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Care and patience seen as helpful in dealing with Korean crisis

December 8, 2017 | Students

By Rachel Kelley

Rachel Kelley

Care and patience seen as helpful in dealing with Korean crisis

Throughout this semester, I have learned a lot through my Vinson Fellowship at the International Center under Dr. Rusty Brooks. For my research topic, I focused on American foreign policy towards North Korea, analyzing the different policies of each presidential administration in order to determine which has been the most effective and how that will impact our future relationship with North Korea.

To begin, I narrowed the range of administrations that I planned to examine, starting with George H.W. Bush, as it was during his term that the first North Korean nuclear crisis occurred, through President Trump. I explored academic journals and books that discussed the policies of each president and how certain events or people changed them. In addition, my nuclear policy studies last summer in South Korea allowed me to meet politicians and policymakers whose opinions helped me to reflect on North-South relations and understand that the United States must always consider South Korea’s position when crafting its own policies.

So far, my research has indicated that strict deterrence, in combination with non-aggression agreements, are the most effective method of containing North Korea. North Korea’s nuclear arsenal provides its sole sense of security against the outside world and leaders there are reluctant to lose both a deterrent and what would be their main defense in the event of an attack or invasion. However, as we have seen with the Soviet Union, self-reliant socialist states who spend excessively on defense will eventually collapse, and I believe the same thing could occur with North Korea. The country has exhibited signs of a failing social system, including malnutrition, yet the government has increased missile testing and military spending. Thus, we must continue to limit economic support to North Korea, yet not provoke North Korean leaders while negotiating for either a regime change or remaining patient and waiting for the government to collapse upon itself.


A senior from Marietta, Rachel Kelley is majoring in International Affairs and French, with a minor in Korean Language and Literature. She has completed fellowships with UGA faculty in Bali, South Korea, New York and Washington, D.C., and studied in France and  England. Her research interests include exploring international business and its connection to cultural competency and understanding. She hopes to become a foreign service officer or analyst upon graduation.