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Comparing The Foreign Policy Of Presidents George W. Bush And Bill Clinton

2988 words - 12 pages

Comparing the Foreign Policy of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton Towards North Korea

Since its creation after the Korean War in 1950, North Korea, also known as the Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK), has caused many problems for the United States. North Korea has, for instance, broken treaties and even gone so far as to threaten the use of nuclear weapons. Naturally, different presidents have dealt with North Korea in different ways. Take Eisenhower for example, he actually threatened the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea in 1953 (obviously before North Korea had nuclear capabilities). Many presidents ignored North Korea all together, and some tried to ...view middle of the document...

However, Clinton very quickly figured out he would have to deal with North Korea when fears starting to arise that they were generating materials for nuclear weapons with their small nuclear reactor in Yongbyon. Clinton, in response to these fears, decided to start military training exercises, known as Team Spirit, in South Korea. This flexing of military muscle prompted North Korea to threaten to pull out of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). After some negotiations North Korea agreed to pull back on their threat of withdrawing from the NPT. This led Clinton to reward North Korea for its reversal by not considering any trade sanction or military actions against the DPRK. Things started growing worse though as the fear that North Korea had nuclear capabilities grew. Leading the fears along was the fact that the dictator of North Korea at the time, Kim Il Sung, was blocking nuclear inspectors from reaching the nuclear reactors they wanted to inspect. Furthermore, it was later concluded by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that North Korea did indeed have nuclear capabilities. These new developments brought the United States to the brink of war with North Korea. Before shots, or rockets in this case, could be fired an agreement known as the Agreed Framework was signed on October 21, 1994. Among other things in this treaty, North Korea agreed to shutdown their old reactor and submit to inspections by the IAEA. In return the United States would help fund the building of two so-called light water reactors, which do not produce as much plutonium as the older reactors that the DPRK had. Also the Unites States would ship oil to North Korea until the new reactors were completed in order to compensate for the loss of power after shutting down the old reactor (previous paragraph came from Henriksen, 29-38).

The events that transpired between the United States and the DPRK early in Clinton's administration are rich in Foreign Policy decision making. One can pick out many examples of ideas such as bilateral diplomacy. In his book, American Foreign Policy: Past, Present, and Future, Glenn P. Hastedt mentions that bilateral diplomacy is, "[a] form of diplomacy in which two states interact directly with one another" (291). From this definition it is apparent that in fact much of the dealings with North Korea during the Clinton years were of a bilateral-diplomatic form. Additionally, a form of military coercion is also apparent, although the effectiveness can be debated. This apparent coercion came in the form of Clinton's resumption of the Team Spirit training exercises. Clearly these training exercises, which took place along the borders of North Korea, were meant to intimidate the DPRK; attempting to show North Korea that if they tried anything we would be ready to attack. Yet the only effect these training exercises lead to was the threat from the DPRK to withdraw from the NPT. This threat made it clear to the United States that a show of...

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