Can the U.S. deter a nuclear North Korea?

Panel Discussion


Mira Rapp-Hooper
Vipin Narang

Date and Time

November 14, 2017 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



RSVP required by 5PM November 10.


William J. Perry Conference Room

Encina Hall, 2nd floor

616 Serra Street

Stanford, CA 94305

About the event: North Korea has, or is about to have, a capability to launch missiles with nuclear warheads against the United States. Can we depend on deterrence, as we did against the Soviet Union, to prevent war?  Or is deterrence not a realistic option, given the nature of the North Korean regime?

About the panel:

Scott D. Sagan is the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, the Mimi and Peter Haas University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University. He also 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, Sagan 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. Sagan has also served as a consultant to the office of the Secretary of Defense and at the Sandia National Laboratory and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He has authored and edited numerous publications.

Mira Rapp-Hooper is a Senior Research Scholar in Law at Yale Law School, as well as a Senior Fellow at Yale’s Paul Tsai China Center. She studies and writes on US-China relations and national security issues in Asia. Dr. Rapp-Hooper was formerly a Senior Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Fellow with the CSIS Asia Program, and the Director of the CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative. She was also a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Rapp-Hooper’s academic writings have appeared in Political Science Quarterly, Security Studies, and Survival. Her policy writings have appeared in The National Interest, Foreign Affairs, and The Washington Quarterly, and her analysis has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and on NPR, MSNBC, and the BBC. Dr. Rapp-Hooper was the Asia Policy Coordinator for the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. She is a David Rockefeller Fellow of the Trilateral Commission, an associate editor with the International Security Studies Forum, and a senior editor at War on the Rocks. She holds a B.A. in history from Stanford University and an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.

Vipin Narang is an Associate Professor of Political Science at MIT and a member of MIT’s Security Studies Program. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Government, Harvard University in May 2010, where he was awarded the Edward M. Chase Prize for the best dissertation in international relations. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering with distinction from Stanford University and an M. Phil with Distinction in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where he studied on a Marshall Scholarship. He has been a fellow at Harvard University’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, a predoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a Stanton junior faculty fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. His research interests include nuclear proliferation and strategy, South Asian security, and general security studies.

Moderating the panel is James Fearon, Theodore and Frances Geballe Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor of Political Science at Stanford University.  He is also a Senior Fellow at the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies.  His research focuses  on political violence – interstate, civil, and ethnic conflict in particular.  In addition he has worked on aspects of democratic theory and the impact of democracy on foreign policy.  He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals, including “How Does Development Assistance Affect Collective Action Capacity? Results from a Field Experiment in Post-Conflict Liberia” (co-authored with Macartan Humphreys and Jeremy Weinstein, in American Political Science Review), “Self-Enforcing Democracy” (Quarterly Journal of Economics),  “Iraq’s Civil War” (Foreign Affairs), “Neotrusteeship and the Problem of Weak States” (co-authored with David Laitin, in International Security), “Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War” (co-authored with David Laitin, in American Political Science Review), and “Rationalist Explanations for War” (International Organization).  Fearon was elected member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2012 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002.  He has been a Program Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research since 2004.  He served as Chair of the Department of Political Science at Stanford from 2008-2010.