This study examines the interface between the US security policy and North Korea nuclear programme. The thrust of the study however is to find out if the US government perceived North Korea nuclear programme as a threat to its national security on the one hand and part of its war on terror, between 2000 and 2008 on the other. The study also investigated whether the US government security policy on North Korea nuclear programme relegates multilateral intervention on nuclear weapon development within the same period. Relying on the realist approach which tackles politics for what it is without moralizing it, qualitative method and qualitative descriptive method of analysis, and relying on secondary sources, the study argues that the US government perceived North Korea nuclear programme as a threat to its national security as well part of its war on terror, between 2000 and 2008 and as such orient its security policy on North Korea nuclear programme to relegate multilateral intervention on nuclear weapon development. Accordingly, the study maintains that the US government should really curtail the rate at which it seeks, foster and protect what it regards as its national interests as this accounts for North Korea’s nuclear enrichment.



1.1 Background Of study

The posture of the US foreign and defense policies especially in the post-Cold War era of international politics has demonstrated blatantly and abundantly a tendency to seek power, increase power and to demonstrate power (Morganthau, 1973). More importantly, the 9/11 terrorist attack did transform the way America government think about their foreign and defense policies. In fact, there have been remarkable changes in U.S defense and nuclear weapons policy following the 9/11 terrorist attack. These changes in U.S nuclear weapon policy were announced in two official documents that were released by the Bush’s administration in 2002. Both documents, according to Intriligator (2003), were influenced, in part, by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. The first of these documents is the U.S Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) issued by the U.S Department of Defense which expressively states that “A combination of offensive and defensive and nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities is essential to meet the deterrence requirements of the 21st century” (cited in Intriligator, 2003:2). The second of these documents is the National Security Strategy of the United States of America (NSS). Issued by the Office of the National Security Advisor to the President in September, 2000, the document reveals that there are plans to ensure that no nation could rival U.S military strength. It proclaims the doctrine of U.S preemption, where it “cannot let our enemies strike first” and gives arguments for preemption. It notes that for “centuries, international law recognized that nations need not suffer an attack before they can lawfully take action to defend themselves against forces that present an imminent danger of attack.” (Intriligator, nd: 2).

Thus, influenced mostly by the latter document, President George W. Bush, on June 1st, 2002, at West Point, set forth a new doctrine for U.S security policy. According to him,

The successful strategies of the cold war era are ill-suited to national defense in the 21st century. Deterrence means nothing against terrorist networks; containment will not thwart unbalanced dictators possessing weapons of mass destruction. We cannot afford to wait until we are attacked. In today’s circumstances, Americans must be ready to take ‘preemptive action’ to defend our lives and liberties (Galston, 2002: np).

With this, George W. Bush not only introduced what has since been widely known as “Bush Doctrine”, but has also made it an official part of U.S policy. Therefore, US defense/strategic policy under George W. Bush, as aptly described by Falk (2002) implies striking first, not in a crisis, but on the basis of shadowy intentions, alleged potentials links to terrorist groups, supposed plans and projects to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and anticipations of possible future dangers.

Meanwhile, the US government, even before the 9/11, appeared to have been committed to unilateral military solution to the problems of terrorism and acquisition and possible use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Hence, in the aftermath of the 11 September terrorist attacks, the United States found justification to harass, intimidate, attack and dethrone regimes suspected of either harboring terrorists, amassing weapons of mass destruction or colluding with the known terrorist organizations. These states were variously labeled by the Bush administration as “terrorist states”, “axis of evil”, “rogue states”, among others and therefore proclaimed its determination to attack “foes in anticipation of hostile acts” and to carry out these attacks “unilaterally, presumably without prior authorization from the United Nations Security Council” (cited in Wirtz and Russel, 2003: 117). True to its threat, the administration of Bush preemptively and unilaterally attacked Iraq in 2003, dethroning its leader- Saddam Hussein and installing another government which is believed to be pliable to the government on the United States. However, despite the avalanche of criticisms and condemnations that have trailed the US unilateralism and hegemonism in the aftermath of the Cold war, the US government, particularly the administration of George Bush, did maintain unequivocally that the menace of terrorism as well as the potential dangers posed by the accumulation and the possible use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) by the “rogue states” has made the resort to preemption unquestionably desirable.

As for the North Korea, various diplomatic efforts have been underway, in the last 25 years, to grapple with the North Korean nuclear issue in terms of whether to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons or to disarm its assumed nuclear weapons capability. At different times, the instruments to achieve these objectives have included an international treaty (the NPT), a regional nuclear-free zone (the NSDD) and a bilateral agreement between the US and North Korea. In the end, none of these diplomatic efforts and agreements has been fully successful, although, in different degrees, they have helped to delay or constrain – sometimes very significantly – North Korea’s nuclear weapons efforts (Niksch, 2002). The current diplomatic effort involves a fourth variation – a Six Party multilateral agreement or perhaps a package of bilateral agreements stitched together in an overall multilateral framework. As with previous efforts, the future success or failure of the Six Party Talks is uncertain.

