North Korean Strategic Culture in Post-Cold War Era: Identifying the Strategic Culture Behind North Korea’s Policy Making
This paper will examine the factors that make North Korea’s strategic behaviour distinct in nature from other states and whether it “qualifies” to have its own strategic culture. Specifically, it will look the “uniqueness” of how North Korea’s ways of utilising its military-diplomacy in order to achieve its political ends. The military-centric regime of North Korea is often known for its peculiar politico-military nature. Pyongyang repeatedly exercises its grand strategic aims through the game of brinkmanship and blaring out coercive messages, while reacting almost eccentrically to anything that they perceive as a threat to their regime. Furthermore, their isolationist nature also adds to the complexity which exacerbates the image of North Korea’s regime as incomprehensible, unpredictable and dangerous. However, their strong sense of insecurity seems to be what justifies their behaviour. This paper will study North Korea’s strategic decision making process through the concepts analysed by Alistair I. Johnson’s theory of strategic culture (1995). Through this, the study will be able to test whether a distinct North Korean strategic culture exists. While North Korea’s strategic ends (ensuring security of the state) are no different to that of other states, this study aims to shed light on how Pyongyang “thinks” and what it values as means of achieving their security.
Keywords: North Korea, Strategic Concepts, Strategic Culture, Military, International Relations, Politics
Mr Ryo Hinata-Yamaguchi
PhD Candidate, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy