Victor D. Cha

Victor D. Cha
302F ICC


D.S. Song-KF EF Endowed Chair in Government and International Affairs

Director of the Asian Studies Program

Professor Victor D. Cha (Ph.D. Columbia, MA Oxford, BA Columbia) holds the D.S. Song-KF Chair and Professorship in Government and International Affairs at Georgetown University, where he is also director of the National Resource Center for Asian Studies in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.  In 2009, he was named as Senior Adviser for Asia and the inaugural holder of the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

He left the White House in May 2007 after serving since 2004 as Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council.  At the White House, he was responsible primarily for Japan, the Korean peninsula, Australia/New Zealand and Pacific Island nation affairs.   Dr. Cha was also the Deputy Head of Delegation for the United States at the Six Party Talks in Beijing, and received two Outstanding Service commendations during his tenure at the NSC.

He is the award-winning author of Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle (Stanford University Press) (winner of the 2000 Ohira Book Prize), Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies (Columbia University Press, 2004 with Dave Kang), Beyond the Final Score: The Politics of Sport in Asia (Columbia, 2009); and the critically acclaimed, The Impossible State (Ecco, 2012), which was selected by Foreign Affairs magazine as a “Best Book on the Asia-Pacific for 2012”.  His next book is Powerplay: Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia (Princeton).  He is also co-authoring with D. Kang a new book, Korea After Unification: Planning for the Inevitable (Columbia, with L. Easley).   He has written articles on international relations, sports, and East Asia in journals including Foreign Affairs, International Security, Political Science Quarterly, Survival, International Studies Quarterly, International Journal of the History of Sport, and Asian Survey.   Professor Cha is a former John M. Olin National Security Fellow at Harvard University, two-time Fulbright Scholar, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Scholar at Columbia University, and Hoover National Fellow, CISAC Fellow, and William J. Perry Fellow at Stanford University.

Dr. Cha is a dedicated teacher and academician.  He holds Georgetown’s Dean’s Teaching Award for 2010 and the Distinguished Research Award for 2011.  He founded in 2012 and directs Georgetown’s Master’s degree in Asian Studies and brought a U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant in East Asia to the University for the first time in Georgetown’s history in 2009.  He has served on every major committee assignment at the University, including the University’s Rank and Tenure Committee as a presidential appointment.

Dr. Cha serves on the nine editorial boards of academic journals and is co-editor of the Contemporary Asia Book Series at Columbia University Press.   He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Fulbright Association.  He has been the principal investigator on twelve major research grant projects ranging between $40,000 and $1.6 million from private foundations and the U.S. government.

He has testified before Congress numerous times on Asian security issues.  He has been a guest analyst for various media including CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, The Colbert Report, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Fox News, PBS, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, CNBC, BBC, and National Public Radio.  His op-eds have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Foreign Policy, Japan Times, FEER, and Financial Times.  He is a monthly columnist for Joongang Ilbo, a Korean daily.  He has a cameo role (as himself) in the film “Red Dawn” (Contrafilm, MGM, Vincent Newman Entertainment) released in November 2012.  He works as an independent consultant helping clients in sectors ranging from business and finance to entertainment.

Dr. Cha received his Ph.D. in political science at Columbia University in 1994, his Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia in 1988, M.A. Honours in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University (Hertford College), and A.B. in Economics from Columbia in 1979.

Areas of Expertise: International relations, international security, Asian politics, Asian security, non-proliferation, Korean politics, Korean foreign policy


  • Ph.D. (1994) Columbia University, Political Science
  • MIA (1988) Columbia University, International Affairs
  • M.A. (Honours) (1986) University of Oxford (UK), Philosophy, Politics, Econ
  • B.A. (1983) Columbia University, Economics



Victor Cha. Beyond the Final Score: The Politics of Sport. : Columbia University Press, 2008.

Victor Cha. Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Victor Cha. Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle.. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999.

Articles in Journals

Victor Cha.Beijing’s Olympic-Size Catch-22.” Washington Quarterly (2008).

Victor Cha.Winning Asia.” Foreign Affairs (2007).

Victor Cha.Can North Korea be Engaged? An Exchange between Victor D. Cha and David C. Kang.” Survival 46.2 (2004): 89-107.

Victor Cha.The Debate Over North Korea’.” Political Science Quarterly 119.2 (2004).

Victor Cha.A Nuclear Fission.” Harvard International Review 25.4 (2004).

Victor Cha.America’s Role in Korea.” Current History (2003).

Victor Cha.Talk of Wahington Split Overblown.” YaleGlobal Online (2003).

