Conflict and Cooperation
giStrat | Jul 2017

Options on North Korea

Updated: Sep 22
  • UPDATED: Sep 22

    Update: Options On North Korea

    This is an update to a July analysis. This analysis is derived from giCompute advanced analytics cloud based platform for estimating the decision calculus of the major groups and actors regarding the options on North Korea. giCompute incorporates the principles of game theory, statistics and decision science to calculate the positions stakeholders adopt and more importantly the impact of their actions on the overall outcome. Using this process, we estimated the overall utility values of the various factions and stakeholders involved in the options regarding North Korea. These calculations helped us estimate the degree to which stakeholders would support and influence the range of outcomes related to options on North Koreas. We then forecasted a most likely pathway. The results are driven by expert aggregated data through giCompute distributed survey technology. Below are the key results.

  • PUBLISHED: Aug 16

    Options on North Korea

Update: Options On North Korea

Overview

This is an update to a July analysis. This analysis is derived from giCompute advanced analytics cloud based platform for estimating the decision calculus of the major groups and actors regarding the options on North Korea. giCompute incorporates the principles of game theory, statistics and decision science to calculate the positions stakeholders adopt and more importantly the impact of their actions on the overall outcome. Using this process, we estimated the overall utility values of the various factions and stakeholders involved in the options regarding North Korea. These calculations helped us estimate the degree to which stakeholders would support and influence the range of outcomes related to options on North Koreas. We then forecasted a most likely pathway. The results are driven by expert aggregated data through giCompute distributed survey technology. Below are the key results.

Most Likely Outcome is a Diplomatic Solution  

giCompute results indicate the most likely outcome will eventually evolve from status quo conditions to a diplomatic solution. Under status quo conditions, North Korea continues to conduct missile and nuclear tests. In return, the United States presses for more sanctions and attempts to disrupt North Korean missile tests. Under these conditions, giCompute analytics indicates the parties will likely engage in secret and open diplomacy, likely resulting in the dual track of increased public pressure by the United States on North Korea, while decreasing sanctions on North Korea or some type of actions that discretely de-escalates the stand-off. The second most likely outcome is continuation of the status quo, with potential for increased sanctions.  A nuclear exchange is highly unlikely.

Diplomatic Solution Requires Reduction in Sanctions in Return for a North Korean Testing Freeze

Spatial bargaining results indicate two possible outcomes within the zone of bargaining between the United States and North Korea. The first option is the diplomatic track whereby the U.S. abandons sanctions pressure, commits to diplomacy and as a trade-off North Korea freezes further development related to its nuclear program (seen on the graph on the (1,2)). The second possible outcome is the United States limits sanctions while as a trade-off North Korea maintains its nuclear weapons and advanced ballistic missile but does not develop ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles) technology (seen on the graph at (2,1)).  Spatial bargaining analysis reveals that these two options produce better results than the current status quo conditions from the self-interested perspective of both Kim Jung Un and President Trump.

Determining Factors

The factors determining the outcomes pertaining to options regarding North Korea are U.S. security concerns, regional security concerns, the U.S. image from the perspective of the Trump administration, and North Korea’s security concerns.

Friction

The pathway that generates the most friction between stakeholders is potential open diplomacy between North Korea and the U.S. The most divergent stakeholders driving this friction remain China and Kim Jong Un. Kim Jong Un prefers regional security concerns not be met so that he can continue to use it as leverage for his own political survival. In contrast China prefers most regional security concerns pertaining to North Korea be met as part of its desire for stability on its border.  China prefers some of the U.S. concerns be addressed to avoid confrontation. In contrast Kim Jong Un seeks to weaken the American image while raising its security concerns through actions such as continued ballistic missile testing.

Reliability Testing: Monte Carlo Simulations

Monte Carlo simulations were conducted across 40 alternative futures with a 90% variance probability and a change of ±10% in stakeholder influence. In each simulated alternative future, we randomized 1 factor and 1 factor option while keeping the remaining factors constant. Monte Carlo simulations indicate a 52% chance Kim Jong Un is on a path toward de-escalation through secret or public diplomacy. The simulations also show an 87% chance the United States will either attempt to de-escalate the situation through either secret diplomacy or public diplomacy between the Trump administration and the North Koreans

 

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Estimating the Likelihood of Options on North Korea with giCompute Analytics Platform

Summary

Summary of Results

This analysis is derived from giCompute advanced analytics cloud based platform for estimating the decision calculus of the major groups and actors regarding the options on North Korea. giCompute incorporates the principles of game theory, statistics and decision science to calculate the positions stakeholders adopt and more importantly the impact of their actions on the overall outcome. Using this process, we estimated the overall utility values of the various factions and stakeholders involved in the options regarding North Korea. These calculations helped us estimate the degree to which stakeholders would support and influence the range of outcomes related to options on North Koreas. We then forecasted a most likely pathway. The results are driven by expert aggregated data through giCompute distributed survey technology. Below are the key results.

Most Likely Outcome: Status Quo Conditions

giCompute results indicate the most likely outcome is status quo conditions. Under this outcome the conflict remains frozen with continued sanctions and attempts at disrupting North Korea’s ballistic missile program. The second most likely outcome is the Trump administration meeting with North Korean leadership as a means of de-escalating tensions in the region. The least likely outcome is a nuclear exchange.

Determining Factors

The factors determining the outcomes pertaining to options on regarding North Korea are U.S. security concerns, regional security concerns, and the U.S. image from the perspective of the Trump administration.

