Date(s) - 10/23/2018
9:00 am - 10:00 am

SureStay Plus Hotel Airport Plaza - by Best Western

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Please RSVP for this upcoming National Security Forum

NEW VENUE -SureStay Airport Plaza
(Best Western)
1981 Terminal Way – Reno, NV

Bad Decisions, Bad Consequences:
The Perils of Misreading North Korea

A Presentation and Discussion With

Robert Carlin

Visiting Fellow Stanford University, Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC)

Tuesday Oct 23rd 9 am at SureStay Airport Plaza (Best Western)

“Serious study about North Korea is rare, not because it is impossible to undertake, but because it requires a rigorous, systematic approach that most commentators are not prepared to entertain. Contrary to the common wisdom, there is not a lack of good evidence on North Korea. Rather, there is a lack of mining tools – and miners.” (Robert Carlin, insight on his timely NSF talk on a very timely topic)

The National Security Forum is honored to have Robert Carlin, one of this country’s most accomplished “miners,” share his knowledge, experience, and insight on one of our nation’s most vexing national security challenges, “the North Korean problem.” Drawing on over forty years of engagement in Korean issues both in and out of government, Carlin has immersed himself in the myriad of perspectives that comprise the North Korean situation as it waxed and waned as a critical national security issue through nine U.S. Administrations. Through countless hours of official negotiations and unofficial discussions with diplomats, scientists, educators, and others from the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, AKA North Korea), he has bridged gaps in our understanding and debunked many a myth about the state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula.

Robert first traveled to the DPRK in the winter of 1996 during the country’s devastating famine and subsequently returned to the county over 30 times in both official capacities through the U.S. State Department and as part of Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). He worked in North Korea from 2002-2006 as a senior political advisor to the Korean Economic Development Organization (KEDO), the multilateral organization tasked with constructing nuclear power reactors in the North as part of the 1994 US-DPRK Agreed Framework. The U.S. withdrew from the Framework in 2005 leaving one of many promising negotiations in shambles and abandoning billions of dollars in U.S. investments. In 2010 Robert returned to the DPRK as a member of a CISAC delegation and was among the first westerners to visit the famed uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyon, the heart of the North’s nuclear weapons program for many years.

“The problem of North Korea is not unique to one political party. After over 40 years living and working this issue I am convinced our inability to proceed effectively is almost baked into our national character.” (Robert Carlin’s perspective)

Armed with both a miner’s stamina and intuition, Robert Carlin regularly shares his insight with policy makers, journalists, educators, and the public. As Administrations change and policy makers come and go, the U.S. has demonstrated an inability to go beyond the conventional wisdom, insisting that the DPRK was a “failed state” that merited either extreme measures or none at all. During the last two decades (as Robert reminds me), there have been many hinge points in U.S.-DPRK relations that, had the U.S. had a better understanding of the situation at the time, could have preempted our current situation. He has witnessed both the promise and pitfalls of U.S. political and military engagement on the Korean Peninsula and promises to bring wisdom based on decades of experience to the NSF, shedding light on what has become a never-ending U.S. national security challenge.

Mr. Robert Carlin, is a Visiting Fellow at Stanford’s CISAC. He has a Masters degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University and a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from Claremont McKenna College. Among his many accomplishments described above, he also authored in 2013 an updated revision to Don Oberdorfer’s classic history of the Korean Peninsula, “The Two Koreas.” This tour de force book is highly recommended reading for the diligent NSF student. For a bit lighter fare with perhaps equal insight, Bob recommends NSFers indulge in reading the “Inspector O” series by James Church. These engaging detective novels set in the mysterious world of North Korea tell tales of intrigue and mystery that could only have been penned by one who knows this world well.

A full breakfast will be served ($20 Members, $30 Non-Members, and $10 for students with ID and military personnel in uniform; free for WWII Veterans). We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some breakfast, coffee, and conversation. Breakfast service and registration open at 8:00 a.m.

Please RSVP below. Membership forms will be available at the forum, though you can also access the application form by clicking HERE. For your convenience, we accept cash, check and credit card payments for both the breakfast and membership fees.


Bookings are closed for this event.