Victor Cha.Mr. Kim Has Our Attention.” Washington Post Outlook (2003).

Victor Cha.The Coming Change in the US-Korea Alliance .” In the National Interest 2.14 (2003).

Victor Cha.Think Again: North Korea.” Foreign Policy (2003).

Victor Cha.Focus on the Future, Not on the North.” The Washington Quarterly 26.1 (2002): 91-107.

Victor Cha.American Unilateralism Versus Multilateralism: East Asia Under the New Administration.” Korea National Defense University Journal of National Security Affairs 5.2 (2002): 67-82.

Victor Cha.Forward Presence, Anti-Americanism, and the US-ROK Alliance’s Future.” Korea Observer 33.4 (2002): 507-539.

Victor Cha.Mistaken Attribution: The United States and Inter-Korean Relations.” Asia-Pacific Review 9.2 (2002).

Victor Cha.Hawk Engagement and Preventive Defense on the Korean Peninsula.” International Security 29.1 (2002): 40-78.

Victor Cha.Badges, Shields or Swords?: North Korea’s WMD Threat.” Political Science Quarterly 117.2 (2002): 209-230.

Victor Cha.Korea’s Place in the Axis.” Foreign Affairs 81.3 (2002).

Victor Cha.Isolate North Korea?.” In the National Interest 1.9 (2002).

Victor Cha.Nuclear and Ballistic Missile Proliferation in South Asia and East Asia.” Journal of Strategic Studies 24.4 (2001): 78-122.

Victor Cha.Strategic Culture and the Military Modernization of South Korea.” Armed Forces and Society 28.1 (2001).

Victor Cha.Japan’s Engagement Dilemma with North Korea.” Asian Survey (2001).

Victor Cha.Balance, Parallelism and Asymmetry: United States-Korea Relations.” Journal of East Asian Studies 1.1 (2001): 179-209.

Victor Cha.Facing China: Aaron Friedberg & Critics.” Commentary (2001).

Victor Cha.Japan’s Grand Strategy on the Korean Peninsula: Optimistic Realism.” Japanese Journal of Political Science 1.2 (2000).

Victor Cha.Hate, Power and Identity in Japan-Korea Security: Towards a Synthetic Material-Ideational Analytical Framework.” Australian Journal of International Affairs 54.3 (2000): 309-324.

Victor Cha.The Continuity Behind the Change in Korea.” Orbis 44.4 (2000): 585-598.

Victor Cha.Engaging North Korea Credibly.” Survival 42.2 (2000): 136-155.

Victor Cha.Abandonment, Entrapment, and Neoclassical Realism in Asia.” International Studies Quarterly 44 (2000): 261-291.

Victor Cha.Globalization and the Study of International Security.” Journal of Peace Research 37.3 (2000): 391-403.

Victor Cha.Dealing With Rogue Regimes: North Korea and the Policy of “Enhanced” Engagement.” Asian Survery 39.6 (1999): 845-66.

Victor Cha.Engaging China: Seoul-Beijing Detente and Korean Security.” Survival 41.1 (1999): 73-98.

Victor Cha.Is There Still a Rational North Korean Option for War?.” Security Dialogue 29.4 (1998): 477-490.

Victor Cha.What Drives Korea-Japan Security Relations?.” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis 10.2 (1998): 69-88.

Victor Cha.Korean Unification: The Zero-sum Past and the Precarious Failure.” Asian Perspective 21.3 (1997): 63-92.

Victor Cha.Realism, Liberalism, and the Durability of the US-Korea Alliance.” Asian Survery 37.7 (1997): 609-28.

Victor Cha.Bridging the Gap: The Strategic Context of Japan-Korea Normalization.” Korean Studies 20 (1996): 123-160.

Victor Cha.Something Old, Something New: Politics and Democracy Under the Kim Young Sam Government.” Asian Survey 33.9 (1993): 849-63.

Articles in Books

Victor Cha.Shaping Change and Cultivating Ideas in the US-ROK Alliance.” The Future of America’s Alliances in Northeast Asia. Ed. Michael Armacost, Dan Okimoto. Stanford, Calif.: Asia-Pacific Research Center, 2004: 121-46

Victor Cha.A Peninsula in Crisis and Flux.” Strategic Asia 2004-2005. Ed. Ashley Tellis, Michael Wills. Seatlle, Wash.: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2004: 108-33

Victor Cha.Anchored or Adrift?.” Strategic Asia 2003-2004: Fragility and Crisis. Ed. Aaron Friedberg, Rich Ellings. Seattle, Wash.: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2004: 108-29

Victor Cha.Hypotheses on History and Hate in Asia: Japan and the Korean Peninsula.” Historical Reconciliation in Asia. Ed. Richard Solomon, Yoichi Funabashi. Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace, 2003.

