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ANU National Security College presents

The Korean missile crisis: why deterrence is still the best option

John Gee Memorial Lecture


9th November 2017


Molonglo Theatre, Level 2, JG Crawford Building 132, 1 Lennox Crossing, ANU


Scott D Sagan, Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, Stanford University



It is time for the US Government to admit that it has failed to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the United States. North Korea no longer poses a non-proliferation problem – it poses a nuclear deterrence problem. Officials in the Pentagon and the White House face a new and unprecedented challenge: they must deter North Korean leader Kim Jong Un while also preventing US President Donald Trump from bumbling into war.

In the 2017 John Gee Memorial Lecture, Professor Scott D Sagan will discuss the lessons that can be learned from the experiences of the Cold War for the current crisis with North Korea.

Scott D Sagan is the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, where he is also the Mimi and Peter Haas University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, and at the Freeman Spogli Institute. Professor Sagan serves as Project Chair for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Initiative on New Dilemmas in Ethics, Technology, and War. Before joining the Stanford faculty, he was a lecturer in the Department of Government at Harvard University. From 1984 to 1985, he served as special assistant to the Director of the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon. Professor Sagan has also served as a consultant to the office of the Secretary of Defense, at the Sandia National Laboratory and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Dr John Gee AO (1944 – 2007) served with distinction as an Australian diplomat in a number of countries. His greatest contribution, however, was in the field of disarmament, where he had a particular interest in chemical weapons. After a period as a Commissioner on the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq following the first Gulf War, he became Deputy Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, serving there until 2003. In recognition of his achievements, Dr Gee was made a member of the Order of Australia in January 2007. He leaves behind a legacy and a memory of a great Australian. This is the 11th annual John Gee Memorial Lecture. Previous speakers include The Hon Malcolm Fraser, H.E. Mr Ahmet Üzümcü, Professor Ramesh Thakur, Professor Gareth Evans AC QC, Yukiya Amano and Peter Varghese AO.


Image by Nicolas Raymond on Flickr.

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