In crafting their approaches to the nuclear issue, the US and other powers have struggled to come to grips with Pyongyang’s ultimate intentions. For years, North Korea watchers have debated whether Pyongyang views nuclear weapons as indispensable to the regime’s survival and therefore non-negotiable, or whether it sees its nuclear assets as a bargaining chip to be traded away for political and economic benefits necessary to sustaining the regime. The historical record suggests that the answer is both, and the emphasis that Pyongyang places on one or the other varies with domestic conditions and external circumstances (Henneka, 2006). On the one hand, the time and energy that North Korea has invested in developing its nuclear weapons capability, allied to its willingness to repeatedly violate nuclear agreements, strongly suggests that North Korean leaders deeply believe that some kind of nuclear hedge – or at least the appearance of a credible nuclear hedge – is essential to regime survival. Pyongyang sees itself as a besieged and beleaguered state, surrounded by more powerful enemies, untrustworthy allies, and a successful southern competitor. To this end, as articulated by Henneka (2006), if North Korea is ever going to reform itself and survive in the long run, it must find respite from external pressures and perceived threats in which case, nuclear weapons are the ultimate defence. Therefore, as long as outside powers believe that it has a nuclear deterrent they are – in Pyongyang’s view – more likely to leave North Korea alone and less likely to pursue hostile policies that could provoke a confrontation in which such weapons are used. On the other hand, North Korea has demonstrated that it does respond to international inducements and pressures to limit its nuclear programme. In the past, Soviet diplomacy, backed by promises of nuclear power assistance, persuaded North Korea to join the NPT, and US diplomatic efforts convinced North Korea to implement IAEA inspections. Later, Washington and Pyongyang negotiated a complex bilateral agreement that froze North Korea’s plutonium production facilities and established a process for the eventual elimination of these facilities. With a combination of carrots and sticks, Washington has been making enormous diplomatic efforts to convince Pyongyang to open up a secret underground facility and to accept a moratorium on long-range missile tests (Niksch, 2002). Be that as it may, diplomatic efforts in the past have constrained, but not eliminated North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

Against the background of the foregoing, the study critically assesses the US security policy and North Korean nuclear programme, between 2000 and 2008. The study also examines the US defense policy in terms of the North Korean nuclear programme jeopardizes US national security as well as her crusade against international terrorism with the same period.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Diplomatic efforts oriented towards grappling with the attempts by North Korean government to acquire nuclear weapons and develop its ballistic missile capabilities have witnessed both success and failure. During this period, four different approaches have been variously tried. First, beginning in the 1980s, the US-led efforts to use pressures and inducements to convince North Korea to adhere to the 1968 Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on the one hand, and accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection of its nuclear facilities and materials, on the other. In December 1985, North Korea acceded to the NPT and, after significant prevarication, accepted international inspections in April 1992. The implementation of the inspection agreement however collapsed following North Korean government refusal to cooperate with the IAEA to verify plutonium production prior to 1992, a situation compounded when Pyongyang threatened to withdraw from the NPT in March 1993.

Second, in December 1991, North and South Korea entered into a bilateral agreement on ‘denuclearisation’ which included restrictions on nuclear activities beyond those specified in the NPT. Unfortunately, this agreement was not implemented as a result of disagreements between Seoul and Pyongyang over the number and type of bilateral inspections necessary to verify it.

Third, consequent upon threat by North Korean government to pull out from the NPT in March 1993, the US and North Korea in October 1994 concluded a bilateral agreement: the Agreed Framework. The Agreed Framework called for an ambitious undertaking to freeze and eventually dismantle North Korea’s plutonium production facilities and account for its plutonium stocks in exchange for interim supplies of heavy fuel oil and an alternative nuclear energy project, as well as improved bilateral relations with Washington. For nearly a decade, the Agreed Framework halted North Korean production of additional plutonium, but it did not end North Korea’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the Agreed Framework collapsed amid diplomatic acrimony arising from public revelations in October 2002 that North Korea was pursuing a secret programme to produce weapons grade uranium. North Korea however revived its plutonium production facilities in December 2002 and withdrew from the NPT in January 2003, arguing that it had already given the requisite 90-day notice when it announced its original intent to withdraw in March 1993.

