What do Americans Really Think about Conflict with Nuclear North Korea?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Okimoto Conference Room
Encina Hall, 3rd Floor
616 Serra Street, Stanford

  • Scott D. Sagan

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The volatile relationship between the United States and North Korea has left the American public questioning whether North Korea is a threat or not. Existing polls suffer from poor design and, thus, provide a confusing and often contradictory narrative of U.S. public opinion on North Korea. As a result, a number of critical questions remain unanswered: Are Americans willing to live with the North Korean nuclear threat? Under what conditions would the public support using military force to accomplish what sanctions and diplomacy have not? What are the characteristics of the individuals willing to risk war against North Korea today? Professor Scott D. Sagan will discuss the findings of a recent survey experiment and offer a unique perspective to the ongoing public debate.

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. 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. In 2017, he received the International Studies Association’s Susan Strange Award which recognizes the scholar whose “singular intellect, assertiveness, and insight most challenge conventional wisdom and intellectual and organizational complacency" in the international studies community. Sagan was also the recipient of the National Academy of Sciences William and Katherine Estes Award in 2015, for his pioneering work addressing the risks of nuclear weapons accidents and the causes of nuclear proliferation.