Van Jackson

Dr Van Jackson profile picture

Senior Lecturer School of History, Philosophy, Political Science & International Relations


Teaching in 2020


Van Jackson joined Victoria University of Wellington in 2017 as a Senior Lecturer in International Relations. He also holds two policy research appointments: as the Defence & Strategy Fellow with the Centre for Strategic Studies, and as a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. Van’s research broadly concerns strategic thought, U.S. foreign policy, and Asia-Pacific security. He is the author of dozens of journal articles, book chapters, and policy reports, as well as two books with Cambridge University Press: On the Brink: Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War (2018), and Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in US-North Korea Relations (2016).

Prior to joining Victoria, Van taught courses on Asian security, U.S. foreign policy, and Korea and Japan at Georgetown University, Hawaii Pacific University, the Catholic University of America, and the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. His research has been funded by the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Academy of Korean Studies, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and he has held policy research appointments with the Center for a New American Security, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Pacific Forum CSIS. Before becoming a scholar, Van was a practitioner of U.S. foreign and defense policy, serving in several positions in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2009-2014, as well as the U.S. Air Force, from 2000-2006.

Research and teaching interests

  • East Asian security
  • Strategic studies
  • U.S. foreign policy
  • Policy-relevant international relations theory
  • History of U.S. relations in Asia
  • Language and discourses of security
  • Defense strategy
  • Deterrence theory
  • Technology and international security
  • Korean and Japanese studies

Recent publications

  • “Threat Consensus and Rapprochement Failure: Revisiting the Collapse of U.S.-North Korea Relations, 1994-2002,” Foreign Policy Analysis Vol. 14, no. 2 (2018), p. 235-53.
  • “American Military Superiority and the Pacific Primacy Myth,” Survival Vol. 60, no. 2 (2018), pp. 107-32.
  • “Buffers, Not Bridges: Rethinking Multilateralism and the Resilience of Japan-South Korea Friction,” International Studies Review Vol. 20, no. 1 (2018), pp. 127-51.
  • “Why the Galactic Republic Fell: An Imperial Network Perspective,” in Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains the Future of Conflict, edited by Max Brooks, Matthew Cavanaugh, and John Amble (Alexandria, VA: University of Nebraska Press, 2018), pp. 185-95.
  • “Why Not Bomb North Korea? Theories, Risks, and Preventive Strikes,” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis Vol. 30, no. 1 (2018), pp. 1-19.
  • “A Region Primed for Peace or War? Historical Institutionalism and Debates in East Asian Security,” Journal of Global Security Studies Vol. 2, no. 3 (2017), pp. 253-67.
  • “Tactics of Strategic Competition: Gray Zones, Redlines, and Conflicts before War,” Naval War College Review Vol. 70, no. 3 (Summer 2017), pp. 39-61.
  • “Let’s Make a (Nuclear) Deal: Bargaining, Credibility, and the Third Offset Strategy,” Contemporary Security Policy Vol. 38, no. 1 (2017), pp. 35-40.
  • “Deterring a Nuclear-Armed Adversary in a Contested Regional Order: The ‘Trilemma’ of US-North Korea Relations,” Asia Policy Vol. 23, no. 1 (2017), pp. 97-103.
  • “Does Nuclearization Impact Threat Credibility? Insights from the Korean Peninsula,” in North Korea and Nuclear Weapons: Entering the New Era of Deterrence, edited by Sung-Chull Kim and Michael Cohen (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2017), pp. 89-112.
  • Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in US-North Korea Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).
  • “Red Teaming the Rebalance: The Theory and Risks of US Asia Strategy,” Journal of Strategic Studies Vol. 39, no. 3 (2016), pp. 365-88.
  • Shades of Gray: Technology, Strategic Competition, and Stability in Maritime Asia (Washington, DC: Center for a New American Security, 2015) (with Ben Fitzgerald and Amy Chang).
  • Alliance Military Strategy in the Shadow of North Korea’s Nuclear Futures (Washington, DC: U.S.-Korea Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, 2015).
  • “Power, Trust, and Network Complexity: Three Logics of Hedging in Asian Security,” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific Vol. 14, no. 3 (2014), pp. 331-56.
  • “The Rise and Persistence of Strategic Hedging across Asia: A System-Level Analysis,” in Strategic Asia 2014-15: U.S. Alliances and Partnerships at the Center of Global Power, edited by Ashley Tellis and Abraham Denmark (Seattle: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2014), pp. 316-42.


Teaching in 2020