The U.S.-South Korean Alliance: Time for a Change

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The inconclusive outcome of the Korean War left a peninsula divided between two nations engaged in a deadly cold war. An important aspect of the continuing hostilities was America's security guarantee to South Korea. Despite enormous geopolitical changes wrought by the accelerating collapse of communism, the United States has a standing pledge to go to war if necessary to thwart a North Korean attack. This volume assesses the current and future viability of the U.S.-South Korean alliance from military, political, and economic perspectives. Currently South Korea enjoys an enormous economic edge over the Communist North whose stagnant economy labors under the strain of excessive military spending and increasing political isolation. Citing these factors in light of the worldwide Communist retreat, Ted Galen Carpenter, Stephen D. Goose, Doug Bandow, Selig Harrison, and Dae-Sook Suh argue in favor of a gradual U.S. military disengagement. They point out crucial weaknesses in North Korea's political and military infrastructure and demonstrate that South Korea has grown increasingly capable of defending itself against Northern aggression. Far more skeptical than the other authors concerning changes in current deployments, A. James Gregor and Daryl M. Plunk contend that belief in the demise of the Cold War in Asia is overly optimistic. They cite the continuing presence of a formidable Soviet force in the region and note that an American pullout might be an inducement to Chinese adventurism. Chapters by Edward A. Olson[sic] and Changsu Kim outline practical approaches to revising South Korea's current defense strategy, and in a concluding statement Senator Tim Worth[sic] of Colorado speculates on the future of U.S.-South Korean relations and argues for disengagement in the context of a sharp reduction in the confrontation between North and South. This timely and wide-ranging presentation of views will be of interest to foreign policy analysts, political scientists, econ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560005834
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 8.93 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. and a nationally syndicated columnist with Copley News Service. He is the author of The Politics of Plunder, and has written special features for The New Republic; Harper's; The New York Times; and The Washington Post. James C. Miller, chair of Citizen's for a Sound Economy, sums it up best; "Bandow is original and provocative. He really makes you think about the challenges of our time."

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Table of Contents

1 South Korea: A Vital or Peripheral U.S. Security Interest? 1
2 The Military Balance on the Korean Peninsula: Trends, Linkages, and the Dangers of Premature Judgments 17
3 The Comparative Military Capabilities of North Korean and South Korean Forces 37
4 Competing Security Needs of the Republic of Korea in the 1990s: In Search of a Peaceful Reunification 59
5 America's Korean Protectorate in a Changed World: Time to Disengage 75
6 The Continuing Cold War in Korea and U.S. Policy toward the Peninsula in the 1990s 95
7 Political Alignments in the Two Koreas: The Impact of the American Presence 121
8 Korean Security: Is Japan's "Comprehensive Security" Model a Viable Alternative? 137
9 East Asian Security in the Gorbachev Era 157
10 Changes in Sino-Soviet Policies toward Korea: Implications for the United States 181
Afterword: A Korea Policy for the 1990s 199
Contributors 205
Index 209
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