Sherman Calls for Carrots and Sticks

Ambassador Wendy Sherman, speaking in her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday morning, told senators that she believes carrots and sticks applied with “enormous persistence” remain the way forward in dealing with North Korea.

Sherman was being grilled by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the position of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, where she is set to taking over from William J. Burns, who recently moved up to become Deputy Secretary of State.

Acknowledging that North Korea has “pretty much chosen” to remain an international pariah, Sherman explained of past policy she helped formulate under President Bill Clinton, “I think we learned what every administration since has learned; working with North Korea is very frustrating, extremely difficult. They are elusive, they do not keep their commitments, they are often hostile, they are oppressive to their people.”

“I’m quite clear this is one tough, difficult, thorny problem,” she added, noting, “The choices that the president and the secretary have to make are probably even tougher than the ones that we made in the late ’90s.”

If confirmed, Sherman will become the third-highest ranked member of the State Department. Unlike in her role under former President Clinton, however, she will have a limited role in North Korea policy.