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Power and Primacy

Abridged and Updated Edition

A.B. Abrams

Today the Asia-Pacific region stands on the verge of major change, with centuries of western dominated regional order being seriously challenged and quite possibly nearing its end. The emergence of a potential new order dominated by regional rather than extra-regional powers - an «Asia for the Asiatics» in the words of Japan’s pan-Asian scholars - means it is now more than ever essential to understand the history of the current western-dominated system, the full implications should it continue and the nature of the West’s intentions towards the region.

This book undertakes the task of elucidating the complex and little-known history of western intervention in the Asia-Pacific, providing information critical to understanding contemporary developments

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Chapter 19

North Korea: Nuclear Weapons and Ideology


The surest deterrent to American action is a functioning nuclear arsenal.1

— Conclusion Reached in 2005 DoD Funded Study by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute and the U.S. Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.

History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.2

— U.S. President RONALD REAGAN on the need for a capable deterrent

Alongside the Korean War, the post-Cold War era has been the most influential era on modern North Korean ideology and on the conduct of the country’s foreign policy. An understanding of the events that took place during this period are critical to understanding North Korea today, providing a background to its current antagonism with the Western Bloc and its investments in the development of nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.

Although the Soviet Union was dissolved in December 1991, its presence as an international superpower capable of challenging the Western Bloc had by that time long since ceased to exist. From 1989 it was clear that the global balance of power had shifted and a unipolar Western led world order was emerging. The Soviet led Warsaw Pact military alliance had begun to disintegrate and the USSR had stagnated and been economically and militarily outmatched by the Western Bloc, with whom it sought compromise and from whom it sought aid. As the American Foreign Affairs ←673 | 674→journal stated in 1991: ‘It has been assumed that the old bipolar world would...

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