America Is Not Going to Denuclearize North Korea

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

On November 28, after a 74-day weapons-testing hiatus, North Korea launched its third intercontinental ballistic missile. From a technical standpoint, the ICBM test was impressive, exceeding the performance of North Korea’s two prior long-range missile tests on a number of metrics. Just as importantly, it laid bare a fundamental flaw in the Trump administration’s approach to Kim Jong Un’s nuclear ambitions: the notion that there remains any window of opportunity in which the United States can keep him from acquiring a mature nuclear capability deliverable by ICBM.

The notion that North Korea has not yet achieved these most advanced capabilities has helped fuel the administration’s apparent interest in preventive military strikes against Pyongyang. The reality, however, has long been that Kim