Victor d. Cha

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Director of Asian Studies

D.S. Song-KF Endowed Chair in International Affairs

Professor of Government

Department of Government and Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

681 ICC Bldg., Georgetown University, Washington DC 20057 (202)687-2978/5858 (fax);


Senior Adviser

Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C.


Co-Editor, Contemporary Asia in the World Series, Columbia University Press


Director of Asian Studies and D.S. Song-KF Endowed Chaired Professorship

Associate Professor of Government, Georgetown University


Director for Asian Affairs and United States Deputy Head of Delegation to Six Party Talks (2006-7)

National Security Council, White House


Associate Professor of Government, Georgetown University


Assistant Professor of Government, Georgetown University


Ph.D. Columbia University, Political Science, 1994

M.I.A. Columbia University, International Affairs - East Asia, 1988

- Advanced Certificate in Korean Studies, East Asian Institute, 1988

B.A./M.A. University of Oxford, England, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, 1986

A.B. Columbia College, Columbia University, Economics, 1983

Alumni Achievement Award, Columbia Asian-American Alumni Association, Columbia University, 2016
Distinguished Principal Investigator Award, Georgetown University, 2016
Fellowship in Human Freedom, George W. Bush Institute, 2014-2016
U.S. Department of Education Title VI Grant, 2015-2019

Grant writer and director, $1.1 million grant for Foreign Language and Area Studies Award
Best Books on the Asia-Pacific for 2012, Foreign Affairs (for The Impossible State)
Routledge Prize Nominee, Best Article of the Year, International Journal of the History of Sport (2013)
Georgetown University, 2011 Distinguished Research Achievement Award (one award given annually at commencement, $10,000)
Academy of Korean Studies, Korea Global Lab Grant, 2010-2014

Lab director, $1.2 million grant for CSIS designation as a Global Lab for Korean Studies. One of five global grants.
U.S. Department of Education Title VI Grant, 2010-2014

Grant writer and director, $1.6 million grant for Georgetown designation as a National Resource Center on East Asia
National Asia Research Scholar Award, Inaugural Class (NBR and Woodrow Wilson Center), 2010-2012
Georgetown University, 2010 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Woodrow Wilson Fellow 2009-2010, Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington D.C.

One of 20 senior scholars selected in an annual international competition. Affiliated with the History and Public Policy Program Cold War History Project and Asia Program (declined award)
East-West Center Fellow, 2009, POSCO fellow, Honolulu, HI

William J. Perry Fellow, Asia/Pacific Research Center, Stanford University, November 2008

White House Meritorious Service Award, National Security Council, 2006
White House Meritorious Service Award, National Security Council, 2005
Smith-Richardson Foundation Grant, “The Future of the US-ROK Alliance: Beyond Containment” May 2001-June 2005. Book grant to look at the alliance in historical, empirical, and theoretical terms. Product: single-authored book.
Stanford University, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, Edward Teller National Fellow 1998-99

One of twelve Fellows selected from an interdisciplinary field for a year of research-in-residence
Fulbright Senior Scholar, Institute for International Education, 1998-2001.

Annual research-only award for one American scholar for study in Korea (divided over three years)
Stanford University, Center for International Security & Cooperation (CISAC) Postdoctoral Fellow, 1994-1995.

One of two Fellows selected nationwide for a year of research in residence
Harvard University, Center for International Affairs, Olin National Security Fellow, 1993-1994 & 1992-1993.

John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies. 10-15 Fellows selected nationwide for one year of pre- and/or post-doctoral research in residence. One of three Fellows renewed for a second year
Fulbright Scholar, 1991-1992. Awarded annually to 8-10 Americans for advanced study in Korea
Columbia University, MacArthur Foundation Dissertation Fellow, 1990-1991; President's Fellow, 1989-90 & 1988-89; Weatherhead Fellow, 1989-90; Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellow (Korean), 1989-90, 1988-89, & Summer 1988.

1. Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia (Princeton University Press, 2016)
2. The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (HarperCollins, 2012)

* Selected as “2012 Best Books on Asia-Pacific” by Foreign Affairs

* Selected as the 2013 Cyril Black Annual Book Lecture, Princeton University
3. Korea After Unification: Planning for the Inevitable (contracted with Columbia University Press) with D. Kang and L. Easley
4. Beyond the Final Score: The Politics of Sport in Asia (Columbia University Press, 2009)
5. Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies (Columbia University Press, 2003)

Co-authored with David Kang (paperback edition Spring 2005, Korean edition, Fall 2007).

6. Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle ( Stanford University Press, 1999) (paperback, 2000; Japanese edition, 2002; Korean edition 2004)

* Winner of the Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Foundation Main Book Prize for best books on the East Asia/Pacific Basin, 2000; Nominee for the Hoover Institution Uncommon Book Award, 2000.

Social Science Journals (refereed)

  • “Informal Hierarchy in Asia and the Origins of the US-Japan Alliance,” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific (accepted for publication)

  • “Role of Sport in International Relations: National Rebirth and Renewal,” Asian Economic Policy Review (2015), Vol. 11

  • “Winning is Not Enough: Sports and Politics in East Asia and Beyond,” International Journal of the History of Sport 30 (June 2013), pp. 1287-1298.

  • “The Asian Games and Diplomacy in Asia: Korea-China-Russia,” International Journal of the History of Sport 30 (May 2013), pp. 1176-87. Nominee Routledge Prize for Best Article of the Year 2013

  • “Complex Patchworks: U.S. Alliances as Part of Asia’s Regional Architecture,” Asia Policy, No. 11 (January 2011), pp. 27-50.

  • “Politics and the Olympic Transaction: Measuring China’s Accomplishments,” International Journal of the History of Sport 27.14/15 (September-October 2010), pp.1-21.

  • “Powerplay: Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia,” International Security 34.3 Winter 2010

  • “A Theory of Sport and Politics,” International Journal of the History of Sport 29.11 (2009): 1581-1610

  • “The Debate Over North Korea,” Political Science Quarterly 119.2 (2004) with D. Kang. (reprinted in Terrorist Attacks and Nuclear Proliferation eds. D. Caraley & L. Kando (NY: Academy of Political Science 2007),153-80

  • “Engagement and Preventive Defense on the Korean Peninsula,” International Security 29.1 ( Summer 2002), 40-78

  • “Badges, Shields or Swords?: North Korea’s WMD Threat,” Political Science Quarterly 117.2 (Summer 2002), 209-30.

  • “The Second Nuclear Age: Proliferation Pessimism vs. Sober Optimism in South Asia and East Asia,” Journal of Strategic Studies 24.4 (December 2001), 78-122

  • “Strategic Culture and the Military Modernization of South Korea,” Armed Forces and Society 28.1 (Fall 2001)

  • “Abandonment, Entrapment, and Neoclassical Realism in Asia,” International Studies Quarterly 44 (June 2000): 261-91

  • “Globalization and the Study of International Security,” Journal of Peace Research 37.3 (May 2000): 391-403

  • “Hate, Power and Identity in Japan-Korea Security: Towards a Synthetic Material-Ideational Analytical Framework,” Australian Journal of International Affairs 54.3 (November 2000): 309-24

  • “Japan’s Grand Strategy on the Korean Peninsula: Optimistic Realism,” Japanese Journal of Political Science 1.2 (Winter 2000)

  • “Is There Still a Rational North Korean Option for War?” Security Dialogue 29.4 (December 1998): 477-90

Foreign Policy Journals

  • “The Unfinished Legacy of the Pivot to Asia,” Foreign Policy, September 6, 2016

  • “Stock Markets Yawn at North Korean Nukes,” Foreign Policy (online), February 25, 2016 (w/C. Fitzek)

  • “A Path Less Chosun,” Foreign Affairs (online), October 8, 2015

  • “Kim Jong-un versus the Loudspeaker,” Foreign Policy (online), August 26, 2015

  • “Breaking Down Information Barriers,” (with C. Walsh), Foreign Policy, October 28, 2014

  • “North Korea’s Hamas Connection” (with G. Scheinmann), National Interest, Sept. 4, 2014

  • “China is Complicit,” Foreign Policy, July 31, 2014 (with M. Kirkpatrick)

  • “Pyongyang Express,” Foreign Policy, June 26, 2014

  • “The Gulags of North Korea,” Foreign Policy, June 10, 2014 (with L. Lloyd)

  • “Think Again: North Korea,” Foreign Policy, March 25, 2013 (with D. Kang)

  • “The U.S. Government Should De-brief Dennis Rodman,” Foreign Policy, March 4, 2013

  • “The Next of Kim,” Foreign Affairs, December 19, 2012

  • “Is Asia Ripe for Rivalry?” Foreign Policy, December 12, 2012

  • “Kim Jong Un is no Reformer,” Foreign Policy, August 21, 2012

  • “A North Korean Spring?” Washington Quarterly 35.1 (Winter 2012) (with Nick Anderson), 7-24.

  • “Free Trade Agreement Could Spoil South Korea’s State Visit,” Foreign Affairs (10/1/2011)

  • “The End of History: ‘Neojuche Revivalism’ and Korean Unification,” Orbis (Spring 2011)

  • “The Endgame,” The American Interest (January/February 2010)

  • “Obama’s Korea Conundrum,” The Washington Quarterly (October 2009): 119-38.

