Robert E. Kelly



Department Political Science and Diplomacy, Pusan National University

Busan, 46241, KOREA



Website: www.AsianSecurityBlog.wordpress.com

Twitter: @Robert_E_Kelly (65k followers)


Contributor, The National Interest (author page)

Contributor, The Lowy Interpreter (author page)





International Relations Theory in East Asia

U.S. Foreign Policy in Asia

Korean Foreign Policy

International Financial Institutions (especially the World Bank and IMF)





Ph.D., Department of Political Science, Ohio State University, March 2005 (M.A., 2002)

Major: International Relations

Second Major: Political Theory

Dissertation: The Impact of Non-Governmental Organizations on the Bretton Woods Institutions

            Committee: Chadwick Alger, William Liddle, Alex Thompson, Richard Ned Lebow

B.A., History and Political Science, Miami University of Ohio, May 1994, Phi Beta Kappa





North Korea is Ultimately China’s Problem,” with Isaac Fish, Foreign Affairs, June 8, 2018


Trump’s North Korean Nuclear Theatrics,” New York Review of Books, June 5, 2018


History Wars in 2018? (Japan-Korea),” Debate with Jennifer Lind, Asan Institute, February 19-April 19, 2018


Terrorism’s Place in South Korean Grand Strategy,” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, 29/3, 2017: 409-428


An Agenda for South Korea’s New Leader,” The New York Times, May 9, 2017


Using Analytical Eclecticism for Improved Policy Relevance: Is There a Case for South Korean Support of Abenomics?,” Pacific Focus, 31/1, 2016: 99-124


The Optimism of Classical Realism: Thucydides, Clausewitz, Morgenthau,” 21st Century Political Science Review, 25/4, 2015: 249-269


North Korea should Dominate South Korean Foreign Policy,” The Lowy Interpreter, four-part debate with Van Jackson on ROK Grand Strategy, July 29, 2015


Korea, Japan, and ‘Korea Fatigue’,” Real Clear Defense, two parts, May 19 & June 6, 2015


The Real Reason Asia Should Fear North Korea’s Sub-Launched Missiles,” The National

Interest, May 11, 2015


Why Invading North Korea is a Really Bad Idea,” The National Interest, January 30, 2015


China’s Interests in Korean Unification: How Much Longer is the ‘Buffer’ Worth It?Korean Journal of Security Affairs 19/2, 2014: 4-21


Korea’s Dokdo Claim is about more than just Territory – It’s Identity,” China Policy Institute Blog, East Asian Territorial Disputes Symposium, October 13, 2014


Russia: Between Empire and Modernity,” The Diplomat, October 9, 2014


The ‘Pivot’ and Its Problems: American Foreign Policy in Northeast Asia,” Pacific Review,

27/3, 2014: 479-503


Should the US Retrench from South Korea?,” The Lowy Interpreter, August 20, 22 & October 17, 2014


Unintended Consequences of US Alliances in Asia,” CSIS, PacNet #32A, April 23, 2014


Comparing China and the Kaiser’s Germany,” The Lowy Interpreter, March 12-13, 2014


Do US Alliances Create Moral Hazard in Asian Conflicts?,” Newsweek Japan & Newsweek

Korea (joint edition), May 2013


North Korea is the Boy Who Cried Wolf: There will be No War,” The Diplomat, April 10,

2013; AND Response to my Critics: North Korea is Another ‘Upper Volta with Nukes,’ so Ignore Them,” China Policy Institute Blog, April 21, 2013


 “Park’s Recreation,” Foreign Affairs, December 18, 2012


A ‘Confucian Long Peace’ in Pre-Western East Asia?European Journal of International

Relations 18/3, 2012: 407-30


Kim Jong Un’s Balancing Act,” Korean National Defense University, Research Institute for National Security Affairs Forum, 22, September 2012: 1-4


Defining IR: Is it Asia’s Turn?” International Relations and Security Network, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, July 30, 2012

Korea-EU Relations – Beyond the FTA,” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 12/1, 2012: 101-32


Kim Jong Un’s Ascent is a Unique Negotiating Opportunity,” Korean National Defense

University, Research Institute for National Security Affairs Forum, 20, March 2012: 1-5


The German-Korean Unification Parallel,” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis 23/4, 2011:



Assessing the Impact of Nongovernmental Organizations on International Organizations: The World Bank and IMF,” International Political Science Review 32/3, 2011: 323-44


The Impact of Arab Spring on North Korea,” Korean National Defense University, Research Institute for National Security Affairs Forum, 17, June 2011: 5-8


American Dual Containment in Asia,” Geopolitics, 15/4, 2010: 705-725


North Korea’s Shelling of Yeonpyeong Island: Interpretation and Response,” Korean National Defense University, Research Institute for National Security Affairs Forum, 15, November  2010: 1-5


Forging Autonomy in a Tough Neighborhood: Korea’s Foreign Policy Struggle,” 21st Century Political Science Review, 19/3, 2009: 353-380


Portrait of Global Civil Society at the Bretton Woods Institutions: Civil Society Dialogue

Participation, 2000-2007,” Korean Journal of International Relations, 48/5, 2008: 51-80