Finally, the US has, since the collapse of the Agreed Framework,  promoted a fourth effort to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue – through Six Party Talks between the US, Russia, China, Japan, and North and South Korea. These are intended to secure a multilateral agreement for North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme in exchange for security assurances and political and economic benefits. This is in line with the present US national security strategy which states that “the US may not deter the types of threats that are emerging today, such as those created by rogue nations or terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction” (Woolf, 2008: 9-10). Consequently, the US government has sought to preempt these threats through persuasive diplomacy, and attacking the adversaries before they can attack the US, its allies and interests.

The link between the US national security policy and North Korean nuclear programmes has been a subject of intellectual discourse and considerable efforts have been made by scholars such as Niksch (2002), Henneka (2006), Boureston and Russell (2009), Niksch (2006), Chanlett-Avery (2012), Pritchard (2005), Ur-Reham (2010) and so on to examine the threats of North Korean nuclear programmes to the US national interests/security. Despite the forgoing inquiries, the extant literature has suffered from important shortcomings. This is because the existing research in this area has not satisfactorily explained whether the US government perceives North Korea Nuclear Programme as a threat to its national security. Of much importance, however, is the fact that the existing inquiries have failed short of evaluating adequately whether the US government perceive North Korea Nuclear Programme as part of its war on terror. Finally, adequate attempts have not been made to explore the link between the US government security policy on North Korea Nuclear Programme and multilateral intervention on nuclear weapon development.

In the light of the above, attempt is made, therefore, to critically examine the US national security policy and North Korean nuclear programmes, between 2000 and 2008 in context of the understated research questions:

  • Did the US government perceive North Korea Nuclear Programme as a threat to its national security, between 2000 and 2008?
  • Did the US government perceive North Korea Nuclear Programme as part of its war on terror, between 2000 and 2008?
  • Did the US government security policy on North Korea nuclear programme relegate multilateral intervention on nuclear weapon development, between 2000 and 2008?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to critically examine the interface between the US security policy and North Korea nuclear programme. However, the study is set to achieve the following specific objectives:

  • To examine whether the US government perceives North Korea nuclear programme as a threat to its national security, between 2000 and 2008.
  • To ascertain whether the US government perceives North Korea nuclear programme as part of its war on terror, between 2000 and 2008.
  • To investigate if the US government security policy on North Korea nuclear programme relegates multilateral intervention on nuclear weapon development, between 2000 and 2008.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This research work has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the study interrogates the link between the North Korea nuclear programme and threat to the national security; between the North Korea nuclear programme and the US government war on terror; and between the US government security policy on North Korea nuclear programme and multilateral intervention on nuclear weapon development.

Practically, the study will be of interest and immense importance to the Nigerian government, the organs of the United Nations and other people, groups and organizations interested in American hegemony and unilateralism in this 21stcentury. The issues will not only help to enhance understanding of American defense and foreign policy in the 21st century, but will also provide valuable information/data that will assist global actors in articulating potent policies that will help to address the US government -North Korean government face-off over nuclear programme.

Again, by examining, in its entirety, the North Korea nuclear programme, the study will constructively highlight how it poses a threat to the US government national security on the one hand and how the US government security policy on North Korea nuclear programme relegates multilateral intervention on nuclear weapon development on the other.

Finally, the study by addressing the research questions, clarifying issues, facilitating understanding and stimulating enlightened intellectual discourse will not only be a further contribution to knowledge and a source for further research but will equally chart a new intellectual course in the study of US hegemony and unilateralism in this 21st century.

1.5 Literature Review

The thrust of this review is to ascertain how writers have tried to explain the link between the following: North Korea nuclear programme and threat to the US national security; North Korea nuclear programme and the US government war on terror; and US government security policy on North Korea nuclear programme and multilateral intervention on nuclear weapon development. This is with a view to locating the gaps in the literature. The implication of this, therefore, is that our research questions will generally guide the review.

Did the US government perceive North Korea nuclear programme as a threat to its national security, between 2000 and 2008?

There is no doubt that scholars have oriented their intellectual energies towards explaining the US national security and the North Korean nuclear programme. To this end, Intriligator (2003) maintained that the national Security Strategy of the United States (NSS) places major emphasis on preemption and calls for it rather than deterrence as the fundamental basis of national security, such policy, of course, is a violation of the UN system that was set up in large part to prevent precisely such preemption. According to the writer, the United Nations forbids a member state from taking military action against another member state unless it has itself been attacked or it has the sanctions of the Security Council. To this end, the writer contends that the US violation of international law in its attack on Iraq was as much a violation as Saddam Hussein was in his attack on Kuwait. Again, the writer fails to provide specific sections of international law or UN Charter that uphold that preemption amounts to violation of law.

