‘North Korea’ in a Post-Cold War United States
This paper analyzes the ways in which ‘North Korea’ was securitized in a post-Cold War United States. It argues that U.S. perceptions of North Korea were a continuation of Cold War discourse of danger by other representations. North Korea was primarily understood as a security threat and such an understanding so dominated U.S. discourses as to close the possibility of alternative understandings. After showing that the North was represented as a missile threat, a nuclear threat, or a ‘time bomb,’ this paper argues that a Cold War institutional framework made such an identity representation possible. It concludes by analyzing the ways in which North Korea considered its own identity as an insecure state threatened by an ‘aggressive U.S.’ At the heart of the tension between the two countries stands the clash of identities, which resulted in a precarious “balance of terror” over the Korean peninsula.
Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies
North Korea; Cold War; Perception; National Security; Nuclear War; Authoritarianism