Friction

The pathway that generates the most friction between stakeholders is a potential Trump administration meeting with North Korean leadership. The most divergent stakeholders driving this friction are China and Kim Jong Un. Kim Jong Un prefers regional security concerns not be met so that he can continue to use it as leverage for his own political survival. In contrast China prefers most regional security concerns pertaining to North Korea be met as part of its desire for stability on its border. China prefers some of the U.S. concerns be addressed to avoid confrontation. In contrast Kim Jong Un seeks to weaken the American image while raising its security concerns through actions such continued ballistic missile testing.

Reliability Testing: Monte Carlo Simulations

Monte Carlo simulations were conducted across 40 alternative futures with a 90% variance probability and a change of ±10% in stakeholder influence. In each simulated alternative future, we randomized 1 factor and 1 factor option while keeping the remaining factors constant. Monte Carlo simulations indicate a 60% chance Kim Jong Un is on a path toward non-nuclear conflict. The simulations also show a 70% chance the United States will either attempt to de-escalate the situation through either secret diplomacy or public diplomacy between the Trump administration and the North Koreans. Because Kim Jong Un is a veto player regarding the options on North Korea, the overall Monte Carlo results suggests the overall options on North Korea will result into status quo conditions whereby the conflict remains frozen, sanctions continue, and attempts at disrupting North Korea’s ballistic missile program continue.

 

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About giCompute

About the giCompute Decision Analytics Platform

In our increasingly complex world, decision-makers in governments, corporations, law firms, educational institutions, healthcare organizations, and the news industry increasingly turn to data-driven algorithms to solve problems. Rules based systems, also known as formal modeling, allow us to anticipate individual, group and institutional behavior so long as the theory or formal rules describing the behavior are valid along with the relevant assumptions. Outcomes are driven by multiple factors that vary according to stakeholders’ priorities and levels of influence. Despite advances in data collection and computing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), most of the world’s information remains uncaptured when it comes to the daily decisions by people and organizations. We can overcome these barriers by capturing context specific data through the aggregation of stakeholder preferences and testing of factors driving any issue.

Results

Estimated Payoff Results for Options on North Korea

Below is a table of the estimated utility payoffs score (net benefits) for each of the major groups and stakeholders regarding options on North Korea. The scenario closest to the current reality (status quo) is indexed at a score of zero. Any payoff score greater than zero is a better option than the status quo, while any payoff score less than zero is worse than the status quo. giCompute generates these group and stakeholder payoffs (i.e. utility value or net benefit) by first capturing stakeholder preferences across the factors defined in the issue setup. giCompute then sifts through the full combinations of possible payoff scores to identify the true payoff that corresponds to each scenario outcome.

Veto Influence Rankings: Below is the likely outcome for veto players is calculated by using the standard definition in game theory which assumes that if a veto player takes a position other than the weighted aggregate, the default outcome is status quo, i.e. no change.

Results: giCompute results indicate the most likely outcome is status quo conditions. Under this outcome the conflict remains frozen with continued sanctions and attempts at disrupting North Korea’s ballistic missile program. The second most likely outcome is the Trump administration meeting with North Korean leadership as a means of de-escalating tensions in the region. The least likely outcome is a nuclear exchange.

Determining Factors

Below are the defined outcomes and the factors necessary for each outcome pathway to occur.

Results: The factors determining the outcomes pertaining to the issue of options on North are U.S. security concerns, regional security concerns, and the US image from the perspective of the Trump administration.

 

Friction

Cost of Friction

The cost of friction indicates the degree of disagreement between the stakeholders and groups across each scenario.

Results: The pathway generating the most friction between stakeholders is a potential Trump administration meeting with North Korean leadership.

Convergence

Degree of Stakeholder Convergence

The chart below shows the range of utility payoffs for the stakeholders across the various defined scenarios. Misalignment of the bars and colors within the bars indicates disagreement between stakeholders. Alignment indicates agreement.

Results: The most divergent stakeholders driving this friction are China and Kim Jong Un. Kim Jong Un prefers regional security concerns not be met so that he can continue to use it as leverage for his own political survival. In contrast China prefers most regional security concerns pertaining to North Korea be met as part of its desire for stability on its border.  China prefers some of the U.S. concerns be addressed to avoid confrontation. In contrast Kim Jong Un seeks to weaken the American image while raising its security concerns through actions such continued ballistic missile testing.

 

Reliability Testing

Reliability Testing: Monte Carlo Simulations

We provide two methods to assess the reliability of the model results.  Choosing Randomize by Level under Sensitivity Type will activate a Monte Carlo computation while choosing Closest Pair by Level activates a sensitivity analysis computation. The user can select various parameter options for Monte Carlo and sensitivity analysis computations.  Number of futures determines how many simulations are run. Influence Percent Variance selects how much the influence of a stakeholder can vary under randomization. Factor level determines how many factors are randomized. A selection of 0 holds it constant. Factor option level selects the number of factor options that are randomized.  Shock probability selects the probability that randomization occurs.

Monte Carlo simulations were conducted across 40 alternative futures with a 90% variance probability and a change of ±10% in stakeholder influence. In each simulated alternative future, we randomized 1 factor and 1 factor options while keeping the remaining factors constant.

Results: Monte Carlo simulations were conducted across 40 alternative futures with a 90% variance probability and a change of ±10% in stakeholder influence. In each simulated alternative future, we randomized 1 factor and 1 factor option while keeping the remaining factors constant. Monte Carlo simulations indicate a 60% chance Kim Jong Un is on a path toward non-nuclear conflict. The simulations also show a 70% chance the United States will either attempt to de-escalate the situation through either secret diplomacy or public diplomacy between the Trump administration and the North Koreans. Because these positions are divergent and Kim Jong Un is a veto player, the most likely outcome remains the status quo where sanctions on North Korea continue and the US attempts to disrupt the ballistic missile program.

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