The Foreign Policy Systems of North and South Korea

By Byung Chul Koh | Go to book overview

6 PSYCHOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT: ELITE IMAGES

In the preceding chapter we focused on the screen or filter through which the operational environment is likely to be perceived by the foreign policy elites in the two Koreas. It now remains to discuss briefly what actual images such an attitudinal prism projects. In other words, what pictures do the elites have in their heads that are likely to influence their foreign policy behavior?

One knotty analytic problem presents itself at once: How does one differentiate between verbalized images and images qua decision premises? This problem essentially boils down to one of ascertaining true images of the foreign policy elite. It is plain that verbalized images--images that are reflected in public statements--may frequently diverge from the true images that are used as decision premises by the elite. On the other hand, it would be erroneous to dismiss all verbalized images as rhetoric aimed only at public consumption, for they may well be congruent with true images. This consideration, coupled with the fact that verbalized images are relatively easy to ascertain, leads us primarily to examine the elite's public statements. To the extent that the latter do not conflict with subsequent actions taken by the elite, they may be viewed as prima facie valid, that is, accurately reflecting images qua decision premises.1

Another analytic problem pertains to the scope of the foreign

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1
After lengthy discussions with members of North Korea's elite--academics, cadres, government officials--during my visit to the DPRK in July-August, 1981, I became convinced that their published views were remarkably close to their sincerely held beliefs.

-86-

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