  • “Pyongbang! Washington’s Korea Conundrum,” Foreign Affairs, April 9, 2009

  • “Beijing’s Olympic-Sized Catch – 22,” The Washington Quarterly 31.3 (Summer 2008): 105-23

  • “Playing the Games: Sport and Politics take to the Field in Asia,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, July 2008

  • “Winning Asia: Washington’s Untold Success Story,” Foreign Affairs (December 2007)

  • “Pyongyang Blues,” Foreign Affairs (March 2008) with James Kelly

  • “A Nuclear Fission,” Harvard International Review 25.4 (Winter 2004)

  • “Can North Korea be Engaged?: An exchange between Victor D. Cha and David C. Kang,”
    Survival 46.2 (Summer 2004): 89-107

  • “America’s Role in Korea,” Current History (September 2003)

  • “Talk of Washington Split Overblown,” Yale Global Magazine (Online) July 11, 2003

  • “The Coming Change in the US-Korea Alliance,” The National Interest (Online) Vol. 2, issue 14 (April 2003)

  • “Think Again: North Korea,” Foreign Policy (Spring 2003) (with David Kang)

  • “Isolate North Korea?” The National Interest (Online) Vol. 1, issue 9 (November 2002)

  • “Focus on the Future, Not on the North,” The Washington Quarterly 26.1 (Winter 2002-03), 91-107.

  • “Korea’s Place in the Axis,” Foreign Affairs 81.3 (May/June 2002)

  • “The Continuity Behind the Change in Korea,” Orbis 44.4 (Fall 2000):585-98.

  • “Engaging North Korea Credibly,” Survival 42.2 (Summer 2000):136-55

  • “Engaging China: Seoul-Beijing Detente and Korean Security,” Survival 41.1 (Spring 1999): 73-98

Asia Area Studies journals (most refereed)

  • “Informal Empire: The Origins of the US-ROK Alliance and the 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty Negotiations,” Korean Studies (accepted for publication)

  • “The Korea Question,” Asian Survey Vol. 56 No. 2, March/April 2016, pp. 243-69

  • “Between a Rock and Hard Place: South Korea’s Strategic Dilemmas with China and the United States,” Asia Policy 21 (January 2016), 101-21 (with E. Kim)

  • “Reverberation and the Domestic Politics of Civil Nuclear Cooperation,” Asian Security 11.3 (December 2015), pp. 242-60.

  • “Dialogue about Elections in Japan and South Korea,” Journal of Asian Studies 71.2. (May 2013), pp. 233-50 (with D. Kang and D. Leheny).

  • “South Korea in 2011,” Asian Survey 52.1(January 2012) (with Katrin Katz), pp. 52-64.

  • “Navigating New Heights in the Alliance,” Asian Survey 51.1 (January 2011), pp. 54-63 (with Katrin Katz).

  • “Rhee-straint: The Origins of the U.S.-ROK Alliance,” International Journal of Korean Studies 15.1 (Sp/Summer 2011), pp. 1-16.

  • “American Views of Korea,” Chicago Council on Global Affairs (September 2010) with Katrin Katz

  • “The Obama Administration’s Policy Toward East Asia,” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis 22.1 (March 2010), pp. 1-14

  • “Sport, Political Change, and the Olympics,” Harvard Asia-Pacific Review (forthcoming, Summer 2009)

  • “South Korea: Peninsular Flux,” Asian Survey (January/February 2004).

  • “Forward Presence, Anti-Americanism, and the US-ROK Alliance’s Future,” Korea Observer 33,4 (Winter 2002), 507-539

  • “Mistaken Attribution: The United States and Inter-Korean Relations,” Asia-Pacific Review 9.2 (November 2002)

  • “Japan’s Engagement Dilemma with North Korea,” Asian Survey (July/August 2001)

  • “Balance, Parallelism and Asymmetry: United States-Korea Relations,” Journal of East Asian Studies 1.1 (February 2001): 179-209.

  • “American Unilateralism Versus Multilateralism: East Asia Under the New Administration,” Korea National Defense University Journal of National Security Affairs 5.2 (December 2000): 67-82

  • “Dealing with Rogue Regimes: North Korea and the Policy of “Enhanced Engagement,” Asian Survey 39.6 (November/December 1999): 845-66.

  • “What Drives Korea-Japan Security Relations?” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis 10.2 (Winter 1998): 69-88

  • "1965 nyôn Han-il sugyohyôpchông ch'egyôle taehan hyônsiljuijôk koch'al," [A Realist interpretation of the 1965 Korea-Japan normalization treaty] Han'guk kwa kukche chôngch'i [Korea and World Politics] 13.1 (Spring/Summer 1997): 263-297.

