Normalization by Other Means—Technological Infrastructure and Political Commitment in the North Korean Nuclear Crisis Christopher Lawrence, Georgetown University

The 1994 Agreed Framework called for North Korea to dismantle its plutonium-production complex in exchange for civilian light water reactors (LWRs) and the promise of political normalization with the United States. The accord succeeded at rolling back North Korea's nuclear program, but the regime secretly began enriching uranium when the LWR project fell behind schedule. Today, scholars look back at the Agreed Framework as a U.S. offer of “carrots” to bribe the regime, but this framing overlooks the credibility challenges of normalization and the distinctive technical challenges of building LWRs in North Korea. A combiniation of political and technical analysis reveals how the LWR project helped build credibility for the political changes promised in the Agreed Framework. Under this interpretation, the LWR project created a platform for important breakthroughs in U.S.-North Korean engagement by signaling a U.S. commitment to normalization, but its signaling function was undercut when the United States displaced the costs of LWR construction to its allies. The real challenge of proliferation crisis diplomacy is not to bribe or coerce target states into giving up nuclear weapons, but to credibly signal a U.S. commitment to the long-term political changes needed to make denuclearization possible.


Cheater's Dilemma: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Path to War

Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer, University of Oslo

Between the 1991 Gulf War and the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, the Iraqi regime faced a cheater's dilemma: how much should it reveal of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities when each additional revelation made it less likely that the country would be rewarded, while continued denial also prevented the lifting of sanctions. The Iraqi leadership struggled to resolve this dilemma, as elites pursued competing policies and subordinates did not consistently obey Saddam Hussein's orders. These difficulties reflected principal-agent problems that were aggravated by the leadership's initial attempts to deny and cover up Iraq's WMD capabilities. Together, the cheater's dilemma and principal-agent problems explain a range of puzzling Iraqi behaviors that came across as calculated ambiguity to the outside world. These findings offer insights into the incentives and constraints that shape how other authoritarian regimes respond to external pressures to eliminate their WMD, and the extent to which they are willing and able to disclose information about past programs and their past efforts to conceal this information from the outside world.


Partnership or Predation? How Rising States Contend with Declining Great Powers

Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson, Boston University

International relations scholarship overwhelmingly expects that relatively rising states will threaten and challenge declining great powers. In practice, however, rising states can also cooperate with and support declining powers. What explains the rising state's choice of policy? When do rising states support or prey on declining great powers, and why do such strategies vary across time and space? The answer depends on the rising state's broader strategic calculations. All things being equal, a rising state will generally support a declining power when the latter can be used to offset threats from other great powers that can harm the rising state's security. Conversely, when using a declining state to offset such challenges is not a plausible option, the rising state is likely to pursue a predation strategy. The level of assertiveness of support or predation, meanwhile, depends on the declining power's military posture: the stronger the declining state is militarily, the less assertive the rising state tends to be. A review of the strategies adopted by two relatively rising powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, toward a declining Great Britain after 1945, and of a rising United States vis-à-vis a declining Soviet Union in the late Cold War, illustrates how this argument outperforms explanations that focus instead on the importance of economic interdependence and ideology.


Sadat and the Road to Jerusalem: Bold Gestures and Risk Acceptance in the Search for Peace

Shahin Berenji, University of California, Los Angeles

On November 19, 1977, the world watched in disbelief as Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat visited Jerusalem. In one dramatic stroke, Sadat met with Israel's leaders, promised “no more war,” and offered Israel de facto recognition. Recently declassified archival sources provide new insight into why Sadat suddenly made all these concessions and why he chose to initiate conciliation through such a bold move. The historical evidence supports a prospect-theoretic explanation of Sadat's risk acceptance. Sadat never accepted Egypt's loss of the Sinai Peninsula but, unable to recover it either militarily or diplomatically (through U.S. mediation), he became willing to accept greater risks to recoup Egypt's territorial losses. As Sadat grew frustrated with the efforts of Jimmy Carter's administration to reconvene the Geneva Middle East Peace Conference, he sought to accelerate the peace process by abandoning multilateral diplomacy in favor of direct negotiations with Israel. He understood, however, that bilateral talks would fail given Israel's deep suspicion and mistrust of its Arab neighbors. By empathetically responding to its fears and security concerns, Sadat reasoned that he could reassure Israel of Egypt's benign intentions and remove, as he often said, the “psychological barriers” of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Such an approach might help Israel feel secure enough so that its leaders would trade land for peace.


China's Grand Strategy under Xi Jinping: Reassurance, Reform, and Resistance

Avery Goldstein, University of Pennsylvania

China's grand strategy under Xi Jinping is clearly distinctive. It does not, however, fundamentally break with the grand strategy that China has embraced since the early 1990s—one that aims to realize what is now labeled “the dream of national rejuvenation.” Leaders in Beijing have implemented three different approaches to this strategy. In 1992, the approach to rejuvenation followed Deng Xiaoping's admonition for China to hide its capabilities and bide its time. In 1996, Beijing shifted to a more proactive approach, peaceful rise, seeking to reassure others that a stronger and wealthier China would not pose a threat. In 2012, Xi again recast the grand strategy of rejuvenation to realize the Chinese dream. His approach is distinguished by its combination of three efforts: (1) continuing earlier attempts to reassure others about the benign intentions of rising China, (2) moving China from rhetoric to action in promoting reform of an international order that has facilitated China's rise, and (3) resisting challenges to what the Chinese Communist Party defines as the country's core interests. Xi's bolder approach has further clarified China's long-standing international aspirations and triggered reactions abroad that raise doubts about the prospects for his approach to realizing the goal of national rejuvenation.

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