Dissertation project (Book length):
My research interests lie at the intersection of two areas of study: Alliance politics and nuclear politics.
My dissertation seeks to explain the causation of change in nuclear decision making of protected allies within a military alliance. In my research, I find the answer in the credibility of the protector ally that influences the nuclear proliferation and attempts of proliferation decisions of protected allies. More specifically, I argue that unlike peace time, crisis situations are the moments of truth when the credibility of an ally is revealed. In crises, two types of information are revealed: the conflict of interests and lack of resolve of the protector ally, depending on what kind of action the protector ally takes during crises. With this information, the protected ally would or would not decide to alter its nuclear polices.
To test this argument, I employ qualitative analysis. I perform four in-depth case studies of nuclear proliferation in Europe and East Asia, including fieldwork in South Korea and Japan. My research relies on thousands of pages of primary source documents from National Archives and Presidential libraries and materials in English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. Through this research, I found strong support for my argument that questions about the credibility of the protector influences the decision of the protected ally to proliferate: France developed its independent program after the United States chose not to come to its defense in the 1956 Suez Crisis. China did the same after the Soviet Union’s reluctance to become involved in the 1958 Sino-India Border Crisis. Similarly, North Korea initially became interested in a nuclear weapons program after assessing the Soviet Union’s credibility during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and South Korea started its program in response to the U.S. policy of Vietnamization at the end of the Vietnam War in early 1970s.
I am interested in policy work that contributes to the stability of East Asia. I have worked for RAND Corp. and consulted U.S. government agencies to help formulate a long-term strategy in the Asia Pacific region. More specifically, I am interested in the nuclear and conventional non-proliferation on the Korean peninsula and within the US alliance network in the Asia-Pacific region. Below are some of my publications on understanding recent policy challenges.
"'Actions speak louder than words': Rhetoric and nuclear policy realities" at Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) medium, Stanford University.
“Trilemma of Strategic Stability in East Asia: How Do We Escape the Coercion Loop?” in “A Stable Transition to a New Nuclear Order” Project Working Papers, Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, Cornell University.
“Rethinking the Origins of North Korea’s Nuclear Program” in Nuclear Scholars Initiative: A Collection of Papers from the 2014 Nuclear Scholars Initiative (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies).