Behold! The North Korea problem can be solved by agreeing to a common goal that thug-state Russia and North Korea-enabling China can agree on, and by welcoming North Korea into the community of nations by offering concessions!
An entirely new approach is needed. Instead of trying to increase pressure, especially unilateral pressure, on Pyongyang, Washington should make a concerted effort to reduce tensions with Kim Jong-un’s regime. The Obama administration also should endeavor to create a united front with China and Russia regarding policy toward North Korea. Taking such steps, however, would require a willingness on Washington’s part to make major concessions.
What is entirely new about Carpenter's proposal?
It doesn't matter what the foreign policy threat is. Carpenter's solution is always that we should back off and let our enemies run free, confident that they will fail on their own or that someone else will solve the problem for us.
Any common position on North Korea that must include Russia and China will inevitably mean a nuclear North Korea--Carpenter is already on record as being fine with that--under the rule of murderous rulers who are loyal to China and at least hostile to Japan and America.
And concessions are unlikely to get North Korea to halt their propaganda that America has been cunningly clever in lulling the world through sixty years of not invading or attacking North Korea into believing that America isn't about to invade North Korea at any moment!
Why would concessions work now when they haven't in the past?
Reducing our troop strength in South Korea and even pulling most of our troops off of the DMZ are just the most clever of our ruses to conceal our steadily improved capacity to invade!
Our policy has not changed North Korea's goals or regime.
But at least we've slowed them down.
At least we've made China pay for North Korea rather than having us subsidize them.
At least South Korea has grown relatively stronger militarily, to North Korea.
And at least we haven't ratified the legitimacy of a gulag with a UN seat that North Korea is.
I'll repeat my policy preference: talk, talk; die, die.
I should be a natural fan of the Cato Institute. But Carpenter's presence there makes me wary of anything they put out on other subjects.
Yeah, that's enough music for now, lads.
UPDATE: Strategypage provides an overview of North Korea.