Roland Bleiker
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Dealing with a nuclear North Korea
Conventional and alternative security scenarios
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North Korea's demonstrated nuclear ambition does substantially increase the risk of a nuclear arms race in the region and an escalation of the security situation with possible global consequences. A critical approach to Korean security must challenge the equation of realist ideology with objectivity and commonsense. The confrontational approach is exemplified by US foreign policy towards North Korea. The more tolerant South Korean position of the last few years suggests a willingness to normalize relations with North Korea and integrate it into the world community. But integration and normalization are terms that indicate processes of adjustment to one standard norm; a desire to erase difference in favour of a single identity practice. The immediate objective of engagement, as articulated by the Sunshine Policy, may well be to avoid an open conflict or a sudden collapse of North Korea, but the underlying rationale remains a desire to annihilate the other side.

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