The limitations of extant theories of nuclear proliferation to explain the case of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
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Theories of nuclear weapons proliferation cannot fully account for the nuances of certain cases because proliferation is a complex process involving numerous variables, the importance of which can potentially shift across time. This seems especially true when applied to the case of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) where motivations have shifted in relevance numerous times in its proliferation history. In order to investigate this, this thesis reviews extant theories of nuclear proliferation and their ability to explain the case of the DPRK by critically examining its historical nuclear progress and nuclear weapons ambitions across time. The result is that indeed, proliferation theories are ill-equipped to completely account for the DPRK’s nuclear choices. The DPRK has ostensibly been motivated by numerous variables at different times, each having varying degrees of influence, inexplicable for mono-causal and often western and ethno-centric accounts of its proliferation motivations.
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