The North Korean Threat in a Changing Era
I will preface this by saying I have a degree in International Relations with a speciality on North East Asian studies and the History of Warfare. I’m no expert, but I know enough about the history and politics of the region to know when someone is seriously divergent from general academic consensus on a topic.
I have read plenty of books about politics in my life. Some I loved, some I hated, and some have just frustrated me. This book falls into the latter category.
Bechtol tries to unpack the history, culture, and future aspirations of North Korea in a series of short essays, each designed to explore in depth a particular element of this ‘mysterious country’. The basic premise of this book is that during Kim Jong-il’s regime from 1994-2011, the threat that North Korea posed to the rest of the world intensified. Bechtol points to the ‘conventional military threat’, strategy on the Northern Limit line, nuclear capabilities, support for foreign terrorists and the political succession process as key areas where North Korea poses a threat.