Reporting From the Brink

“Brinkmanship, according to Thomas Schelling, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who pioneered the theory of nuclear deterrence, is the art of “manipulating the shared risk of war.” In 1966, he envisaged a nuclear standoff as a pair of mountain climbers, tied together, fighting at the edge of a cliff. Each will move ever closer to the edge, so that the other begins to fear that he might slip and take both of them down. It is a matter of creating the right amount of fear without losing control. Schelling wrote, ‘However rational the adversaries, they may compete to appear the more irrational, impetuous, and stubborn.’ But what if the adversaries are irrational, impetuous, and stubborn?” The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos went to Pyongyang to get a North Korean perspective on the escalating nuclear standoff, and to try answer the question of the moment: Could Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump goad each other into a devastating confrontation?

+ NatGeo: Six Things You Didn’t Know About North Korea.

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