In the view of Niksch (2002), North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has been an immediate foreign policy issue facing the United States because of North Korea’s refusal to carry out its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other nuclear accords it had signed. According to the writer, North Korea has constructed nuclear reactors and a plutonium reprocessing plant at a site called Yongbyon. U.S. and other foreign intelligence assessments have concluded that North Korea probably has acquired enough weapons-grade plutonium for the manufacture of at least one nuclear weapon. The United States and North Korea signed an agreement on October 21, 1994, that offers North Korea a package of benefits in return for a freeze of North Korea’s nuclear program. Benefits to North Korea include: light water nuclear reactors totaling 2,000 electric megawatts; shipments of “heavy oil” to North Korea.  However, the pace of implementation of the Agreed Framework has been very slow, according to the writer, and instead of the original target date of 2003, it is estimated that completion of the light water reactors will not take place until well beyond 2010. The United States has faced several policy problems since the signing of the Agreed Framework, including securing money annually to finance heavy oil shipments to North Korea, suspicions of clandestine North Korean nuclear activities, and North Korea’s development of long range missiles.

Similarly, Wirtz and Russel (2003) have noted that the Bush administration developed new guidelines to govern the use of force in combating emerging terrorist adversaries or “terrorist states.” The writers maintained that by advocating preventive war and preemption, especially as a possible response to Iraq’s failure to fulfill its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions to eliminate its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and associated infrastructure following the Gulf War, the Bush administration is generally depicted if not being on the wrong side of international law, then pushing the limits of what is generally considered to be constructive international behavior. To the duo, the apparent effort to legitimize preventive war and preemption is often depicted as creating an intolerable precedent when it comes to other enduring conflicts. They, therefore, concluded by wondering whether the Bush administration decision to undertake preventive war would shape the overall tenor of international relations. That is, whether it would signal a new respect for international law, or just a growing reliance on the use of force in world politics.

In a similar vein, Thomas (2004) criticizes America for preferring “to conduct massive bombing campaigns against other states without much fear of casualties to American forces.” He therefore, contends that the United States has done this time and time again, despite the necessity of it, the justness of the cause, or the civilian casualties incurred. He states that “Washington wants other states to trust its noble intentions, but the record of U.S. military interventions in Vietnam, Iraq, Panama, Afghanistan, and other places would give rise to doubts.” In addition to the suspicions many in the global theater have developed concerning America’s benevolent intentions, the writer also believes that there is also a growing awareness of its  insensitivity to other cultures and values.                                                                                                     In line with the foregoing contention, Galston (2002) upholds that the invasion of Iraq based on the new Bush doctrine of preemption meant not only the most fateful deployments of American power since World War II, but also an end to the system of international institutions, laws and norms that Americans have worked to build for more than half a century. To this effect, the writer believes that this revolution in international doctrine is justified and wise.  For the writer, rather than continuing to serve as first among equals in the postwar international system, the United States has acted as a law unto itself, creating new rules of international engagement without the consent of other nations. In his judgment therefore, this new stance would ill serve the long-term interests of the United States. In the first place, the United States is a signatory to (indeed, the principal drafter of) the United Nations Charter, which explicitly reserves to sovereign nations the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense, but only in the event of armed attack. Unless the administration establishes Iraqi complicity in the terrorism of 9-11, it cannot invoke self-defense, as defined by the charter, as the justification for attacking Iraq. Furthermore, the writer insists that the broader structure of international law creates additional obstacles to an invasion of Iraq. Though such law contains a doctrine of “anticipatory self-defense,” there must be shown a necessity of self-defense, instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation. In this regard, the concept of anticipatory self-defense was too narrow to support an attack on Iraq: The threat to the United States from Iraq is not sufficiently specific, clearly enough established or shown to be imminent, the writer contends. In sum, he avers that with preemptive war in Iraq, the Bush administration has shifted its focus from stateless foes to state-based adversaries, and from terrorism in the precise sense to the possession of weapons of mass destruction. Each constitutes a threat. But they are not the same threat and do not warrant the same response. It serves no useful purpose to pretend that they are seamlessly connected, let alone one and the same, be believes.                                                                                                                                                             In another development, Niksch (2006) maintained that North Korea’s decisions at the end of 2002 to restart nuclear installations at Yongbyon that were shut down under the U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework of 1994 and to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and its multiple missile tests of July 4, 2006, create a foreign policy problem for the United States. Restarting the Yongbyon facilities opens up a possible North Korean intent to stage a “nuclear breakout” of its nuclear program and openly produce nuclear weapons. North Korea has also threatened to test a nuclear weapon. North Korea’s actions follow the disclosure in October 2002 that it is operating a secret nuclear program based on uranium enrichment and the decision by the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) in November 2002 to suspend shipments of heavy oil to North Korea. North Korea claims that it has nuclear weapons and that it has completed reprocessing of over 8,000 nuclear fuel rods. To this the U.S. officials and other experts state that North Korea probably had reprocessed most or all of the fuel rods and may have produced enough plutonium for 6-10 atomic bombs. The main objective of the Bush Administration, according to the writer, was to secure the dismantling of North Korea’s plutonium and uranium-based nuclear programs. Its strategy included :(1) terminating the Agreed Framework; (2) withholding U.S. reciprocal measures until North Korea takes steps to dismantle its nuclear programs; (3) assembling an international coalition, through six party negotiations, to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea; and (4) imposing financial sanctions on foreign banks that facilitate North Korea’s illegal counterfeiting activities. China, South Korea, and Russia criticized the Bush Administration for not negotiating directly with North Korea, and they also voiced opposition to economic sanctions and to the potential use of force against Pyongyang. China, Russia, and South Korea increasingly have expressed support for North Korea’s position in six-party talks. The talks have made little progress. As also articulated by the writer, North Korea, in the six party meetings of July- September 2005, widened the gap between the U.S. and North Korean positions when it asserted that it would not dismantle or even disclose its nuclear programs until light water reactors were physically constructed in North Korea. The widening gap was not narrowed by a statement of the six parties on September 19, 2005, in which North Korea agreed to rejoin the NPT and its 1992 safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency “at an early date” but which also contained a reference to North Korea’s right to have a light water reactor, the writer concluded.