Persistent Dependentist and Developmentalist Understandings of the State in Development

Theory,” Development in Practice, 18/3, 2008: 319-332


From Global War on Terror to Containment,” Perspectives on Terrorism, 2/4, 2008: 12-14


Is Terrorism Always Wrong?Perspectives on Terrorism, 1/1, 2007: 1-7


Security Theory in the ‘New Regionalism,’International Studies Rev., 9/2, 2007: 197-229


One Last Chance in Iraq,” OSU Journal of Politics and International Affairs, 1/1, 2007: 135-146


From IR to Global Governance Theory: Conceptualizations of NGOs since Rio 1992,” Journal of Civil Society, 3/1, 2007: 81-99


A Micro-View of Global Governance: The Spring and Annual Meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions,” Transnational Associations 2003/4: 203-06


Thucydides and Hegemony: Athens and the United States,” with Richard Ned Lebow, Review of International Studies 27/4 2001: 593-609

Book Reviews:


The End of the American World Order, by Amitav Acharya, H-Net, October 2014


North Korea in Transition: Politics, Economics and Society, eds. Kyung-Ae Park and Scott

Snyder, Pacific Affairs, 86/4, 2013: 932-34


The European Union and South Korea: The Legal Framework for Strengthening Trade,

Economic and Political Relations, ed. James Harrison, H-Net, August 2013


American Culture of War: A History of US Military Force from World War II to Operation

Enduring Freedom, by Adrian Lewis, Cercles, December 15, 2012


Creating Credibility: Legitimacy and Accountability for Transnational Civil Society, by David Brown, Development and Practice, 19/8, 2009: 1079-1080


Globalization and Its Counter-Forces in Southeast Asia, ed. Terence Chong, Development in

Practice, 19/3, 2009: 431-432


International Water Security: Domestic Threats and Opportunities, eds. Nevelina Pachova,

Mikiyasu Nakayama & Libor Jansky, Development in Practice, 19/2, 2009: 267-269


International Governance of War-Torn Territories: Rule and Reconstruction, by Robert Caplan, Journal of Conflict Studies, 28, 2008



World Bank / International Monetary Fund Reports:


Portrait of Global Civil Society at the Bretton Woods Institutions, 2000-09,” IMF, 2009


The Impact of NGOs on the Bretton Woods Institutions,” World Bank, 2006



IR Blogging – Editorials – Popular Essays:


Duck of Minerva (author page)


The Diplomat (author page)


The National Interest (author page)


East Asia Forum (author page)


Newsweek Japan & Newsweek Korea (author page)


CNN-GPS (author page)


JoongAng Daily (International Herald Tribune partner in Korea – author page)


Korea Times & Korea Herald, multiple op-eds, selected examples



Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, University of Michigan, June-August 2017


Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies’ Teachers’ Workshop, Johns Hopkins University, June 5-9, 2017


US-Korea NextGen Scholars Program, CSIS & Univ. of Southern California, 2015-2016


Summer Workshop on the Analysis of Military Operations and Strategy, Columbia University, July 6-20, 2014


Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, Syracuse University, June 17-30, 2012


Summer Workshop on Teaching about Terrorism, Oklahoma University, July 10-18, 2007


Academic Fellowship on Terrorism, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies & Tel Aviv

University, Israel, May 26-June 6, 2007


Two Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowships (Russian), US Dept of Education, 1999, 2000


University Fellow, Ohio State University, 1997-1998


Bundestag Internship Program, University of Bonn & German Parliament, Germany, 1994-95





Courses Taught:

  • East Asian Security
  • Introduction to International Relations Theory
  • Globalization/International Political Economy
  • International Organization
  • US Foreign Policy
  • Terrorism
  • US Politics
  • Contemporary Political Theory
  • Middle East politics


Certified by Blackboard, October 2016


Certified by Canvas, June 2017


Pusan National University Recognition:

  • Selected for Faculty Excellence coverage in university magazine, August 2013
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, 2010


Ohio State University Recognition:

  • Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching Nominee, Ohio State University, 2007
  • Outstanding Teacher of the Year Nominee, Ohio State University, 2006





Invited Presenter Discussant Participant:


Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, Speaker on South Korean diplomacy, June 26-28, 2018


Shangri-La Dialogue, Delegate, IISS, Singapore, June 1-3, 2018


Sydney Writers’ Festival, Speaker on northeast Asia, May 1-6, 2018


Eighth Army Conference on North Korea, USAG-Humphreys, South Korea, March 16, 2018


UBS Greater China Conference, Speaker on North Korea, Shanghai, January 7-11, 2018


The New Yorker Festival, Speaker on North Korea, October 6-8, 2017


Korea and the World,” Speech at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seoul, May 12, 2017


Political Crisis in South Korea and Northeast Asia,” Speech at Ateneo University of Manila, Philippines, May 5, 2017


“China’s Interests in Korean Unification,” Korean National Defense University annual

conference, Seoul, September 12, 2014


“US Retrenchment from Korea?,” United States Forces Korea, Seoul, September 11, 2014


