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Scott A. Snyder

Senior Fellow for Korea Studies and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy

Expertise

Politics and foreign policy of South Korea and North Korea; U.S.-Korea relations; Northeast Asian security; and U.S.-Asia relations

Bio

Scott Snyder is senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where he had served as an adjunct fellow from 2008 to 2011. Snyder's program examines South Korea's efforts to contribute on the international stage; its potential influence and contributions as a middle power in East Asia; and the peninsular, regional, and global implications of North Korean instability. Snyder is co-author of The Japan-South Korea Identity Clash: East Asian Security and the United States (Columbia University Press, 2015). He also the co-editor of North Korea in Transition: Politics, Economy, and Society (Rowman and Littlefield, October 2012), and the editor of Global Korea: South Korea's Contributions to International Security (Council on Foreign Relations, October 2012) and The U.S.-South Korea Alliance: Meeting New Security Challenges (Lynne Rienner Publishers, March 2012). He served as the project director for CFR's Independent Task Force on policy toward the Korean Peninsula. He currently writes for the blog, "Asia Unbound."

Prior to joining CFR, Snyder was a senior associate in the international relations program of The Asia Foundation, where he founded and directed the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy and served as The Asia Foundation's representative in Korea (2000-2004). He was also a senior associate at Pacific Forum CSIS. Mr. Snyder has worked as an Asia specialist in the research and studies program of the U.S. Institute of Peace and as acting director of Asia Society's contemporary affairs program. He was a Pantech visiting fellow at Stanford University's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center during 2005-06, and received an Abe fellowship, administered by the Social Sciences Research Council, in 1998-99.

Snyder has authored numerous book chapters on aspects of Korean politics and foreign policy and Asian regionalism and is the author of China's Rise and the Two Koreas: Politics, Economics, Security (2009), Paved With Good Intentions: The NGO Experience in North Korea (co-editor, 2003), and Negotiating on the Edge: North Korean Negotiating Behavior (1999). He has provided advice to NGOs and humanitarian organizations active in North Korea and serves on the advisory council of the National Committee on North Korea and Global Resource Services.

Snyder received a BA from Rice University and an MA from the regional studies East Asia program at Harvard University and was a Thomas G. Watson fellow at Yonsei University in South Korea.

The U.S.-ROK Alliance: Lynchpin for Managing Stability in the Asia-Pacific

The U.S.-ROK alliance has succeeded beyond expectation in its evolution from a security-focused, military-dominated relationship dedicated to deterring North Korea to a multifaceted, comprehensive alliance. The relationship now faces two new challenges that require careful coordination and effective management: shifts in the geopolitical environment resulting from China’s rising power and South Korea’s evolving conception of itself as a middle power. U.S. rebalancing policy prioritizes Asia, but assumes levels of continuity in the security situation on the Korean peninsula that are not guaranteed. Effective management of these issues will require more time and political attention, and will be critical to maintaining a robust alliance amidst geopolitical uncertainly. With the Project on the U.S.-ROK Alliance, CFR’s Program on U.S.-Korea policy considers the impact of geopolitical shifts in relative influence of the United States and China on how to coordinate policy toward North Korea; the challenging regional security dilemmas South Korea faces as a result of rising nationalism in both China and Japan; the impact of South Korea’s middle power role for U.S.-ROK cooperation; and the potential strategic and policy implications of regional developments, including China’s rise and U.S. rebalancing policy, for South Korea. Through study group and roundtable meetings, articles, and blog posts on Asia Unbound, this project aims to identify issues, opportunities, and challenges in the U.S.-ROK alliance.

This project is made possible through the support of the Korea Foundation and the Smith Richardson Foundation.

Middle Power Korea: Contributions to the Global Agenda

South Korea has used its “hosting power” in recent years as a stepping stone for its ambitious and constructive efforts to contribute substantively on the international stage. While its hosting of international gatherings has revealed clear constraints on South Korea’s ability to shape the international agenda or to serve as an intermediary on conflicts involving larger powers, these roles have also provided South Korea with valuable experience on the international stage on niche issues on which the country appears poised to make a difference. Middle Power Korea: Contributions to the Global Agenda aims to examine South Korea’s role as a middle power, its contributions and ability to influence international institutions, and its prospects for cooperation with the United States. This forthcoming book focuses on four areas in which South Korea has expanded its capabilities, made efforts to influence the global agenda, and shown potential to play a greater role: international development, financial stability, nuclear governance, and green growth.

This project is made possible through the support of the Korea Foundation.

Featured Publications

Other Report

Global Korea

Authors: Scott Bruce, John Hemmings, Balbina Y. Hwang, Terence Roehrig, and Scott A. Snyder

South Korea has emerged as a major contributor to international security, participating in a wide range of activities far from the Korean peninsula. CFR scholars outline several steps that will ensure that South Korea can sustain this broadened role.

See more in South Korea; Regional Security

All Publications

Article

South Korea: A Presidential Election Primer

Author: Scott A. Snyder
cnn.com

On the upcoming South Korean presidential election, Scott A. Snyder says the determining vote will be "South Korea's bulging forties cohort" that played a critical role in South Korea's transition from authoritiarianism to democracy and also has the greatest stake in its economic stability.

See more in South Korea; Elections

Article

South Korea's Growing Role and Contributions to International Stability

Author: Scott A. Snyder
PacNet

Despite an ongoing threat from North Korea, South Korea has emerged as a producer rather than a consumer of international security goods. As a newly elected member of the UN Security Council, South Korea has the opportunity to use these investments as a "middle power" and responsible leader in the international community, says Scott A. Snyder.

See more in South Korea; Regional Security

Other Report

Global Korea

Authors: Scott Bruce, John Hemmings, Balbina Y. Hwang, Terence Roehrig, and Scott A. Snyder

South Korea has emerged as a major contributor to international security, participating in a wide range of activities far from the Korean peninsula. CFR scholars outline several steps that will ensure that South Korea can sustain this broadened role.

See more in South Korea; Regional Security

Article

China-Korea Relations: China’s Post-Kim Jong Il Debate

Authors: Scott A. Snyder and See-won Byun
Comparative Connections

Scott A. Snyder and See-won Byun observe that while the twenty-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea may provide a pretext for more active diplomacy to meet a growing list of potential disputes in the relationship, high-level contacts between China and North Korea have stalled, dampening China's hopes for regional engagement.

See more in South Korea; China; North Korea

Video
Transition 2012

Transition 2012

Video Brief: North Korea

North Korea may be on the verge of a "transformative moment," which will require the time, attention, and resources of the winner of the U.S. presidential election, says CFR's Scott Snyder.

See more in Elections; North Korea

Recent Activity from Asia Unbound

CFR Events

Media Conference Call

North Korean Cyberattack on Sony Pictures

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Media Conference Call

Global Korea

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Conference Call

Global Korea

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General Meeting ⁄ New York

Korea Update

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National Program Meeting

National Program Conference Call: After Kim Jong Il: The Future of North Korea

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Conference Call

NY Meetings Conference Call: After Kim Jong Il: The Future of North Korea

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Conference Call

DC Meetings Conference Call: After Kim Jong Il: The Future of North Korea

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Roundtable Meeting

A Conversation with Minister Yu Woo-ik

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Academic Conference Call

U.S. Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula

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General Meeting ⁄ New York

U.S. Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula: Report of a CFR-Sponsored Independent Task Force

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