Article

Stepping Back from the Brink: A Comparative Analysis of Ripeness Theory and Readiness Theory in the U.S.-North Korea Crisis of 2017–2018


Abstract

This study assesses the usefulness of two theories, ripeness theory and readiness theory, in explaining de-escalation in intense crisis, when adversaries move toward formal negotiations. The U.S.-DPRK crisis in 2017–2018 serves as a case study for examining how each theory can contribute to our understanding of the fundamentals that facilitate a crisis de-escalation process. The study finds both theories instructive for understanding the U.S.-DPRK episode, but points to readiness theory as more insightful. Considering the multiple sources at play in the non-linear pre-negotiation phase, and specifically the central role played by a third party in moving the process forward, readiness theory provides a more profound and detailed understanding of the forces, their interplay and the gradual changes that led the parties to change their policy. This unique contribution of readiness theory can offer conflict parties and practitioners insights applicable to similar events in the future.

Keywords: pre-negotiation, North Korea-US, readiness, ripeness

How to Cite:

Schiff A., (2021) “Stepping Back from the Brink: A Comparative Analysis of Ripeness Theory and Readiness Theory in the U.S.-North Korea Crisis of 2017–2018”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 14(4). doi: https://doi.org/10.34891/4h88-t045

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Published on
22 May 2021
Peer Reviewed