In this episode of Machiavelli in the Ivory Tower, hosts Sarah and Hanna speak with Dr. Siegfried Hecker, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and current Distinguished Professor of Practice at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS). Their conversation centers on Dr. Hecker’s forthcoming book, Hinge Points: An Inside Look at North Korea’s Nuclear Program (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2023). Dr. Hecker offers insights into the DPRK’s dual-track strategy of diplomacy and nuclear development and highlights missed opportunities when Washington might have been able to channel Pyongyang toward the elimination of nuclear weapons and did not. He shares insights gleaned from his many visits to North Korea and reflects on both the future of US policy toward the DPRK and the importance of facilitating engagement between scientists and diplomats.
Topics discussed include:
- The DPRK’s dual-track strategy of diplomacy and nuclear development
- Hinge points: missed opportunities in US policy towards the DPRK
- Reflecting on the most consequential hinge points
- Reasons for US policy failures
- In-person engagement with proliferation-averse actors
- Why a singular focus on DPRK denuclearization has been problematic
- What next for US policy on the DPRK?
- What scientific and policy communities can learn from each other
Episode 5 is also available on Spotify