How does realism explain the solutions to global security problems? North Korean Nuclear WeaponsIntroductionThe world faces a new challenge in solving security issue, the nuclear weapons.
For over two decades North Korea has been developing nuclear bomb capable of reaching 13,000km range and reach most of the world (Al Jazeera News, 2018). In instance, it is easy for North Korea to destroy any part of the world and that’s the exact reason why the world focuses in shutting down North’s nuclear tests. Nuclear is a part ofmilitary weapons which considered as traditional security issue thus it is important to analyse through the dominant perspectives, realism.
In my article, I will analyse realism view on nuclear weapons and most importantly its solution towards North Korean nuclear problem.Realism and North Korean Nuclear Crisis OverviewRealism is one of the mainstream perspectives specifically tries to identify the behaviour of states and its decision on human’s basic nature. Realists such as Hobbes and Machiavelli believe that instead of nurture, human characteristic is within their nature since born. Human tend to seek for more power therefore conflict is unavoidable. It is part of rivalry and competitiveness human have (Heywood, 2011). Translated into the scope of states, realists believe there is no such thing as peace. What exists is time between one war and another which rather peaceful than the war itself.
Realism unit analysis is only state, therefore other actors such as international organization or individuals don’t play crucial role like state does. Realism has close relation to conflict and war that global world faces. This view has close relation in how realism sees world as an anarchy thus statesmen have the responsibility to secure and ensure their own country in any international circumstances whether it’s threatening or promising (Robert Jackson, 2013).After Cold War, outcast countries including North Korea continue to strike power from nuclear. Two analysts why North Korea seeks power from nuclear weapons through the glasses of realism: First, defensive realism believes that state is more likely to maintain status quo by developing capacities to balance external threats and at the same time they could act aggressively depending on security dilemma. Second, offensive realism understand that states might start in defensive mode, but they believe revisionist state willchallenge status quo as they maximize the relative advantages obtained (Nakato, 2012).
SolutionsActions have been taken to solve the issue but it seems unlikely to see an end. During the rise of intergovernmental organisations, liberalism perspective dominates the world and in my first part I will argue to you why liberalism fails. Largest IGO, United Nations proves the first failure because North Korea decided to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty at 1994. US then signed the Geneva Agreed Framework to end the first nuclear standoff with North Korea. United States agreed to exchange heavy fuel oil and help North Korea build nuclear energy plants to shut down their nuclear tests (Jihwan, 2004). In short period, it succeeded to shut down the first test but failed to stop them from doing the second and third.
Depending on economic sanctions like what UN Security Council did will only triggerNorth Korea to create more nuclear tests like what happened in 2009 (Nakato, 2012). Neighbouring countries, Japan and South Korea, who face with most terrible threat also try to bargain through economic engagement yet failed (Joshua Stanton, 2017). In conclusion, the role of intergovernmental organization has weakened by the fact that their policies aren’t binding to every country.
It further proves the assumption of realism that international institutions and law can affect states behaviour but will eventually fail if there’s no force nor effective sanctions (Jill Steans, 2010). Secondly, I will argue to you through realism approaches. There are two solutions that realism comes up with. 1. Go to unavoidable war. Realism believes that there is no such thing as peace, instead there is only time in between one war and another which rather peaceful. It is just the matter of time until another war pops, and perhaps it is the time for war between world’s number one most persistent communist country and most liberal country.
Given the fact that in 2017 alone three out of four North Korean ballistic missiles landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, it proves that the threat has become real. Other country like China has also spoke out its frustration towards North Korea and their ideology and interest is opposed to what Pyongyang’s been doing with their missile programs (Feng, 2017). With many countries face with common threat, I argue to you that it is better to face North Korea before they fully develop their nuclear bomb. Moreover the fact that United States alongside with Japan, China, and South Korea have equal even more military power to invade North Korea, the probability for them to demolish Kim’s reign power is bigger. The solution is getting real as US president, Trump is very unlikely to do further negotiation with North Korea like Bush, Clinton, and Obama did. He believes that waiting for UN pressure to work and negotiating is no longer possible solution (Albright, 2017). Recently through twitter, Trump proves that he is indeed ready to face the war “….
I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” (Trump, 2018).2. Pursuing balance of power. Kenneth Waltz, a structural realist, states that equal distribution of nuclear weapons is the most strategic solution (Deudney, 1993). In realism balance of power is the least possible solution to settle peace. Only when each country has the access to nuclear weapons, only then every country has the same amount of power. The way US accepted that Soviet Union had the same ability to strike thus both sides refrain attack (Sagan, 2017). However, in status quo we need more than two powers to threat Kim and it is not possible if non-proliferation act limits the equal distribution of power.
In line with Waltz’s argument, balance of power only possible if current regulation does not exist. Thus it is best to disband NPT and let countries develop nuclear weapons. Although Waltz doesn’t concentrate nuclear weapons as the main issue in realism, however he agrees that nuclear weapon is an important aspect in the attempt of reducing probability of war and creating future peacewhen anarchy still exist (Deudney, 1993). In practice, if every country has mutual access to nuclear weapons, US will have more allies in cornering global threat, North Korea, to stop their irrational tests understanding they are prone to lost than win. Conclusion North Korean nuclear weapons in 2018 are a global threat and I do concede that realism solutions towards the issue might somehow risky. But understanding that most approach has failed, it’s best to seek for real deterrence solution that will completely shut Kim’s regime.
And through my arguments, I believe that realism has the most rational approach in solving the issue either by going directly to war or equal distribution of nuclear weapon. By any means, we can’t undo the fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons, we can only control its behaviour in utilizing it. Works CitedAl Jazeera News. (2018, January 1). North Korea’s nuclear weapons: Here is what we know.
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