  • “Korean Unification: The Zero-sum Past and the Precarious Future," Asian Perspective 21.3 (Winter 1997): 63-92

  • "Realism, Liberalism, and the Durability of the U.S.-Korea Alliance," Asian Survey 37.7 (July 1997): 609-28

  • "Bridging the Gap: The Strategic Context of Japan-Korea Normalization," Korean Studies Vol. 20 (1996): 123-160

  • "Something Old, Something New: Politics and Democracy Under the Kim Young Sam Government," Asian Survey 33.9 (September 1993):849-63


  • Dataset on North Korean provocations, 2005-2016

  • Dataset on US-ROK military exercises, 2005-2016

  • Original polling data from inside of North Korea, 2016

  • Dataset on North Korean provocations and US elections, 2005-2016

MAJOR BOOK CHAPTERS (selected volumes with University presses and/or major publishing houses)

  • “American Alliances and Asia’s Regional Architecture,” in Oxford Handbook of the International Relations of Asia (Oxford, 2014), pp. 737-57.

  • “A Theory of Diplomacy and Sports,” in Sports Relations in East Asia: Theory and Practice. EDS. S. Kwon and J.S. Hong. Seoul: iSR Foundation Press, 2014. pp. 33-59.

  • “Politics of North Korea.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. Ed. Rick Valelly. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2013 (with J. Lee)

  • “Politics of South Korea.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. Ed. Rick Valelly. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2013 (with J. Lee)

  • “Global Health Diplomacy and South Korea,” in K. Bliss, ed., The Changing Landscape of Global Health Diplomcy (CSIS and Rowman and Littlefield, April 2013), pp. 56-73

  • “The Arab Spring and North Korea After Kim Jong-il,” in Park and Snyder eds., North Korea in Transition (Rowman and Littlefield, 2013), 91-118.

  • “The Security Dilemma in Asian Architecture: United States, Japan and China,” in Ikenberry and Inoguchi eds., The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance: Regional Multilateralism (Palgrave, 2011), 157-76.

  • “The Geometry of Asia’s Architecture: Traditional and Transnational Security,” in Mike Green and Charles Freeman eds, Asia’s Response to Climate Change and Natural Disasters (CSIS, 2010)

  • “The U.S.-ROK Alliance: Outperforming Expectations,” in Kurt Campbell ed., Going Global: The Future of the U.S.-South Korea Alliance (Center for a New American Security, 2009), 7-32.

  • “Currents of Power: U.S. Alliances with Taiwan and Japan during the Cold War,” in The Uses of Institutions: U.S., Japan and Governance in East Asia eds. John Ikenberry and T. Inoguchi (NY: Palgrave, 2007), 103-29

  • “Peninsular Flux,” in Strategic Asia 2004-2005 (Seattle: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2004)

  • “Shaping Change and Cultivating Ideas in the US-ROK Alliance,” in Future of America’s Alliances in Northeast Asia eds. M. Armacost and D. Okimoto (Stanford University, 2004)

  • “The U.S. Role in Inter-Korean Relations: Container, Facilitator, or Impeder?” in Inter-Korean Relations: Problems and Prospects ed. Sam Kim (Palgrave, 2004), 139-59.

  • “Defensive Realism and Japan’s Approach toward Korean Reunification,” in NBR Analysis 14.1 (June 2003).

  • “Multilateral Security in Asia and the U.S.-Japan Alliance,” in Reinventing the U.S.-Japan Alliance ed. John Ikenberry and Takashi Inoguchi (Palgrave, 2003), 141-59

  • “Hypotheses on History and Hate in Asia: Japan and the Korean Peninsula,” in Historical Reconciliation in Asia ed. Richard Solomon and Yoichi Funabashi (Washington, D.C.: US Institute of Peace, 2003)

  • “Security and Democracy in South Korean Development,” in Korea’s Democratization ed., Sam Kim (Cambridge University Press, 2003)

  • “The Dilemma of Regional Security in East Asia: Multilateralism versus Bilateralism,” in Regional Conflict Management eds., Paul Diehl and Joseph Lepgold (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003)

  • “Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense, and Stability,” in Asian Security Order: Instrumental and Normative Features (Stanford University Press, 2002)

  • “The Logic of Preemption, Prevention and Engagement,” in North Korea in Northeast Asia (Rowman and Littlefield, 2002)

  • “Making Sense of the Black Box: Hypotheses on DPRK Strategic Doctrine,” in The North Korean System in the Post-Cold War Era ed., Samuel Kim (Palgrave, 2001)177-94.