Again, Finstad (nd) contends that it makes more sense to define preemption as striking a potential adversary before it can become a nuclear power, rather than striking an enemy before it can strike you. According to him, China and Russia are more threatening to the US than the entire “axis of evil” combined, but, as nuclear powers, it would be unthinkable for the US to launch a first strike (or preemption) on either nation the way it did to Iraq. Furthermore, the writer insists that the re-definition of the preemption doctrine is most significant in the way that it impacts the incentive structure of nations at odds with US foreign policy. For him, analysis of actions and statements made by Iran and North Korea show that these countries are acting rationally from within this structure: Having already developed atomic bombs and viable delivery systems, North Korea believes that bold statements of its willingness to use these weapons will deter an American attack. Conversely, Iran realizes that it must not make its ongoing pursuit of nukes public, but believes it is not only essential to Iran’s security to continue developing its nuclear program, but the programme will also serves sound deterrent against American invasion. In sum the writer argues that these recent actions by Iran and North Korea further demonstrate that the Bush administration’s preemption doctrine in Iraq was not a deterrent at all.  The implication is that countries that find themselves at odds with the interests of the United States feel threatened by the example of Iraq, and are encouraged to develop nukes by the example of North Korea. Smaller countries with fewer resources to foster nuclear research, such as Libya, may be intimidated into scrapping their programs. Larger, wealthier, more threatening nations, however, are simply encouraged to build nuclear bombs, and to make their willingness to use them known to the world.

For Chanlett-Avery (2012), North Korea has been among the most vexing and persistent problems in U.S. foreign policy in the post-Cold War period. Negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program have consumed the past three U.S. administrations, even as some analysts anticipated a collapse of the isolated authoritarian regime. North Korea, according to the writer, has been the recipient of well over $1 billion in U.S. aid and the target of dozens of U.S. sanctions. As U.S. policy toward Pyongyang evolved through the George W. Bush presidency and into the Obama Administration, the negotiations moved from mostly bilateral to the multilateral Six-Party Talks (made up of China, Japan, Russia, North Korea, South Korea, and the United States). To this end, the writer maintained that although the negotiations have reached some key agreements that lay out deals for aid and recognition to North Korea in exchange for denuclearization, major problems with implementation have persisted. With talks suspended since 2009, concern about proliferation to other actors has grown. The Obama Administration, like its predecessors, faces fundamental decisions on how to approach North Korea.

Did the US government perceive North Korea Nuclear Programme as part of its war on terror, between 2000 and 2008?

Our major concern in this segment of the literature review is to find out whether the US government perceives North Korea Nuclear Programme as part of its war on terror. To this end, Ifesinachi (2006) sees the US-led war on terror in terms of unilateralism. According to him, the trajectories of the phenomenon of terror derive from political motivation. To this effect, he maintains that political terror has served the ends of political struggle and as such, sovereign recognition and intervention are products of political struggles which reflect the contradictions of material condition at every phase of human history. Berating America’s military crusade against terrorism, the writer rightly and logically argues that terrorism as a political problem will subsist (notwithstanding America’s seemingly efforts to stamp it) since the political problem that induces it persist. Accordingly, Ifesinachi writes:

…terrorism as a political problem will persist as long as the political problem that induces it persists. The solution to terrorism is not just to punish terrorists but in seeking out common political solutions to the political malaise prompting terrorism. The rationalization of state terrorism in terms of the war on terror is seen to be sterile and redundant. It is in this context that the need for defining anti-terrorism campaigns as a global problem becomes contingent on the restructuring of the global order (Ifesinachi, 2006: 7).

