But 38 North analyst warns misstep could mean war
North Korea may be so convinced that its strategic position vs. the US has changed for the better that it might be willing to step back from the brink of nuclear war and settle for “practical equilibrium” with the US.
Robert Carlin, a veteran Korea analyst writing for website 38 North, says that since two successful ICBM launches last July, Pyongyang may have come to the heady conclusion that it has reached the “final stage” in bolstering the nuclear force.
“It has even explicitly laid out a final goal, a “practical equilibrium” with the United States. What that means exactly we do not know, though presumably Pyongyang has something specific in mind,” Carlin wrote in an analysis posted on Tuesday by the specialist website on North Korea.
Carlin believes this may present an opportunity for North Korea and its adversaries “to stabilize the situation, that is, take a first step toward entering into longer-term negotiations that wrestle with the core issues.”
But the former State Department intelligence honcho cautions that a volatile diplomatic landscape and misperceptions on both sides could still lead to catastrophic miscalculation.
“One problem not well understood is that the North Koreans believe recent developments in their nuclear weapons program have boosted them to a level of invulnerability, and that as a result, Washington — whatever it might say — is without options to counter them,” Carlin wrote....MORE