Stigmatized simultaneously as part of the “Axis of Evil,” North Korea and Iran are intricately linked in their nuclear and missile projects, requiring the United States to take more specific, linkage-oriented and realistic approaches toward each state. This paper elaborates on how the Bush Administration in its second term may deal with the WMD problems of North Korea and Iran. At issue are: each country's nuclear development program and respective relationship with the United States; the DPRK-Iran collaboration on WMDs; limitations of international regimes in tackling the issue; dilemma of opting for regime-change and preemptive strikes; and the relevance of multilateralism. The key purpose of this article is to determine the variables involved in the issue to find what coercive diplomacy options are available to the United States and appropriate to each country. Because the U.S. war against terrorism is not widely shared, it runs the risk of becoming alienated. Indeed, the Iraq situation exemplifies how the United States cannot satisfy its national interest simply through unilateral military means alone. Therefore, in dealing with North Korea and Iran, the United States should harmonize its coercive diplomacy with international cooperation. And yet, it should also be remembered that “multilateralism only” will not suffice to solve the puzzle. Contingency planning and gradual pressure acceptable to regional parties concerned should be simultaneously implemented.
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