As for Gardner (nd), Al Quaida, instead of regressing during the fight on terrorism, is increasing its membership greatly worldwide. More alarming, according to the writer, is that it has decentralized even more after 9/11; it has more popular support among young Arabs and non-Arab Muslims and Osama is to many Muslims what “Che” was for many Latin Americans. Now many Muslims and non-Muslims alike see more clearly the comparison between Israel’s occupation and treatment of Palestinians and U.S. occupation and treatment of Iraq. This brings into question the limits of the military solution as the ultimate option, and the Bush administration’s failure to appreciate the complexity of terrorism as a manifestation of deeper societal problems combined with adamant opposition to western imperialism. More so, the writer insists that because terrorism has existed for centuries in one form or another, one would think that intelligent people working in Washington D.C. today would realize that the best method of containing it is to understand its root causes and then to provide a long-term political solution. This does not mean that armed forces should not be utilized, but if that is the only solution, it leads to more terrorism and an endless cycle of political violence that costs the status-quo state more than it costs the terrorists, he concludes

Contributing, Marszka (2009) wondered whether the Bush Doctrine has increased asymmetric warfare in the form of terrorism or whether it has been an effective policy against it. He, therefore, insists that if the United States can justify preemption and unilateralism in defense of its national security with Security Council authorization, that would be catastrophic in most cases as other nations would equally be attempted to attack and justify their actions as preempting. The writer, therefore, bemoaned the Bush administration for favoring this seemingly counterproductive foreign policy strategy.

In another development, Okolie (2005) investigates the changing pattern of terrorism and its implications for global security. To this effect, the writer avers that terrorism is escalating and posing threats to peace and security. Continuing, the writer maintains that  the September 11, 2001 incident compelled the then President of United States, George Bush to refocus US foreign and security policies on two distinct, if not cross-cutting missions: defeating ‘terrorism with a global reach’ and ‘keeping the worst weapons out of the hands of the worst people’. According to him, at the heart of the above policies is the policy of preemptive use of force. However, rather than American hegemony and unilateralism, the writer advocates for a new global security codes that would be ratified and agreed upon and enforcement done under the auspices of the United Nations.

On the other hand, Mamdani (2004) avers that events after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Cold War suggest that America’s low intensity conflict against militant nationalist regimes continued thereafter, even up to 9/11. According to him, by 9/11, the methods changed drastically, from low-intensity proxy war to high intensity direct warfare; the shift which was made possible by a changed political climate in post 9/11. More so, the author insists that the trajectory of proxy war in the rough decade from the end of the Cold War to 9/11 is best illuminated on the ground of Iraq where the Bush administration saw a golden opportunity to shed the inhibitions of the Cold War and declare open season of militant nationalism. However, as the writer argues, whereas the Taliban had been pinpointed as hosts of al-Qaeda, there was little legitimate effort to connect the invasion of Iraq to the terror that was 9/11. For the author therefore the war on terror had moved on from addressing broadly shared security concerns to targeting militant nationalism, and the war against militant nationalism would conclude the unfinished business of the Cold  War. However, the author concludes that:

…the two adversaries in the war on terror: the United States and al-Qaeda are both veterans of Cold War. Both see the through lenses of power….Caught in a situation where both adversaries in the war on terror claim to be fighting terror with weapons of terror, nothing less than a global movement for peace will save humanity. If we are to go by the lesson of the last global struggle for peace, that to end the war in Vietnam, this struggle, too, will have to be waged as a mass movement inside each country, particularly the democratic countries, and especially in the United States and Israel (Mamdani (2004: 257-258)

Falode (2002), prior to the attack on America in 2001, the political interplay in the Middle-East and South-East Asia had been a very volatile one, speckled with distrust and suspicion as well as America’s passivity. Continuing, the writer stated that while factors of economy, territory, irredentism and religion essentially accounted for these volatile relationships, the coordinated terrorist attack on America on September 11, 2001 impacted profoundly on this fragile and political balance. The implication of this, according to the writer was the fact that America was forced to jettison the multinationalist and isolationalist approach for the more flexible, uncompromising unilateralist approach. And this meant that America would no longer seek the views of the allies before embarking on any political adventure or misadventure in the international environment.                                                                                                                              In a similar argument, Eliot (2003) insists that while concern about peaceful strategies for the 21st century is essential, it is more crucial to attempt stopping this very risky war and lowering the Bush administration’s bellicose rhetoric (and exorbitant military budget) that is escalating tensions and dangers across the globe. As for the writer, the Bush administration’s paranoia and militaristic belligerence has erased much of the sympathy people around the globe felt toward America after September 11th, and has escalated tensions and dangers throughout the planet. Furthermore, the writer avers that the terrible risks inherent in pre-emptive war-the potential deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis, the danger to U.S. troops, the likely rise in terrorist recruitment, the long-term environmental degradation of the region through oil fires and depleted uranium, and the temptation to move on to the next war and the next generation of dangerous weaponry simply cannot be justified by any of the reasons offered by the Bush administration. Instead of brainstorming justifications and military strategies for a pre-emptive war, the writer believes that it would be nice if the Bush administration would devote its creativities to thinking about non-war alternatives.

