Articles

11 Items

North Korea's heir apparent observed military drills with his father, heralding a growing public profile for Kim Jon-un as he takes on a more prominent role in the reclusive nation.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Collapse of North Korea: Military Missions and Requirements

    Authors:
  • Bruce W. Bennett
  • Jennifer Lind
| Fall 2011

The upcoming transition in North Korea’s leadership will not inevitably bring about a collapse of government, but the potential consequences of such an event necessitate advance and combined planning. It is imperative that China, South Korea, and the United States develop a coordinated response, as each of these countries could take destabilizing action to protect their individual interests. A relatively benign collapse could require 260,000 to 400,000 troops to gain control of North Korea’s nuclear weapons, prevent humanitarian disaster, manage regional refugees, and ensure stable U.S.-Chinese relations. Civil war or war on the peninsula would only increase these requirements.

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Divining Nuclear Intentions: A Review Essay

    Authors:
  • William C. Potter
  • Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova
| Summer 2008

Although projections of nuclear proliferation abound, they rarely are founded on empirical research or guided by theory. Even fewer studies are informed by a comparative perspective. The two books under review—The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation: Identity, Emotions, and Foreign Policy, by Jacques Hymans, and Nuclear Logics: Alternative Paths in East Asia and the Middle East, by Etel Solingen, are welcome exceptions to this general state of affairs, and represent the cutting edge of nonproliferation research. Both works challenge conventional conceptions of the sources of nuclear weapons decisions and offer new insights into why past predictions of rapid proliferation failed to materialize and why current prognoses about rampant proliferation are similarly flawed. While sharing a number of common features, including a focus on subsystemic determinants of national behavior, the books differ in their methodology, level of analysis, receptivity to multicausal explanations, and assumptions about decisionmaker rationality and the revolutionary nature of the decision. Where one author emphasizes the importance of the individual leader’s national identity conception in determining a state’s nuclear path, the other explains nuclear decisions primarily with regard to the political-economic orientation of the ruling coalition. Notwithstanding a tendency to overinterpret evidence, the books represent the best of contemporary social science research and provide compelling interpretations of nuclear proliferation dynamics of great relevance to scholars and policymakers alike.

Journal Article - Washington Quarterly

The Day After: Action Following a Nuclear Blast in a U.S. City

Failure to develop a comprehensive contingency plan, such as the one proposed here, and inform the American public, where appropriate, about its particulars will only serve to amplify the devastating impact of any nuclear attack on a U.S. city

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Illicit Activity and Proliferation: North Korean Smuggling Networks

    Author:
  • Sheena Chestnut
| Summer 2007

Policymakers and scholars agree that North Korea’s nuclear program heightens the risk of nuclear transfer to the global black market. Althuogh the North Koreans engage in illicit activity primarily to acquire hard currency, broader economic and ideological factors may also contribute to a decision to export nuclear materials. North Korea also risks losing control over its smuggling networks as it relies more and more on nonstate criminal actors. The United States, then, must seek to develop and employ new strategies to pursue and dismantle these networks as well as offer economic incentives to the regime. In the case of North Korea, countersmuggling and counterproliferation could go hand in hand.