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Synopsis

On the Korean peninsula one of the greatest success stories of the post-war era confronts a famine-ridden-and possibly nuclear-armed-totalitarian state. The stakes are extraordinarily high for both North and South Korea, and for countries such as the United States that have a direct stake in these affairs. This study (*), the most comprehensive volume to date on the subject, examines the current situation in the two Koreas in terms of three major crises: the nuclear confrontation between the United States and North Korea, the North Korean famine, and the South Korean financial crisis. Out of these, the future of the peninsula is then explored under three alternative scenarios: successful reform in North Korea, collapse and absorption (as happened in Germany), and "muddling through" in which North Korea, supported by foreign powers, makes ad hoc, regime-preserving reforms that fall short of fundamental transformation.

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