By: Brian Choquette
In the lead-up to the much-publicized Trump-Kim summit held in Singapore on June 12, the question of how North Korea could be convinced to de-nuclearize was often raised. Among the most prominent voices to weigh in were U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump himself, each advocating for the “Libya model”—an adopted catch phrase that seemingly means different things to different people. Yet, no matter the definition, is Libya a good corollary for North Korea?
The Libya Model – conflicting messages
Bolton referred to the “Libya model” as the 2003 deal whereby longtime Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi renounced his nuclear ambition in exchange for the promise of sanctions relief, while Pence and Trump conflated the 2003 deal with the 2011 U.S. and NATO-led intervention. By portraying the “Libya model” as regime overthrow—if Kim Jong-un did not renounce his nuclear weapons—the case study on nuclear disarmament became a threat of invasion and regime change. North Korea, on the other hand, sees the “Libya model” as a justification for keeping and growing their own nuclear arsenal to prevent just such an overthrow by external forces. To them, the Libyan example is what happens when a country does give up a nuclear program, rather than what happens when it does not.
Read the full article here in the Journal of International Affairs
Brian Choquette is currently a graduate student in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, pursuing a master’s degree in International Security Policy and is an intern at the EastWest Institute.