation
Donald McHenry US Ambassador to the UN 1979-81
Sam Nunn US Senator (D-GA) 1972-96
William Perry Secretary of Defense 1994-97
Thomas Pickering Under Secretary of State 1997-2000
Colin L. Powell Secretary of State 2001-05
Warren Rudman US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92; Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board
Alan Simpson US Senator (R-WY) 1979-97
George Shultz Secretary of State 1982-89
Theodore Sorensen White House Special Counsel 1961-63
John Whitehead Deputy Secretary of State 1985-88
Timothy E. Wirth US Senator (D-CO) 1987-93
Frank Wisner Under Secretary of State 1992-93
This project is made possible by the generous support of Ploughshares Fund and The Connect U.S. Fund.