The 1993 North Korean Nuclear Crisis: A Foreign Policy Analysis


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Virginia Tech


In this paper I apply the Rational Actor model to the 1993-1994 North Korean Nuclear Crisis. I begin with two hypotheses: 1) North Korea attempted nuclear armament because of its perception of threat from South Korea and the United States; 2) North Korea attempted nuclear armament because it wanted to use its nuclear program as leverage to obtain economic assistance from the United States. I conduct a diplomatic historical analysis based on the Rational Actor model to determine which was North Korea's primary objective, and conclude that the primary objective of North Korea was obtaining economic concessions, but that threat perception did seem to play a role in the decision to start the nuclear program. In this process, I show that the Rational Actor model was insufficient in the analysis and that it must be complemented by cultural factors, "thickening" the rationality.



Nuclear Weapons, NuclearProgram, DPRK, Track II Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, James Carter, North Korea