Speaker: Wright, N. (Georgetown University / Intelligent Biology)
Date: 2 November 2018
SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Dr. Nicholas Wright (Intelligent Biology / Georgetown University) as a part of its SMA INDOPACOM Speaker Series. Dr. Wright began his presentation by posing two key questions: “What motivates North Korea and key regional actors?” and “What type of strategic confrontation do they face?” He then explained that fear, fairness, and unpredictability all drive these actors’ behaviors. He also stated that the US must understand that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is an example of a gray zone conflict. Dr. Wright also briefly presented his “checklist for empathy,” as well as Dr. Larry Kuznar’s (NSI) insights into Kim Jong-un’s cognition from his public speeches. He proceeded to explain what North Korea fears, how North Korea uses surprise and unexpectedness as tools, and how cultural lenses and human commonalities affect regional dynamics. Dr. Wright concluded by explaining why the situation on the Korean Peninsula should be construed as a gray zone challenge and offering several recommendations for US decision makers.