Summary of Webinar for Rage

  • Oct 7, 2020

On October 7th from 9:30-11:00 A.M. KST, the first joint APLN/EAF Webinar, funded in part by the Asia Research Fund, titled "Preemptive Nuclear Attacks on the Korean Peninsula: Fact or Fiction?” was livestreamed. Moderated by Dr. Chung-in Moon, the webinar featured Dr. Morton H. Halperin (Senior Advisor to the Open Society Foundation and the Open Society Policy Center), Dr. Peter Hayes (Co-director at the Nautilus Institute), Dr. Siegfried Hecker (Professor and Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Center for International Security and Cooperation), and Dr. Eunjung Lim (Associate Professor at Kongju National University). The panelists discussed military and nuclear issues on the Korean peninsula, with special attention paid to claims made in Bob Woodward’s latest book, Rage. The panel outlined the history of U.S. nuclear doctrine and DPRK’s nuclear capabilities, and ultimately concluded that discussion of the use of “80 nuclear weapons” on the Korean peninsula is a supremely unlikely worst case. Finally, they warned of the risks of misunderstanding and mistakes that could escalate into a nuclear exchange. To prevent such a catastrophe, the panelists agreed that diplomacy needs to embrace a step-by-step confidence-building process, in order to make nuclear threats less necessary for deterrence or compellence on both sides.