"Rogue States" and the United States: A Historical Perspective | Wilson Center
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"Rogue States" and the United States: A Historical Perspective

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The term “rogue states” entered the U.S. foreign policy lexicon after the Cold War to designate regimes that employed terrorism as an instrument of state policy and attempted to acquire weapons of mass destruction in pursuit of policy goals. Named to the core group were Iraq, Libya, Iran, and North Korea. Iraq and Libya have since experienced U.S.-directed or U.S.-assisted regime change. What are the implications for the ongoing challenges to international order and American security posed by Iran and North Korea? How can states that egregiously violate international norms be reintegrated into the “family” or “community” of nations?

Robert Litwak is vice president for programs and director of International Security Studies at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He is a former director for Nonproliferation on the National Security Council staff and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. His books include Rogue States and U.S. Foreign Policy: Containment after the Cold War (2000) and Regime Change: U.S. Strategy through the Prism of 9/11 (2007).


  • Robert S. Litwak

    Senior Vice President and Director of International Security Studies
  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center