Paradigms and Fallacies: Rethinking Northeast Asian Security

26 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2005

See all articles by Hun Joo Park

Hun Joo Park

KDI School of Public Policy and Management

Date Written: August 2005


This paper examines the changing characteristics of the fundamentally distrustful, conflict-ridden, and power and interest-centric international politics in Northeast Asia and their implications for the region's stability especially in the post-Cold War era. No doubt that the power and interest-centric realist paradigm maintains its explanatory dominance in capturing the lack of reconciliation or institutionalization of regional cooperation both in postwar and post-Cold War Northeast Asia. When it comes to prescribing for the lack of institutionalized multilateralism or security cooperation, however, the analytic power of realist perspective becomes sterile. It is so because realists assume the values, preferences and goals of the units or nation states as largely fixed or determined by the anarchical international system. Such a realist paradigm has frequently led to a self-fulfilling prophecy: as if inevitably pressured by the system, states end up pursuing their narrow and myopic national interests, further exasperating security dilemma. The paper argues that to help prevent the security dilemma from spiraling into a slippery and perilous path of arms competition in Northeast Asia requires the concerned states and their policymakers to switch their realist assumptions, redefine their self-interests, and adopt an international society framework which builds on reality.

Keywords: Northeast Asian Security, Paradigms, Foreign policy, Military Spending, The post-Cold War era

JEL Classification: H77, N40, N45

Suggested Citation

Park, Hun Joo, Paradigms and Fallacies: Rethinking Northeast Asian Security (August 2005). KDI School of Public Policy & Management Paper No. 05-09, Available at SSRN: or

Hun Joo Park (Contact Author)

KDI School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

263 Namsejong-ro
Sejong-si 30149
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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