Economist’s annual ‘Bellwether’ conference on the South Korean economy, Seoul,

September/October 2010 – 2015; Speaker in 2013-15


Unification – the Korea Project,” CSIS-University of Southern California, Seoul, January 22, 2013


“Defining the US Pivot to Asia,” MBC East Asia Institute, Busan, S Korea, October 26, 2012


Denuclearization and Peace Community on the Korean Peninsula,” Korean Ministry of National Defense & Korean Institute of Defense Analysis, Seoul, October 27, 2011


“Was There an Historical East Asian International System?” Korean Studies Institute–University of Southern California, Los Angeles, March 2011


Current Status and Future Prospects of the Issues on the Korean Peninsula Post-Cheonan,”

Korean Ministry of National Defense & Korean Institute of Defense Analysis, Seoul, September 30, 2010


Asia 21,” Korean Government-IMF Conference, Daejeon, Korea, July 12-13, 2010


Resolving Security Threats to World Peace,” Korean Freedom Foundation, June 9, 2010

Latest Advances on International Security,” China Foreign Affairs University, Beijing, May 30, 2010


EU-Korea Relations,” EU Delegation to Korea-Pusan National University EU Center, May 6-7, 2010


Prospects for the Situation of the Korean Peninsula and the North Korean Nuclear Issue in

2010,” Institute for National Security Studies, Seoul, December 7, 2009


Research Presentation (Dissertation-related), International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC,

August 10, 2009


East Asia and China in a Changing Global Order,” Institute of Chinese Studies, Pusan National University, Busan, Korea, May 14-15, 2009


Dissertation Presentation, World Bank, Washington, DC, September 13, 2005


Paper Presentation: “Liberal Imperial Management and the Future of U.S. Hegemony”,

International Studies Association – Midwest, St. Louis, Missouri, November 7-8, 2003


Paper Presentation: “Political Culture and Foreign Policy: Rethinking the Melian Dialogue,”

with Richard Ned Lebow, American Political Science Association Annual Meeting Atlanta, Georgia, September 2-5, 1999





Invited Article & Book Reviewer:

International Studies Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, European Journal of International Relations, Security Studies, Review of International Studies, Journal of Common Market Studies, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Pacific Affairs, Rowman & Littlefield, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, European Political Science Review, Australian Journal of International Affairs, Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, Routledge, Geopolitics, International Political Science Review, Sage, Korean Journal of Security Affairs, Études Internationales, Prentice Hall



  • Contributor to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Asia
  • Member of SK Ministry of Foreign Affairs Foreign Professors ‘Dol Dahm’ Circle
  • Gerson Lehrman Group
  • Guidepoint Global
  • Securitas Korea
  • Coleman Research Group
  • Recipient of the Nelson Report



TV Interviews, 2012 – present

  • CNN
  • British Broadcasting Company (BBC)
  • CNBC
  • ABC
  • Bloomberg
  • Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC)
  • International Television News (ITN)
  • Sky News
  • Channel NewsAsia
  • CGTN
  • Al Jazeera English
  • Arirang TV (Korean English language TV)


Radio commentary on BBC, NPR, ABC, VoA, and Korean English-language radio, 2010-


Visited North Korea, summer 2012; travelogue impressions


Founding Participant, “Terrorism Research Initiative” & journal Perspectives on Terrorism,



U.S. Army Educator Tour, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, April 18-22, 2006


Field Representative, Martin R. Hoke, M.C. (Member of the US House of Representatives, 10th district Ohio), 1996-97



  • Christian Schmidt, MdB (Member of the German Bundestag), Bonn 1995-96
  • Hanns Seidel Foundation, Munich, Germany, Spring 1993
  • Cowen & Company (brokerage firm), Cleveland, Ohio, Summer 1992
  • John Boehner, M.C. (House of Representatives, 8-OH), Wash., D.C. Summer 1991
  • State of Ohio, Washington Office, Washington, D.C., Summer 1991


Institutional Affiliations:

  • International Studies Association
  • American Political Science Association
  • Korean Association of International Studies
  • Korean Political Science Association





German: Excellent: Accredited by the German-American Chamber of Commerce, April 23, 1994


French: Very Good: Transcript available from Laval University (Quebec, Canada), August 1997


Russian: Average: Certificate in Advanced Russian from Moscow State Univ., August 31, 2000


Korean: Average: intensive sabbatical year training, Pusan National University, 2015 – 2016


Latin: Basic


Classical Greek: Basic


Language Study Abroad:


  • Pusan National University, Busan, South Korea, June 2015 – August 2016
  • Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, Summer 2000
  • Nevsky Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia, Summer 1999
  • Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada, Summer 1997
  • Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France, Summer 1995
  • Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn, Germany, Winter 1994
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany, 1992-1993
  • Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg, Germany, Summer 1992






Dr. David C. Kang

Professor of International Relations and Business School of International Relations

University of Southern California Los Angeles, California 90089





Dr. Chul-Soon Lee


Department of Political Science and Diplomacy Pusan National University

46241 Busan





Mr. Jack Finkenbinder

Program Coordinator

Troy University

Kadena Air Base, Unit 5134, Box 40 APO, AP 96368-5134




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