Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies / Edition 1

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New York 2003 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 265 p. Audience: General/trade. New, first edition with mint DJ. Not a ... remainder. "invaluable in thinking through the costs and benefits of engagement and containment, " Fareeed Zakaria, editor, Newsweek mag. : Important addition to scholarship and policy-making community, " Richard Allen, former national security advisor to President Reagan. Victor Cha is professor of gov't at School of Foreign Service, Georgetown Univ. David Kang is professor of gov't at Dartmouth. Read more Show Less

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Overview

The regime of Kim Jong-Il has been called "mad," "rogue," even, by the Wall Street Journal, the equivalent of an "unreformed serial killer." Yet, despite the avalanche of television and print coverage of the Pyongyang government's violation of nuclear nonproliferation agreements and existing scholarly literature on North Korean policy and security, this critical issue remains mired in political punditry and often misleading sound bites. Victor Cha and David Kang step back from the daily newspaper coverage and cable news commentary and offer a reasoned, rational, and logical debate on the nature of the North Korean regime.
Coming to the issues from different perspectives -Kang believes the threat posed by Pyongyang has been inflated and endorses a more open approach, while Cha is more skeptical and advocates harsher measures -the authors together have written an essential work of clear-eyed reflection and authoritative analysis. They refute a number of misconceptions and challenge much faulty thinking that surrounds the discussion of North Korea, particularly the idea that North Korea is an irrational nation. Cha and Kang contend that however provocative, even deplorable, the Pyongyang government's behavior may at times be, it is not incomprehensible or incoherent. Neither is it "suicidal," they argue, although crisis conditions could escalate to a degree that provokes the North Korean regime to "lash out" as the best and only policy, the unintended consequence of which are suicide and/or collapse. Further, the authors seek to fill the current scholarly and policy gap with a vision for a U.S.-South Korea alliance that is not simply premised on a North Korean threat, notsimply derivative of Japan, and not eternally based on an older, "Korean War generation" of supporters.
This book uncovers the inherent logic of the politics of the Korean peninsula, presenting an indispensable context for a new policy of engagement. In an intelligent and trenchant debate, the authors look at the implications of a nuclear North Korea for East Asia and U.S. homeland security, rigorously assessing historical and current U.S. policy, and provide a workable framework for constructive policy that should be followed by the United States, Japan, and South Korea if engagement fails to stop North Korean nuclear proliferation.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Review of Books - Nicholas Kristof
Their book is important. Dealing with North Korea will be one of the central challenges for the U.S. in the coming years.
Chronicle of Higher Education - Michael O'Hanlon
Cha and Kang wrestle with that policy context in their crisp, smart book.
Pacific Affairs - Ruediger Frank
This book is good and extraordinary. It is a delight to read.
New York Review of Books
Their book is important. Dealing with North Korea will be one of the central challenges for the U.S. in the coming years.

— Nicholas Kristof

Journal of Asian Studies
Victor D. Cha and David C. Kang take a step away from emotion-laden debates about North Korea to offer a cool-headed, reasoned, and rational debate on the nature of the North Korean threat and the best policies for dealing with it.
Chronicle of Higher Education
Cha and Kang wrestle with that policy context in their crisp, smart book.

— Michael O'Hanlon

Pacific Affairs
This book is good and extraordinary. It is a delight to read.

— Ruediger Frank

Asian Review of Books - Gordon G. Chang
Nuclear North Korea provides a penetrating analysis of what is probably the world's most dangerous trouble spot.
Survival - Charles L. Pritchard
Victor Cha and David Kang have joined forces to bring us a remarkable and sound presentation of two different strategies on how to deal with a nuclear North Korea. One of the most valuable aspects of their book lies in its composition — a running dialogue and critique of each other's strategy, presented in alternating chapters and culminating in a combined effort in the last two chapters of the book. The refreshing and honest internal evaluation that accompanies solid academic writing makes this work stand out.
World Policy Journal - Robert M. Hathaway
While both authors believe that engagement represents the only rational policy for the United States, they arrive at this conclusion along very different paths. In individually authored alternating chapters Cha and Kang offer differing assessments of the threat posed by the DPRK and the extent to which Pyongyang can be induced to join respectable international society. In the process, they explicitly take issue with each other and engage in something of a public debate on the merits, requirements, and prospects of engagement.
International Affairs - Nicholas Khoo
[T]his book is required reading for anyone who wants a deeper appreciation of what is surely one of the most pressing issues in the post-September 11 world.
Korean Quarterly - Bill Drucker
It is a slow and thoughtful read, navigating past the existing U.S. policymaking, the current media hyperboles, and the politically motivated punditry.
Korea Times
This timely and important book is free of much of the hyperbole that has fettered a more concise course of action for dealing with North Korea. The book not only fills the current scholarly and policy gap with a clear-cut analysis of the policy challenges facing the United States and its allies, but also offers a thorough and provocative assessment for what policies to pursue.
Economist
[Nuclear North Korea] aims to shed fresh light on two of our biggest areas of ignorance: what motivates Pyongyang's extreme hostility to the outside world, and how best to part it from its claimed nuclear 'deterrent'... Msssrs Cha and Kang debate tough versus tender engagement in alternating chapters.
Asian Review of Books
Nuclear North Korea provides a penetrating analysis of what is probably the world's most dangerous trouble spot.

