Strategic discussions about North Korea’s proliferation comprise a number of dimensions. The core assumption underlying this article is that the ideational aspects of North Korea’s decision making are important and give rise to a range of strategic considerations. This is not to underplay the strategic, materialist elements in North Korea’s provocative and at times belligerent behaviour. Rather, it is to argue that Australia is well placed to concentrate on the social dimensions of strategic discussions. As a less important middle power, a regional player, yet geographically distant from the threat, Australia is in a position to provide a point of differentiation from other, more entrenched players such as the United States or the Republic of Korea (ROK). A good starting point for developing this sort of engagement is to enhance non-state, track two cooperation between the two countries, which has been stalled since the early 2000s. In this article I will first canvass the ongoing debate taking place in Australian academic and policy circles regarding Australia’s place in the world. Of particular concern, is the question how Australia should balance its most important strategic relationship – that with the United States – with geographic and economic realities. I then sketch some of the limitations of current thinking, concentrating particularly on discourse that portrays North Korea as a rogue state and finish with a discussion of how non-state activity can act as a helpful precursor to more constructive relationships between states, and the types of creative engagement strategies currently taking place in the United States, despite the volatile political environment.
Field of Research
169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
940399 International Relations not elsewhere classified
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