  • “The Ultimate Oxymoron: Japan’s Engagement with North Korea,” in National Intelligence Council and Federal Research Division, LOC, North Korea’s Engagement (May 2001 CR 2001-01), 73-86.

  • “ The Security Domain of South Korea’s Globalization,” in Samuel Kim ed., Korea=s Globalization: Challenges and Responses (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

  • “South Korea” in Asian Security Handbook (M.E. Sharpe, 2000)

  • “Democracy and Unification: The Dilemma of ROK Engagement,” in Wonmo Dong, ed., The Two Koreas and the United States: Issues of Peace, Security and Economic Cooperation (M.E. Sharpe, 2000), 76-93.

  • "Engaging China: The View from Korea," in Engaging China: Management of an Emerging Power, eds. Iain Johnston and Robert Ross (Routledge, 1999).

  • "Collective Security: Theory, Practice, and History," with Mira Sucharov, in Lester Kurtz, ed., Encyclopedia of Peace, Conflict and Violence (Academic Press, 2000)

  • "Defining Security in East Asia: History, Hotspots, and Horizons" in Eunmee Kim, ed., The Four Asian Tigers in East Asia: Global Political Economy and Economic Development (Academic Press, 1998)

The Future of Multilateral Architecture in Asia

This project addresses the question of what multilateral architecture optimally serves the interests of the regional players. It assesses various existing and proposed architectures in terms of efficiency gains, transparency, and effectiveness and argues that a “hybrid” solution involving bilateral and plurilateral groupings is emerging in Asia.

Korea After Unification: Planning for the Inevitable

This book is the culmination of a three-year grant to study the priorities and challenges associated with Korean unification. The book is contracted with Columbia University Press and builds on the highly successful collaboration with David Kang in Nuclear North Korea.


Principal Investigator, Beyond Parallel Interactive Microsite, $85,000, UniKorea Foundation, (2016)

Principal Investigator, Beyond Parallel Interactive Microsite, $100,000, Brezninski Institute, CSIS (2016)

Principal Investigator, Middle Power Diplomacy: Theory and Policy, Korea Foundation, $40,000 (2015-16) (CSIS)

Principal Investigator, NextGen Scholars Program, Korea Foundation, $140,000 (2016) (USC)

Principal Investigator, NextGen Scholars program, Korea Foundation, $55,000 (2015) (USC)

Principal Investigator, Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, US Department of Education, $800,000 (2014-2018)

Principal Investigator, North Korean Cyberwar, $100,000 (2014-15), Smith Richardson Foundation (CSIS)

Principal Investigator, Middle Power Diplomacy: Theory and Policy, Korea Foundation, $40,000 (2014-15) (CSIS)

Principal Investigator, Middle Power Diplomacy: Theory and Policy, Korea Foundation, $40,000 (2013-14) (CSIS)

Principal Investigator, Policy Scholar Nexus Project (2013-14), Mansfield Fdtn and Korea Fndtn (CSIS)

Principal Investigator, Civil Nuclear Negotiations and the US-Korea Alliance, Hewlett Foundation Grant, $175,000, 2013-15 (CSIS)

Team member, U.S. Force Posture in the Asia-Pacific, ($750,000), Department of Defense 2012 (CSIS)

Co-Principal Investigator, Crisis Stability and U.S.-China Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific ($275,000), Smith Richardson Foundation, 2012-2013 (CSIS)

Principal Investigator, Climate Change and Security Vulnerabilities for the United States ($500,000) Department of Defense, 2011-2012 (CSIS)

Principal Investigator, Global Lab on History, Social Science and Demography, Academy for Korean Studies, $1,200,000, 2010-2014 (CSIS)

Principal Investigator, Reverberation in the US-Korea Alliance, Hewlett Foundation Grant, $160,000, 2011-13 (CSIS)

Principal Investigator, Title VI, National Resource Center, U.S. Department of Education, $1,600,000 (2010-2014) (Georgetown University)

Co-PI, Korea Unification Project Phase III, Korea Foundation, $85,000, 2011-2012 (CSIS)

Co-PI, Korea Unification Project Phase II, Korea Foundation, $85,000, 2010-11 (CSIS).

Co-PI, Korea Unification Project Phase I, Korea Foundation, $85,000, 2009-2010 (CSIS)

Team Member, Climate Change and Regional Architecture in the Asia-Pacific, MacArthur Foundation, 2009-2010

Principal Investigator, American Alliances in Asia, Smith Richardson Foundation, $250,000, 2000-2004 (Georgetown University)

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