Sheena Chestnut Greitens

Sheena Chestnut Greitens is a nonresident senior fellow with the Center for East Asia Policy Studies. She is also an assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri, and an associate in research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. Her work focuses on East Asia, security studies, and the internal politics of authoritarian regimes. Her book "Dictators and Their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence," will be published in summer 2016 by Cambridge University Press.
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Recent Activity

  • In the News

    There are a lot of debates about 'What North Korea wants.' First, what matters are the interests of the very top leadership, which is narrower than 'North Korea' or even 'the North Korean government.' Second, North Korea might use a range of strategies ..but we should remember that they're all aimed at the same underlying, fundamental objective: ensuring Kim's political survival.

    March 23, 2016, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, National Public Radio
  • In the News

    The stakes are always higher in the first few years of a dictator's time in power, and the first few years are almost always more [internally] violent. The rules of the game under the new leader are still being established — both inside the country and externally — so it makes uncertainty higher.

    March 23, 2016, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, National Public Radio
  • In the News

    It's very possible that the series of U.S. law enforcement actions made the risks and costs too high to North Korea to keep counterfeiting. The first possibility is that they got out of the game. The second is that they got even better at it, and we just haven't caught them yet. [Conducting covert operations with counterfeit U.S. cash] would have the dual benefit of funding North Korea's operations and engaging in economic warfare against the United States. The Secret Service has been unequivocal that the North Korean supernotes are the best in the world.

    March 16, 2016, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, Vice News
  • In the News

    There's some evidence that in the mid-to-late 2000s, the [North Korean] government decided to close some of the larger, export-oriented, regime-supported manufacturing facilities. When that happened, chemists and others set up private facilities, either repurposing equipment or copying from what they'd learned in the state factories. They then tapped into the existing black market inside North Korea and the cross-border smuggling networks into northeastern China to distribute their products.

    February 7, 2016, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, The Daily Beast
  • In the News

    Manufacturing methamphetamine requires relatively little in the way of sophisticated equipment; it can be manufactured in a bathtub in someone's home. That's one reason why it was relatively easy to privatize (or partially privatize) production inside North Korea. Evidence from my interviews with people involved in the manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine made inside North Korea consistently indicates that the precursor chemicals are coming from China via cross-border illicit trading and smuggling networks.

    February 7, 2016, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, The Daily Beast
  • In the News

    Beijing is very likely to voice disapproval of any measures that negatively impact China’s financial or commercial interests, especially if the sanctions [against North Korea] are unilateral.

    January 29, 2016, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, NK News
  • In the News

    The sanctions rely on banks being conscious of their reputation, they are powerful in that the banks themselves have to decide what is in their economic interests. Depending on how the sanctions [against North Korea] are written, the Chinese government might object, but banks and companies might still feel enough pressure that they decide it’s interest is to comply.

    January 29, 2016, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, NK News
  • Book Chapter | Strategic Asia 2014–15: U.S. Alliances and Partnerships at the Center of Global Power

    December 2014

  • In the News

    In any dictatorship, it’s dangerous to be someone the leader depends on to stay in power – it means that you can easily become a threat, as it appears that Jang [Song-Thaek] and the patronage system that he ran did.

    June 16, 2014, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, The Phnom Penh Post

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