How would Pyongyang’s development of the capability to target the United States with nuclear weapons influence North Korea’s foreign policy? I argue that it would cause more dangerous crises than those of the last decade, and predict that these crises would eventually cause Kim Jong Un and his senior military associates to experience fear of imminent nuclear war or conventional regime change. I show that the effect of such fear would depend on whether or not Kim believes that he has control over the occurrence of these events. I argue that if he experiences fear and believes that he has some control over whether these extreme events actually happen, he will moderate his nuclear threats and behave more like other experienced nuclear powers. But if he experiences fear and believes that he has no control, he will likely pursue policies that could cause nuclear war. I use this insight to prescribe and proscribe policies for Washington, Seoul and the regional community.
Asian Journal of Peacebuilding, 2013, Vol 1, Issue 2, p. 179-195