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Game Theory – Bush Doctrine versus Madman Diplomacy

source: teaching.ust.hk/~sosc200t/student/c.doc

The tensions in the Korean peninsula has been constantly ongoing for about half a century. With North Korea’s nuclear armament posing a grave threat to the surrounding countries, the US’s  position in the far east seems to be precarious. Since the Bush administration, the US has been employing the Bush Doctrine towards North Korea. The Bush Doctrine suggests that the American national security should be best upheld by preemption(such as militaristic strike or economic sanctions) and that the US upholds such strategy would make North Korea fear of a preemption, which would force North Korea to comply. However, North Korea employs the ‘Madman Strategy’- diplomatic actions such as abrupt withdrawal from the Nonproliferation Treaty, threatening the neighboring countries, and militaristic engagements with the South,  that are hard to comprehend. It breaks regional order and plays its own way to bring the regional tug of war to their side. North Korea, with its over a million man army plays the chicken game with the US, forcing the US to comply of face a total war. Utilizing game theory, the precarious stances between the US and North Korea can be summed up as below.

……………………………………………………….USA

……………………………………..Defy………………………………..Comply

North Korea… Defy               -1,-1                                              2,0

……………………Comply          0,2                                                1,1

 

Similar to the Prisoners’ Dilemma, the best outcome, ([Comply, Comply]) would be ideal to both parties, but achieving such outcome seems to be a hard task, since mutual trust and understanding needs to be present for such cooperation to happen. Because there are greater interests when one party defies while the other complies, both parties are tempted to simultaneously defy, resulting in ([Defy, Defy]) as a equilibrium: the worst outcome out of the four. This situation is the fundamental reason why the high tension between the North and the US exists unresolved.

North Korea hasn’t changed its ‘Madman strategy,’ sending spying drones into South Korean military bases while participating in the Asian Games held in Incheon, South Korea. The militaristic standoff hasn’t improved yet. North Korea, to maintain its million man army, starting next year, is extending serving period from 10 to 11 years for men and drafting women to serve seven years. North Korea has been pouring all its resources into the military, but its future doesn’t seem so bright. The tension, as analyzed from a game theory perspective, would resort to negative results for both parties. Thus, as same as solving the Prisoners’ dilemma discussed in class, is to change the outcome of each choices, and lead to a different equilibrium. Such would be done through building solid trust that won’t be questioned. Through examining the North Korean situation through a game theory perspective was going beyond the textbook and tying real-life situations to the course material. Having such perspective helped understand the reason for each choices made by the parties and what it would take to shift the equilibrium and so solve the problems at hand.

additional source: news.donga.com/NewsStand/3/all/20140920/66542721/1

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