Victor Cha.Hypotheses on History and Hate in Asia: Japan and the Korean Peninsula.” Historical Reconciliation in Asia. Ed. Richard Solomon, Yoichi Funabashi. Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace, 2003.

Victor Cha.Multilateral Security in Asia and the US-Japan Alliance.” Reinventing the US-Japan Alliance. Ed. John Ikenberry and Takashi Inoguchi. : Palgrave, 2003.

Victor Cha.Security and Democracy in South Korean Development.” Korea’s Democratization. Ed. Sam Kim. : Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Victor Cha.The Dilemma of Regional Security in East Asia: Multilateralism versus Bilateralism.” Regional Conflict Management. Ed. Paul Diehl and Joseph Lepgold. : Rowman and Littlefield, 2003.

Victor Cha.Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense, and Stability.” Asian Security Order: Instrumental and Normative Features. Ed. Muthiah Alagappa . : Stanford University Press, 2002.

Victor Cha.The Logic of Preemption, Prevention and Engagement.” North Korea in Northeast Asia. Ed. Samuel S. Kim and Tai Hwan Lee . : Rowman and Littlefield, 2002.

Victor Cha.Security and Democracy in Korean Development.” Korea’s Democratization. Ed. Samuel S. Kim . : Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Victor Cha.Making Sense of the Black Box: Hypotheses on DPRK Strategic Doctrine.” The North Korean System in the Post-Cold War Era. Ed. Samuel Kim. : Palgrave, 2001: 177-194

Victor Cha.The Security Domain of South Korea’s Globalization.” Korea’s Globalization: Challenges and Responses. Ed. Samuel Kim. : Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Victor Cha.South Korea.” Asian Security Handbook. Ed. William M. Carpenter and David G. Wiencek . : M.E. Sharpe, 2000.

Victor Cha.Democracy and Unification: The Dilemma of ROK Engagement.” The Two Koreas and the United States: Issues of Peace, Security and Economic Cooperation. Ed. Wonmo Dong. : M.E. Sharpe, 2000: 76-93

Victor Cha, Mira Sucharov.Collective Security: Theory, Practice, and History.” Encyclopedia of Peace, Conflict and Violence. Ed. Lester Kurtz. : Academic Press, 2000.

Victor Cha.Engaging China: The View from Korea.” Engaging China: Management of an Emerging Power. Ed. Iain Johnston and Robert Ross. : Routledge, 1999.

Victor Cha.Defining Security in East Asia: History, Hotspots, and Horizons.” The Four Asian Tigers in East Asia: Global Political Economy and Economic Development. Ed. Eunmee Kim. : Academic Press, 1998.


Victor Cha.North Korea’s Drug Habit.” New York Times 3 Jun. 2004: .

Victor Cha.Revolution in Seoul? Not Really.” Far Eastern Economic Review 29 Apr. 2004: .

Victor Cha.In Asia’ s Difficult Labor, True Democracy is Born.” Los Angeles Times 11 Apr. 2004: .

Victor Cha.Not Bad for a Non-Policy in Asia.” FInancial Times 22 Oct. 2003: .

Victor Cha.Whither Korea?.” Diplomatic 1 Oct. 2003: .

Victor Cha.Logic of Constriction.” Financial Times 29 Jul. 2003: .

Victor Cha.Kim Plays a Nuclear Game He Cannot Win.” Financial Times 21 Apr. 2003: .

Victor Cha.Rethinking the US-South Korea Alliance .” International Herald Tribune 5 Mar. 2003: .

Victor Cha.Isolation, Not Engagement.” New York Times 29 Dec. 2002: .

Victor Cha.Isolation, Not Engagement.” New York Times 29 Dec. 2002: .

Victor Cha.Keep Calm on Korea.” Washington Post 20 Dec. 2002: .

Victor Cha.Keep Calm on Korea.” Washington Post 20 Dec. 2002: .

Victor Cha.A Clumsy US Risks Ties to Seoul.” Los Angeles Times 11 Dec. 2002: .

Victor Cha.The Last Gambit For North Korea.” Japan Times 21 Oct. 2002: .

Victor Cha.Koizumi’s North Korea Risk.” Los Angeles Times 6 Sep. 2002: .

Victor Cha.Give North Korea Something to Lose.” Los Angeles Times 10 Feb. 2002: .


Testimony to the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee 108th Cong., 2nd Session, March 2, 2004.