II. Debate on Durability of the IKR
III. Analytical Framework: A Theory of Multilevel Veto Players
IV. Case Study: The Persistence of the IKR, 1954-2007
V. Origin of the IKR
VI. Security Ties and IKR Maintenance Through Failures of Battlefield Solutions
VII. Failure of Negotiated Solutions and Persistence of the IKR
The paper begins with the simple questions of why and how South-North Korean rivalry or inter-Korean rivalry has persisted for decades. To answer these questions, I develop a theory of multilevel veto players and test the hypotheses drawn from the theory for the case of the hostile relations between South and North Korea from 1954 to 2007. Central to the theory is that maintenance of the rivalry is the result of rival leaders’ efforts to maximize either the national interests of their country or their own personal interest―staying in power―subject both to the external constraint of great power intervention and to the internal constraint of challenges by hardline veto groups. By applying this theory to the case of the inter-Korean rivalry from 1954-2007, the paper finds that the leaders of South and North Korea have maintained their hostile relations over the past five decades because they believe that maintaining the relations will help them either maximize their nation’s security interest or increase their chances of remaining in power, subject to the constraints. Specifically, the constraints have prevented the rival leaders from resolving the issues in dispute on the battlefield or at a negotiation table, making the inter-Korean rivalry persist across time. The findings offer a contribution to an enhanced understanding of the maintenance process in international rivalries, most notably the inter-Korean rivalry.
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