— Gordon G. Chang

Survival
Victor Cha and David Kang have joined forces to bring us a remarkable and sound presentation of two different strategies on how to deal with a nuclear North Korea. One of the most valuable aspects of their book lies in its composition — a running dialogue and critique of each other's strategy, presented in alternating chapters and culminating in a combined effort in the last two chapters of the book. The refreshing and honest internal evaluation that accompanies solid academic writing makes this work stand out.

— Charles L. Pritchard

World Policy Journal
While both authors believe that engagement represents the only rational policy for the United States, they arrive at this conclusion along very different paths. In individually authored alternating chapters Cha and Kang offer differing assessments of the threat posed by the DPRK and the extent to which Pyongyang can be induced to join respectable international society. In the process, they explicitly take issue with each other and engage in something of a public debate on the merits, requirements, and prospects of engagement.

— Robert M. Hathaway

International Affairs
[T]his book is required reading for anyone who wants a deeper appreciation of what is surely one of the most pressing issues in the post-September 11 world.

— Nicholas Khoo

Korean Quarterly
It is a slow and thoughtful read, navigating past the existing U.S. policymaking, the current media hyperboles, and the politically motivated punditry.

— Bill Drucker

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231131285
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/8/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor D. Cha is associate professor of government and D. S. Song—Korea Foundation Chair, Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He is the author of Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle, which won the 2000 Ohira Book Prize. David C. Kang is an associate professor in the department of government and an adjunct associate professor at the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College. He is the author of Crony Capitalism: Corruption and Development in Korea and the Philippines.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction : the debate over North Korea 1
1 Weak but still threatening 13
2 Threatening, but deterrence works 41
3 Response : why we must pursue "hawk engagement" 70
4 Response : why are we afraid of engagement? 101
5 Hyperbole dominates : the 2003 nuclear crisis 128
6 Beyond hyperbole, toward a strategy 161
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2005

    Theoretical examination of DPRK engagement strategies

    In this book Victor Cha and David Kang promise to apply social science to the debate of how to engage with North Korea, and ¿step back from the histrionics [to] offer a reasoned, rational, and logical debate on the nature of the North Korean regime and the policy that should be followed by the United States, Japan, and South Korea¿ (4). Cha calls his position ¿hawk engagement,¿ and it is that as North Korea becomes poorer, more castigated and generally more a vestige of a bygone era, it becomes more likely to lash out with force. Through ¿prospect theory,¿ Cha shows that North Korea is particularly susceptible to ¿double-or-nothing¿ logic, and that preemptive lashing out on its part would not be surprising. He believes, therefore, that North Korea should be engaged to mitigate potential risk-taking behavior by North Korea. Kang, on the other hand, believes that because containment has worked so far, there is no reason to fundamentally change it. Kang takes a more traditionally realist/deterrence approach in that he believes that because the DPRK has no real chance of winning a war against the ROK, it would never launch one. Engagement should be based on the belief that North Korea would like to terminate its rogue status. On balance, Kang¿s view and engagement proposal toward North Korea is more optimistic than Cha¿s. Cha stresses the punitive measures that should be taken against North Korea, should engagement fail to curb its nuclear appetite. Kang, on the other hand, believes that the DPRK is truly trying to reform itself, would like to be a part of the community of nations, and does not touch on issues regarding North Korean belligerence. Kang and Cha do, however, agree on many issues, and they collaborate to write the last two chapters of the book. The most interesting contribution is their view on the future regional stability should the Korean peninsula reunify. They stress that better U.S-Japan-Korean trilateral relations are crucial to regional stability. They reject the notion that a threat must be present for alliances to exist. This strikes me as overly optimistic, and naïve. They countenance such criticism by pointing to the ¿alliance¿ that exists between the U.S. and the U.K., and the U.S. and Australia. Perhaps also taking a page from the continued existence of NATO after the fall of the USSR, they state that such alliances can become ¿permanent unions¿ after the threat disappears because the alliances have identities based on ¿common liberal-democratic values, norms, and institutions¿ (180, 185). Aside from the many problems with such thinking, Cha himself wrote a book on the U.S.-Japan-Korean alliance and showed that Korea and Japan became closer only when the U.S. backed away from its commitment to Asian stability. They answer such criticism with by stating that, ¿The American position Asia should therefore be recessed enough in this new arrangement to impart responsibilities on the allies to consolidate their relationship, but not so recessed that Japan and South Korea choose ¿self-help¿ solutions outside the alliance framework. . .¿ (176) Such an assertion seems based more on hope than solid theory. The dynamic that Cha analyzes in the aforementioned book whereby Korean and Japanese relations improved when American commitment was on the wain existed during the Cold War when a bipolar system was in effect. In today¿s multipolar, or perhaps unipolar, world the same dynamic may not, and probably does not, exist. More thinking on alliance behavior in a multipolar environment needs to be done before we can begin to speculate on the best American options in a post-unified Korean Asia.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2004

    Examining North Korea

    This book is OK, but not all that exciting. The writers use a lot of International Relations jargon and the material is just kind of flat. The book is set up in a model so that there is a debate, but except for a few issues, there really isn't much debate. The writers repackage each others positions and at times, it's hard to tell who is speaking. I guess I just expected a little more.

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