Did the US government security policy on North Korea nuclear programme relegate multilateral intervention on nuclear weapon developmentbetween 2000 and 2008?

In this final segment of the literature review, our concern is to find out whether the US government security policy on North Korea nuclear programme relegates multilateral intervention on nuclear weapon development. To this end, Pritchard (2005) averred that the lack of a permanent multilateral structure for security dialogue in North-East Asia and the lack of a successful precedent involving the DPRK in multilateral talks contribute to the likelihood that this iteration of multilateral talks may well fail. The period of time between sessions of the Six-Party Talks and the lack of progress suggest that there is insufficient common ground or commitment by the key participants (the United States and the DPRK) for resolution of the crisis in the foreseeable future. In the face of likely failure of the multilateral process currently underway, it would seem prudent for the participants to review the substantial track record of DPRK participation and accommodation in bilateral negotiations with both the United States and the Republic of Korea and modify the Six-Party Talks accordingly. One way to do this, according to the writer, would be for the United States to enter into a serious and sustained bilateral dialogue with Pyongyang as a complementary component of the six-party process. In this scenario, as the United States begins to shape what may ultimately result in a resolution to the crisis in its complementary negotiations with North Korea under the auspices of the six-party process, it would continue to consult with its close allies South Korea and Japan. Washington’s coordinated policy approach to North Korea would be enhanced by Tokyo and Seoul’s own bilateral meetings with Pyongyang.  This two-pronged approach has the best chance of forging a near-term negotiated settlement through an extensive and mutually supportive bilateral component and the best chance to ensure its implementation through a multilateral component of guarantees and monitoring. Given the track record of the past two years, the prognosis for successful resolution of the nuclear crisis through the current framework of multilateral talks is not very bright, the writer concluded.

Ur-Reham (2010) reviewed the prospects for Korean reunification in view of the policies and actions of the governments of the two Koreas. The writer examined the roles played by china, Japan and Russia, as their policies directly affect any long term political solution and ongoing humanitarian concerns on the Korean Peninsula. The writer equally discussed President Kim Dae-jung’s ‘sunshine policy’ in the late 1990s, a policy of engagement which revived hopes for Korean reunification. Those hopes suffered serious setbacks following North Korea’s nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. Also, in 1998, there was a radical shift in South Korea’s policy towards North Korea with the election of Lee Myung-bak’s conservative administration which tied aid to denuclearization. The renewed talk of contingencies’ and succession struggle’ in North Korea in the wake of Kim Jong-il’s reported stroke in August 2008 has also been vitiating inter-Korean relations. Conflicting US and China policies on North Korea is another factor that has bedeviled reunification. To this effect, the writer argued that Korean reunification could best take place through sustained engagement and peaceful means. An important facet is the creation of the right environment for achieving the goal of reunification and denuclearization, a daunting task, particularly before the implementation of at least one of the international commitments made, such as the 2000 and 2007 South-North Summit Declarations of the 1994 Agreed Framework between the US and North Korea; or the lifting of international sanctions on North Korea, the writer concluded.

Contributing, Wampler (2003) maintained that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has moved back to the front pages with the unprecedented acknowledgement by North Korea that it has developed nuclear weapons. According to the writer, news of this revelation came as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs James A. Kelly was preparing to leave Beijing for consultations in Seoul. To the writer, this was but the latest step in a simmering crisis that began with the admission by North Korea, after being confronted with hard evidence by Assistant Secretary Kelly in October 2002, that it has been pursuing in secret a nuclear weapons program in violation of the Agreed Framework of 1994 and its adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Pyongyang’s subsequent actions in asserting the right to possess nuclear weapons, breaking the seals on its nuclear reactor put there by the International Atomic Energy Agency, withdrawing from the NPT and the expulsion of IAEA inspectors from the Yongbyon nuclear facilities, have kept the crisis simmering, and laid the basis for reported splits within the Bush administration over the best strategy for dealing with Pyongyang. Seemingly replaying debates marking the lead-up to the war with Iraq, newspaper analyses portray the State Department under Secretary of State Colin Powell pressing for diplomacy and efforts to reassure the North Koreans that the U.S. was not seeking regime change.

