What a George Mason Expert Is Saying about … North Korea

Posted: July 18, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Rey C. Banks

Mark N. Katz, professor of government and politics in the Department of Public and International Affairs, is keeping a watchful eye on a number of international crises, including the situation in North Korea.

“I think that there is a serious possibility of war breaking out,” he says.

Katz, a frequent commentator on world affairs and regular contributor to United Press International, explains, “What the U.S. needs to focus on in the North Korean crisis is its impact on neighboring countries. Russia is not joining the U.S. in a stronger effort against North Korea not just out of its animus toward the U.S., but out of fear of what North Korea might do to it otherwise.”

Katz was in Sapporo, Japan, to present a paper at a symposium sponsored by Hokkaido University’s Slavic Research Center when North Korea began to fire its missiles.

“The reaction to the North Korean missile launches in Japan was extremely negative. The fact that the Japanese are even talking about possibly undertaking unilateral military action against North Korea shows how serious the situation is.”

He adds, “North Korea may be doing this just to get attention and not to actually cause a war. The danger of miscalculation, though, is great.”

Katz is an expert on Russian foreign policy and on revolution and revolutionary regimes. He recently wrote “Primakov Redux? Putin’s Pursuit of ‘Multipolarism’ in Asia,” published in the winter 2006 issue of Demokratizatsiya. In it he discusses Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempts to build alliances in Asia.

Katz holds a PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a BA in international relations from the University of California at Riverside. He began his career at Mason in 1988.

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