Heitkamp: The threat from North Korea

U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp released the latest episode of her podcast, “The Hotdish,” interviewing two experts on foreign policy and national security: Scott Snyder, a lead expert on Korea with the Council on Foreign Relations, and Michèle Flournoy, the head of the Center for a New American Security and a former top U.S. defense official.

To better understand how the present day threat from North Korea evolved, the discussion begins with a look at the historical nature of the United States’ relationship with North Korea: the Korean War, the U.S. military presence on the Korean Peninsula, alliances with South Korea and Japan, North Korea’s isolation from the international community, and the development of nuclear weapon and ballistic missile capabilities over time.

Heitkamp then focused the conversation on the various diplomatic and military options the United States has available to deal with the threat, and the risks involved with each.

“North Korea poses the most urgent national security threat currently facing the United States, and we need a tough, smart national security strategy to keep North Dakotans and Americans safe,” said Heitkamp. “On this episode of ‘The Hotdish,’ I hope listeners gain a better understanding of how the North Korea diplomatic and national security challenge has evolved over several decades, so that we may think in new and informed ways about the best path forward. It’s clear from my conversations with these experts that there is no easy fix, but there are steps we can take right now to promote stability and protect American lives. Michèle Flournoy and I agreed on the need to appoint a special envoy to engage all stakeholders at the highest possible level – and that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has served both Republican and Democratic presidents and commands respect among our allies and adversaries alike, would be an ideal fit for such a role. Moving forward, we must do everything possible to achieve a peaceful resolution to this conflict.”

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