ABSTRACT

In the early twenty-first century, Korea, South and North, has become the scene for a “new Cold War” (Reifer 2001; Johnson 2000). With the hardening of the US war on terrorism, US President George W. Bush’s labeling of North Korea as a part of an “axis of evil”1 is seen as a challenge not only to the Korean people of both the North and the South, but also to nations throughout the region. Has North Korea been pushed into this position by virtue of the demise of the USSR and the ongoing alliance between the US and South Korea? Since the great powers see the possession of an independent nuclear capability as a crucial component of their power, lesser nations might be forgiven for reaching the conclusion that this capability might equally give them greater autonomy in international affairs. Yet, at the same time, they know that such a course is likely to make them the target of surrounding nations and the focus of US security interests. Therefore, regional security policy and strategy, especially in regard to the Korean peninsula, now more than at any period since the 1970s, needs to be reassessed and revised.