Conclusion: Deterrence and Beyond

Michael Cohen, Sung Chull Kim

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The North Korean nuclear challenge is now best thought of as a deterrence problem rather than a denuclearization one. What North Korean provocations can South Korea and the United States deter? What would China’s role be in light of its rivalry with the United States? Can the NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) regime be salvaged in the aftermath of North Korea’s evasion? What are the best policies for regional actors to realize their objectives, peace on the Korean Peninsula, and more broadly, regional stability and international security? North Korea’s nuclear path has entered a “competency trap” and thus is not likely to reverse itself in the near future. According to James March and Johan Olsen, a competency trap is where old institutions resist accommodation of newer effi cient elements.1 In North Korea, the competency trap takes place in the redistribution of resources, bureaucratic inertia, and leaders’ security concerns. The few who have taken advantage of the expansion of nuclear weapon development face few incentives to yield their gains. Organizational and bureaucratic structures are in line with the security strategy that is based on nuclear weapons and supporting delivery systems
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNorth Korea and Nuclear Weapons: Entering the New Era of Deterrence
    Place of PublicationUSA
    PublisherGeorgetown University Press
    ISBN (Print)9781626164529
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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