Richter (2003) remarked that international law has long held that the use of force between states is illegal except on two grounds- authorization by the Security Council, and that done in self-defense. Furthermore, the writer evaluates the notion of preemptive self-defense as well as the customary laws that give rise to it, and whether such can be extended to address the threats of terrorism and WMDs. In so doing so, the writer addresses the general laws relating to self-defense and the limits of the doctrine of preemption. It argues that aside the threat posed by terrorism and WMDs, the extended version of preemption is the US is not only potentially dangerous, but will be rejected by the international community.

Again, Henneka (2006) maintained that nothing in the political behavior of Korean policy could be understood without reflecting upon the experience of the Korean Peninsula and its people under the policy of the Great Powers. Moreso, the writer contended that one of the main reasons of the radicalisation of the US – and North Korean – policy is the underestimation of the meaning of Korean history before and after its division. To this end, the writer pointed out that a peaceful solution for the North Korean problem would probably not be found by waiting for regime collapse, regime change, or by forcing North Korea to one-sided reforms. Instead the international community and especially the United States must accept that this policy would only lead to a further escalation of the situation and increase the possibility of military confrontation. The historical perspective shows that one-sided accusations for the situation, no matter in which direction, do not reflect the historical facts. The problem cannot be solved without a wide understanding of Korean history in general. For the future, it is important for the administration in Washington to realise that dealing with the Korean Peninsula in a responsible way means to consider the region’s wider historical dimensions, the writer concludes.

Moreso, Boureston and Russell (2009) maintained that the proliferation activities of Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea illustrate the problem faced today by the international community: procurement networks are staying ahead of export controls by altering their tactics, learning new and more evasive techniques and finding ways to exploit legitimate trade practices to acquire sensitive materials. According to the writers,  while control regimes may have successfully slowed the first and second tier of proliferation networks, there is actually a third tier of networks – a ‘substructure’ that is comprised of a variety of semi-autonomous groups that can service the demand size of today’s nuclear black market. The challenge for intelligence agencies, and international and national regulatory bodies, in the view of the writers, is to continue to investigate questionable activities and to find new tools to interdict any transactions which may result. Looking for indicators such as frequent buying missions to industrial countries, suspicious contacts and organizations operating out of embassies, scientific exchanges and other doubtful alliances among allied nations, and nationals living overseas shipping materials to their home country, investigators can identify and analyze the existence of new and existing procurement networks. These and other more innovative measures are needed to help enable the international community to stifle nuclear procurement activities, thereby slowing the spread of nuclear weapons, the writers concluded.

Summary of the Review                                                                                                                In all, the review of the extant shows that our research questions have not been satisfactorily addressed. In the first segment, none of the writers whose works were reviewed specifically evaluated whether the US government perceives North Korea nuclear programme as a threat to its national security, between 2000 and 2008. In the second segment also, the works reviewed could not explicitly articulated whether the US government perceives North Korea nuclear programme as part of its war on terror, between 2000 and 2008. Finally, in the last segment, the authors reviewed failed to logically and coherently articulate the link between the US government security policy on North Korea nuclear programme and multilateral intervention on nuclear weapon development, between 2000 and 2008.

We have to reiterate that our broad concern in this study is to find out whether the US government perceives North Korea nuclear programme both as a threat to its national security and as part of its war on terror, between 2000 and 2008, on the one hand and whether the US government security policy on North Korea nuclear programme relegates multilateral intervention on nuclear weapon development, between 2000 and 2008, on the other.

Despite the fact that the extant literature is redolent of efforts by scholars to address the foregoing, we discovered that the issue as articulated above still needs attention because it has not been satisfactorily addressed within the existing literature. In other words, there is need to re-interrogate the issue raised above with a view to filling the lacuna noted in the literature.

1.6 Theoretical Framework

For an in-depth explanation and understanding of the link between the US government security policy and North Korea nuclear programme, we predicated our analysis on the realist approach. This approach tackles politics from what it is without moralizing as to what ought to be. It comes to term with current facts and is ready to shift positions to meet the prevailing political trends. Here what is obtained in society is addressed as against what ought to or should obtain. The political realist must negotiate with situations as they really are.

Indeed, the world is full of opposing interest and moral principles can never be fully realized, rather they must be balanced with interests and the precarious settlement of conflicts. Hence all pluralist societies must work in a system of check and balances, appealing to historic precedent rather than to abstract principles, and aim at realizing the lesser evil rather than the absolute good (Whitaker and Mills, 1922).

The realist or power politics approach in the study of international relations essentially is anchored on a particular conception of man. This view of man arose as a result of the attraction of the realists to thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes, Nicollo Machiavelli, whose works emphasized the dark side of human behavior. As Hobbes noted while painting the picture of man in the state of nature, “in the first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power that ceaseth only in death”. Thus, political realism centers on the belief that man is generally selfish and aggressive in nature. H. Morgenthau, a leading figure in politica

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