Council Special Report Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea Teaching Notes By Paul B.

Stares General John W. Vessey Senior Fellow for Conflict Prevention; Director, Center for Preventive Action, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea

The Council Special Report, Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea, addresses the foreign policy challenge of how the United States and its allies can prepare for the possibility that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il’s illness becomes the source of sudden and destabilizing change in North Korea. The report identifies three potential succession scenarios: managed succession, in which the top leadership transitions smoothly; contested succession, in which government officials and factions vie for power after Kim’s demise; and failed succession, in which a new government is unable to achieve legitimacy, possibly resulting in the collapse of North Korea. Specific policy recommendations are provided as to how the United States can improve its ability to manage whichever succession scenario occurs. These recommendations include enhancing U.S. readiness, promoting allied coordination and preparedness, and fostering regional transparency and capacity-building.

The Council on Foreign Relations Academic Outreach Initiative is designed to connect educators and students at the college and graduate level with CFR’s research and nonpartisan analysis. For more information, visit www.cfr.org/educators/.

S. Foreign Policy and International Affairs 1.S. and humanitarian operations National and nuclear security These teaching notes discuss questions and suggestions for further projects. Identify the interests of North Korea. foreign policy toward North Korea. What would you expect the preferred outcome to be for each country? . South Korea.This report is suitable for the following types of courses: • • • • U.S. and China? 2. How does U. Under which school of thought does the Obama administration’s foreign policy strategy appear to fall? 4. What should be U. and formal analysis. both generally and toward East Asia specifically.S.S. and China respectively? 2. foreign policy. Discussion Questions Courses on U. appear to be changing under the Obama administration? 3. South Korea. Japan. policy toward North Korea depending on which succession scenario transpires? Courses on Comparative and East Asian Politics 1. including class debates. memoranda to the president. failed states. foreign policy and international affairs Comparative and East Asian politics Regime change. How would you characterize current U. How would each of the potential succession scenarios affect relations between East Asia countries differently? 3. Japan. In what way would you expect the imminent regime change in North Korea to affect interstate relations between North Korea. and China in terms of North Korea’s regime change. South Korea. which may be useful for students in any of the courses above. Japan.

how should U.S.S. To what extent would it be safe. 2. Failed States. in terms of U. and Humanitarian Operations 1. What are some of the problems that potentially could arise during the process of regime change in North Korea? 4. Identify the primary U. should the United States intervene in humanitarian operations in North Korea? Is this influenced by moral obligation. national security concerns regarding North Korea.S. and/or U. To whom should the obligation of humanitarian intervention fall in the event that it becomes necessary? China? South Korea? The United States? The UN? 2. Under what circumstances.S. in the Korean Peninsula? . in particular nuclear material. international law. national security.S. What can the United States do prior to regime change in North Korea to maximize the potential of securing U. if any. national security? 3. What are some of the characteristics of a failed state? What events could increase the possibility of North Korea becoming a failed state? At what point could North Korea be described as a failed state? Courses on National and Nuclear Security 1. national security priorities. What is your perceived potential for cooperation between the United States and East Asia in preparing for regime change scenarios in North Korea? Courses on Regime Change. In the event of a failed North Korea. national security strategy adapt? 3. to allocate aspects of securing North Korean weapons and nuclear material to other states such as China? 4.4.

well-thought out arguments. The assignments should be evaluated based on the relevance of the topic selected. and recommend the best course of action. An op-ed is short. present the policy options with pros and cons of each.Further Projects Debate Divide students into small teams and organize a debate on some of the issues raised in the report. Op-eds Assign students to write an op-ed on some aspect of U. The memorandum should give a very brief overview of the situation. regardless of other policy disagreements. helping prevent students from choosing topics too broad or sprawling to form a good op-ed. . so it is important that the main point be clearly expressed within the first or second paragraph. These guidelines will help in focusing the argument. even if it must do so unilaterally. Memorandum to the President Assign students to write a memorandum to the president on possible courses of action in the event that Kim Jong-Il suddenly dies and a contested succession emerges in North Korea. The United States should engage in humanitarian operations in North Korea in the event of a contested or failed succession scenario. The United States must secure nuclear material located in North Korea. foreign policy toward East Asia. and the clarity and brevity with which the author presents a specific point of view.S. It is important for the United States to cooperate with China on preparing for change in North Korea. The writing style should be terse and persuasive. for example: • • • • Preparing for change in North Korea should be a top foreign policy priority. but express sophisticated.

Victor. Glaser.” Wall Street Journal. May 21. . Park. October 2. No. United States Institute of Peace. Litwak. DC: Johns Hopkins University Press).” China Brief.-ROK-PRC Coordination on North Korea” PacNet No. 2008. and John S. “International Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Assistance: A Future Role for the PLA.” Working Paper.Supplementary Materials Bolton. Michael. 2008. 48. 2008.S. Bonnie. Cha.. Finnegan. Center for Strategic and International Studies. September 26. 2008. “What Now? The Case for U. Scott Snyder. Robert S. 8. John R. II. “South Korea Must Engage in Multilateral Planning for North Korea’s Collapse. and Nicholas Eberstadt. Strategy through the Prism of 9/11. January 2008. “Keeping an Eye on an Unruly Neighbor: Chinese Views of Economic Reform and Stability in North Korea. Regime Change: U. Vol. “The World Shouldn’t Fear the Collapse of North Korea. Drew. Pacific Forum.” KBS Global. September 11. Thompson.S. 2007 (Washington.

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